"The American Dream Is Dead" — Man Makes Three Times Minimum Wage and Is Still Struggling to Survive

“And I do not want to hear 'Pull yourself up from your bootstraps,' 'Work 90 hours a week.' That’s not the goal, guys!”

Jamie Lerner - Author

May 9 2024, Published 5:38 p.m. ET

We all like to joke about the “hellscape” we live in, full of “doomscrolling” and other dystopian coping mechanisms. But when Nicholas Sumners took to TikTok to rant about the difficulty of surviving in America, millions of people tuned in to agree. He claims that he makes three times the minimum wage, which would mean he’s making at least $21.75 per hour and is still struggling to survive.

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This isn’t surprising, considering the rising inflation and wealth gap between America’s richest and poorest. Some see America as the greatest country in the world, but many citizens live like it’s a third-world country. And now, the masses are angry and ready for a revolution, as evidenced in Nic’s rant, which he concludes by saying, “The American dream is dead.”

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TikToker Nicholas Sumners is struggling to survive on three times the minimum wage and many commenters agree.

Everyone on TikTok seems to have something to complain about, but one thing we can all get behind is Nicholas’s angry rant about how it’s impossible to survive in America with a normal wage. “Can somebody explain to me in crayon-eating terms why I make over three times the federal minimum wage and I cannot afford to live?” he begins.

“And I do not want to hear the pull yourself up from your bootstraps, work 90 hours a week [arguments], that’s not the goal guys!” he shouts. “That should not be our standard. I am so f------ tired of people being complacent with this uni-party, both of them f------ us over [system]. When my parents were my age they both made less than half of what I make and they lived alone. I cannot afford to live anywhere alone.”

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Nicholas continues to list the prices of living alone. “A one-bedroom apartment: $1800. Two-bedroom apartment: $2200. Who the f--- can afford that? It is embarrassing to come out and say that it is a struggle to survive right now, but I know so many people are struggling,” he shared.

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“And do not get me started on what my grandparents were doing. They [bought] a $3000 house. And yes, I understand inflation and all of the bull---- that they have been pulling with the Fed. Why are we allowing it?”

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“Why?” he shouts again. “And then, I clock out of my shift. I am tired, I have to go home, and I check the news. Another 60 f------ billion to a country nobody can point out on a map,” which is a generous description of Israel based on what other Americans have been saying about it. “Where has the plot gone?” he asks, defeatedly. “We have lost it, folks, we have f------ lost it. The American dream is dead. It is over. Gone and forgotten.”

Many commenters share Nicholas’s bleak view of the American reality.

A top comment on the video said, “I literally don’t even want to be rich, I just want to be able to eat without anxiety.” The situation has indeed changed drastically since the days of our parents and grandparents, and it will only get worse for our children if we continue on this trajectory. As politicians fall into the pockets of America’s wealthiest, policies will continue to favor the 1% while the rest of us fall behind.

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However, if the solution is ranting into an angry mob of people who agree, we might not get much done. When it comes to worldly issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and America’s corrupt two-party system, it can often feel like we don’t have a say. This is incredibly frustrating, especially when we consider that the taxes that come out of our unlivable paychecks are funding all of that.

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In fact, digging through Nic’s social media shows that he “voted right” in the Trump versus Biden election, likely because he was ready to “drain the swamp.” But that didn’t even work! So where does that leave us?

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It seems like leading with empathy is the only option. When one person commented, “It’s not embarrassing hun, it’s the sad reality of what we live in,” Nic responded, “Thank you I needed to hear that.”

Coming together, listening to each other’s stories, and working together across the aisle is the best way forward until the masses can successfully dismantle America’s two-party system. But until then, at least Biden won’t take away the rights of disenfranchised populations, while Trump has even stronger ties to Israel's right-wing Netanyahu-led government.

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