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Daily Digest - Dec 25

Wednesday, December 24, 2008, 7:10 PM
  • What happened to the American Dream?

Economy

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AMERICAN DREAM

by James Quinn
December 24, 2008

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."
Historian and writer James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book Epic of America

Mr. Adams penned these words in the midst of the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in our history. It is timely to reflect on these words, as it appears that the American Dream is slipping further out of reach for most Americans. If the dream of a better life for our future generations is lost, it will truly mark a turning point for our great Republic. The reason the American Dream is slipping away is due to the actions of politicians running our government and bureaucrats running the Federal Reserve. Those with ability who have earned a better life through their hard work, intelligence and integrity should be attaining a higher position in the social order. Instead, our government is rewarding those Americans who have taken unwarranted risks, made brainless decisions, and willingly chose the course of excessive debt to climb the social ladder.

As the politicians scurry to "save" capitalism through the use of communist measures, more Americans are becoming disheartened. The definition of communism according to Webster's is:

A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.

George Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke have decided to seize money from the vast majority of Americans who lived within their means, utilized debt sparingly, and worked hard to get ahead, and give it to the most appalling failures in our society. They have shoveled billions to banks that operated their businesses like gambling parlors. They have shoveled hundreds of millions to people who bought houses with no money down, interest only mortgages and fraudulent loan applications. They are now rewarding automakers who made the wrong vehicles, pay 30,000 workers per year to not work, and have only been able to "sell" cars by giving them away with 0% financing to any schmuck who could sign on the dotted line. These acts fit the definition of communism. We are now more communist than China.

 

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10 Comments

Set's picture
Set
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

This article represents an excellent and accurate observation of what Americans have allowed there representatives to do to them.  The further we allow our country to deviate from the principles outlined in our Constitution, the sooner our society will collapse into a barely recognizable shell of its former glory.   

This train wreck has been slowly occurring under both democrat and republican watches, while a bought and paid for main stream media allows real American politicians like Ron Paul to be obscured and misrepresented to the majority of Americans who still trust this media for their information.  

jrf29's picture
jrf29
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Posts: 453
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25
Quote:

A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.

If that is the definition of communism, then I disagree that our system is communistic.  Ours seems to be a system where goods are taken in common from those who own them and made available only to the most wealthy.  What is the name for that?

Soulmaster's picture
Soulmaster
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Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

I would call that a form of dictatorship...

RussB's picture
RussB
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Posts: 101
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25
Quote:

Ours seems to be a system where goods are taken in common from those who own them and made available only to the most wealthy.  What is the name for that?

Some might call it "corporatism" or the corporate state or corporate socialism.

More and more I agree with those who call it a recrudescence of feudalism.

All the elements are there - the more and more open plunder; the increasing serfdom of a larger and larger portion of the populace; the accumulation of wealth for nothing but the most wretched gutter orgy of materialism, without the slightest trace of class or style or art or even the concept of noblesse oblige (and also no shame - look at all this scum, how even as the country collapses around them as the direct result of their capital crimes, their sense of infinite entitlement hasn't even been dented).

Some compare this to the Gilded Age. From what I read, it was vulgar and garish enough, and certainly set a precedent for wealth inequality.

But compared to today, where the billionaire still rolls around in the mud shouting Yee Haw!, I suppose it was "gilded". Today is the age of gutter wealth, the feudalism of pigs.

[edit later today... I read what Chris wrote, and I suppose some of my commentary right here might qualify as what he said he's going to clean up. Well, that's probably good. I often say to myself I need to discipline my rhetoric. Not, of course, because I care about sparing the criminals' feelings, but because I know the most damning indictments usually mostly lets the facts speak for themselves. (E.g., The Jungle)

One thing I do wonder about though is, it seems like this cleaning up of the blogosphere frontier, this demand for civility toward those who have so despoiled us, which I see on several sites, is happening at the same time as Obama's increasingly clear intent to continue the Reagan-Clinton-Bush program, and I can't help wondering at the mindset which not only doesn't feel absolute rage over this, but which also wants to silence it.

Well, I'll try to behave myself here, but I guess I do need to start my own blog (which I'm sure would be shut down soon enough by whichever corporation owned the service - like they say, freedom of the press is for those who can afford to own their own press, and that's true with blogs as well).]

Davos's picture
Davos
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Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

I just watched Mad Money on Netflix (not Cramer's Mad Money).

Incredibley funny.  

Hanover_Fist's picture
Hanover_Fist
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Posts: 10
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

or maybe a form of fasicism...

