Is the American Dream in danger?

Arianna Huffington
Founder, Thrive Global
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale

Arianna Huffington discusses the unemployment challenges affecting the U.S. The Huffington Post jobs initiative puts the spotlight on what is working to help solve the jobs crisis in America. 

No matter where we are on the political spectrum, or what we think the role of government should be, most of us would agree that something is broken in America. One of the things that most defines our country — the American Dream — is in real danger. As Jon Meacham wrote in June, “The perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more comfortable present and a stronger future for their children faces assault from just about every direction.”

The ongoing jobs crisis is the embodiment of the American Dream deferred. More than 20 million Americans are currently unemployed or underemployed. Over the next decade, 14 million middle-skilled jobs will go unfilled as businesses will be unable to find the workers needed to fill them. There’s certainly no dismissing the devastating human consequences of these numbers. But there is a real danger that by focusing exclusively on what is not working, we are missing out on spotlighting what is working — the opportunities that are available, the surpluses of creativity, ingenuity and compassion that can be poured into job creation.

There is an urgent need in this time of crisis to capture not only people’s minds, but their hearts. And to issue a call to action for all of us.

It’s true that more than 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. But it’s also true that we have an amazing amount of untapped creativity, ingenuity, and compassion. But it’s increasingly clear that we can’t wait for Washington alone to solve the jobs crisis.

It has to be all hands on deck, including start-ups and social entrepreneurs and not-for-profits. We also very much need to change the narrative away from a fatalistic acceptance of the crisis, and tap into all the resources we have available. By doing that, we can act on John Gardner’s belief that “what we have before us are some breathtaking opportunities disguised as insoluble problems.”

 As part of the JobRaising Challenge, the Huffington Post is helping job-creating nonprofits raise money and gain publicity.  Relevant nonprofits can apply/learn more at

Author: Arianna Huffington is President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily those of the World Economic Forum.

Image: People wait in line to enter a job fair in New York City. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum