Free Enterprise System

Topics: Retirement, Pension, United States Pages: 5 (1744 words) Published: February 4, 2012
The Free Enterprise System
How the American System has changed

Togar Johnson

The ‘American Dream’ has recently transformed into the American nightmare. More and More people are retiring broke and are looking for some type of financial assistance either from families, government, or continuing to work past retirement. Not every American has the skill set to run a successful business, but more often than not, most Americans do possess a skill set that can be used to create individual wealth which each citizen will have complete control over. Therefore, Americans should embrace the principles that this country was based on, which is free enterprise. In order to insure fiscal independence, Americans must consider an essential component to success in an ever changing and more competitive market by exploring entrepreneurship.

Growing up, a majority of children are being taught the secret of being successful is to go to school, get a good education, and get a good job. Education is compulsory, or a mandatory requirement, for all children from the ages of five to six years old all the way up to the age of 18 years old plus in the United States. The age and length a child has to stay in school depends strictly on the state that particular child lives in. A student that is determined to continue advancing in will not only attend college, but also carry on straight into grad school. Education is more prevalent now than it ever was seeing of the 3.2 million youth age 16 to 24 who graduated from high school between January and October 2010, about 2.2 million (68.1 percent) were enrolled in college. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010) That number will continue to rise simply because it is projected enrollment in the nation will hit 19.1 million which is up from 13.8 million 20 years ago.

Even though our education system is valuable, there are so many challenges faces today’s youth and those participating in achieving a higher education. First of all, for the school year 2010-2011, tuition for public and private four-year colleges and universities rose starting at 4.5% to 7.9% from a year ago. (, 2011) Sandy Baum, independent policy analyst at the College Board was quoted saying, "Prices are continuing to rise more rapidly than the rate of inflation, particularly in the public sector. Public colleges and universities are getting less money from the states because the states just don't have money to give them." Coupled with those facts, the average starting salaries for students is a little over $50,000 per year. That is a great starting place for most, but according to Mark Kantrowiz, publisher of student-aid websites, the average total of debt per student will be $22,900 which is well up at 47%, taking into account inflation, compared to student debt rates from over the last decade. By today’s standards, a decent job is a job that you can keep. The unemployment rate has been the highest then it has ever been at 9.7 since 1982.(Bureau of Labor Statistics,2011) About 37% of 18- to 29-year-olds have been underemployed or out of work during the recession, the highest share among the age group in more than three decades, according to a Pew Research Center study released. Benefits such as pensions, retirements, etc. have been taken away from employee and also salaries have been cut. Basically, employers are saying take the job or leave and because most individual do not have any type of backup plan, there is no choice but to take whatever is available. The adverse effect is more and more people are working past their retirement age which forfeits their retirement benefits. Also, the younger generation will not have any type of retirement to look forward to. Sixty percent of workers 20 to 29 years old cashed out their 401(k) retirement plans which is typically a big financial no-no because such a move squanders retirement assets and forces the recipient to pay a tax penalty. (Hewitt Associates, 2010) In combination with...
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