Inequality as understood at the income level stops one from living the American dream. The American dream is described within the context of affordable housing, car, vacations when possible, etc. Post the economic boom period of the 80s, high wage manufacturing jobs have been replaced by low wage service and even part time jobs. This results in increased equality, where it becomes difficult for people to meet the quintessential American dream. In the socioeconomic transformation, the number of people who can afford to get college degrees in order to get better jobs also goes down. The media is rampant with news about how college graduates take loans for higher education. They either don’t have scholarships or are born in economic situations where they cannot be supported by their families. Sometimes because of economic inequality they end up giving up on higher education.
Inequality breeds more inequality, as is evident in the work of Gormon (2000). Parents of school age children who have a degree to their name are more influential towards their child’s attitude for higher education. These parents feel that they have lost their dignity in the working-class struggle. A 34-year-old man mentioned this in the interviews.“Still today I hold resentment for [people like this]. I call them “suits”. I think they look down on me because I work with my hands and not sit behind a desk. I think this country would be in bad shape if everybody wanted to sit behind a desk” (Gormon, 2000, p. 103).
His experiences because of inequality have put him in a work situation where he works with his hands. Furthermore, the experiences have also affected him psychologically as he states that he was looked down for appearing less than the suits. He is questioning not only his career state, but in a way his very identity in the country. However, the person also understands that people like him play a vital part in society and that not everybody can sit behind desks. He has not accepted inequality, but merely the situations introduced by inequality.