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25
RussB wrote:

[edit later today... I read what Chris wrote, and I suppose some of my commentary right here might qualify as what he said he's going to clean up. Well, that's probably good. I often say to myself I need to discipline my rhetoric. Not, of course, because I care about sparing the criminals' feelings, but because I know the most damning indictments usually mostly lets the facts speak for themselves. (E.g., The Jungle)

One thing I do wonder about though is, it seems like this cleaning up of the blogosphere frontier, this demand for civility toward those who have so despoiled us, which I see on several sites, is happening at the same time as Obama's increasingly clear intent to continue the Reagan-Clinton-Bush program, and I can't help wondering at the mindset which not only doesn't feel absolute rage over this, but which also wants to silence it.

Well, I'll try to behave myself here, but I guess I do need to start my own blog (which I'm sure would be shut down soon enough by whichever corporation owned the service - like they say, freedom of the press is for those who can afford to own their own press, and that's true with blogs as well).]

RussB,

Personally, I don't think Chris' intent is to silence outrage at the "powers-that-be" that have litterally screwed us over. I believe the intent was to maintain a reasonable level of civil discourse between those of us who engage back-and-forth in these forums. You and I could have totally different points of view, yet still make our arguments without personal attacks and rude remarks. I think your current comments are not out-of-line although, if I'm wrong, I guess your remarks and mine will "disappear". ;-)

Sam....

 

deadman's picture
deadman
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Posts: 14
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

One of the major fronts for wealth destruction in the current financial crisis in the US is the decline in the stock market. This has primary and immediate effects upon people wealthy enough to have invested in the stock market. No doubt the negative impacts will trickle down to the broader population. Some of the first victims are people with a hugely inflated sense of entitlement. I always found it curious that the ultra-rich felt entitled to their 10's of millions of dollars that they made via the stock market. The rich have assumed that their wealth will magically double over a 10 year period- where's the virtue in that?

The actions by the government are to salvage the wealth and prop up the great american empire. Some of the things that people believe are virtues such as 'the dollar', 'the constitution', 'the rule of law' are secondary and frankly expendable. Of course the government will rob the american taxpayer to prop up this system...a system that americans have greatly benefited from(especially if you're into the global dominance thing).

I believe the power-brokers are going to try every trick to make sure the US is #1. So I wouldn't worry about the american dream surviving. I personally hope that the empire gets scaled back a bit(a bunch).

Lastly the claim that 'we are now more communist than China' is a stretch...and I don't think the power-brokers care about what it's called. They are only concerned with maintaining power and control. 

RussB's picture
RussB
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 101
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

Sam, I guess I don't think there is much of a "back-and-forth" left. The way I see it is, if someone wants to steal everything I have and kill everyone I love, there's not much that thing and I have to talk about.

The point is, do principles exist or not?

Now, people can debate the tactics of what's best to do right now. But I think what most depresses me is that it seems that in principle, no one is willing to challenge the basic appeasement and self-abasement model. Yet the I'm-OK-you're-OK, we-all-have-the-right-to-an-opinion-so-let's-have-a-formal-debate ideology only empowers criminals, since they have no such scruples. 

A month or two ago David Brooks wrote in the NYT that Obama, having benefitted from an absolute trouncing of the Republicans and everything they stand for, should commence by.....appeasing the right wing!

Anybody who laughed at that was wrong, since it seems as if Obama has done nothing since but tack right as hard as he can - just look at his economic, trade, and foreign policy appointments/nominees.

Now, if the moment anyone in the blogosphere starts getting a wider readership he immediately goes mainstream, what's ever going to be left of the vaunted blog alternative to the mainstream?

So it seems like, given that Obama intends to continue the Bush program, that everyone figures, "that's the end, and now I better just fall into line"....

    

Zojo's picture
Zojo
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Posts: 5
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 25

Mr Quinn, whatever it is, it certainly is NOT communism.  Your own definition is completely different from the situation you describe. 

Have all goods been taken into common ownership?  Clearly not.

Are they then shared according to need?  Again, obviously not.

I defy anyone to disagree with the two answers given above. 

So, we have a situation where the American dream is being killed off, which most would agree is true, but then instead of looking for the culprit, and analysing the reasons for this, the writer merely labels it with something he knows will provoke outrage.  Any even slightly more than superficial analysis would show that this is a case of a wealthy elite looking after its own interests.

Plutocracy, perhaps.  The situation seems more like pre-revolutionary France than anything Marxist.  If you substitute the Aristocracy with the Corporate, Financial and Political elite (the Washington Contented?), and Bush for Louis - is Paulson Marie Antoinette? - then you have a compelling picture.

Let the tumbrils roll...

 

 

 

 

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