It’s Only a Dream…the American Dream, that is…

The stock markets soar and the rich get richer, but the middle class has lost ground and the poor live in stagnation. For many, the “American Dream” is nowhere in sight. Teachers, cops and other civil servants have seen their salaries erode before their own eyes as they struggle to try to fulfill a dream rigged by the powers that be.

Recently, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough argued with noted Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and he stated that no one can predict what markets will do as the economy can turn ugly on a dime. This was in response to Krugman’s statement that the debt crisis is over-blown and spending is the only way out of this sluggish economy. That is how it has been since I can remember; one year the economy is booming and then the next, people are ready to jump off buildings in the face of another economic crash.

What’s the point? Is this all there is after 237 years as a country? Where is the dream? All I have heard since I was a young man is, “work hard and you can succeed.” In fact, that should be the motto of the 1% because that’s all their mouth pieces tout when asked about people struggling to stay afloat.

Many wealthy people believe the poor are a drain on the personal wealth of the rich. Many believe what is theirs is theirs and no one — not king, president or pauper deserves anything that is not theirs. This was very evident in the last Presidential election as Mitt Romney and his staggering wealth was held under a microscope by the national and international media. Romney never regained any momentum with the American people after he was filmed referring to 47% of the population as takers looking for a handout.

I hear many on the right talk about others being un-American because of their ‘taking’. In fact, many on the right divide the American people into two camps: givers and takers. But who really is bleeding America dry?

Boom and Bust, Dream to Nightmare

The Boom-Bust Economic Cycle

Since the Great Depression, America has been riding waves of economic booms and busts. Through each cycle one thing remains the same: the wealthy of America are barely touched by economic downturns but the workers are always adversely impacted. The latest downturn varied only slightly from others in that, just as it was in the past, the workers absorbed the brunt of the economic devastation in the form of layoffs and lost wealth. In the first year of the financial meltdown that began in 2008, average workers lost 25% of the value of their 401-Ks while the wealthiest 400 Americans saw their net wealth increase by $30 billion dollars.

During President Obama’s State of the Union address to the nation, he mentioned the”Buffet” rule to make his point about the growing income inequality in America. A fair share of revenues contributed from the wealthy is needed in an effort to bridge the ever-widening wealth gap between the average American worker and the top 1%. In fact, the inequality gap in America has outpaced China and many other industrialized nations with the top 1% now owning more than 40% of the total wealth of the country.

It has been said the definition of insanity is when one repeatedly does the same things and expects a different outcome. This is so true of the American economy and its workers. American workers, among the hardest working labor forces in the world, have been abused and misused since the beginning of the industrial revolution and the fist sweatshop with little change.

The American worker deserves much more than what they are getting from an economy that has consistently propped up and supported the wealthy. It is time for the 99% to experience both the rewards of the American Dream and the stability of a viable income based on their contribution to society.


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