American Dream: R.I.P.

Two Thirds of All Americans Think the American Dream Is Dead

We noted in 2010 that the American Dream had moved abroad …  since social mobility between generations is dramatically lower in the U.S. than in many other developed countries.

We reported last year that both conservatives and liberals are worried about the collapse of social mobility in America.

Income inequality has increased more under Obama than under Bush.  Inequality in America today is worse than it was in Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America. It is twice as bad as in ancient Rome – which was built on slave labor.  Background here and here.

As Bloomberg reports, the American people know what’s going on:

The widening gap between rich and poor is eroding faith in the American dream.

By almost two to one — 64 percent to 33 percent — Americans say the U.S. no longer offers everyone an equal chance to get ahead, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. And some say the government isn’t doing much to help.


The lack of faith is especially pronounced among those making less than $50,000 a year: By a 73 percent to 24 percent margin, they say the economy is unfair. Even 60 percent of those whose annual income is $100,000 or more bemoan the absence of a fair deal while 39 percent say everyone has an equal shot to advance.

In recent weeks, public attention to the rich-poor gap has mounted.

As the new Bloomberg poll shows, Americans are split on whether or not the government should do more to reduce inequality.

But the deeper issue is that bad government policy is largely responsible for soaring inequality.

In other words – whether you are for redistribution of wealth or against it – we should all be for stopping destructive government policies which are stealing from the lower and middle classes and throwing money at the super-rich.

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  • Tonto

    Look. The majority of the people in this country have no clue about how wealth is accumulated. The wealth-accumulation equation looks like this. The amount of money you make is far less important than the amount of money you spend. Most American earners making a decent living typically will ignorantly spend more than they make during their peak earning years. Of course they will end up destitute, because their peak earning years do not last forever. And their appetite for consumption remains the same, regardless whether or not they can afford to continue to consume.

    Add to this, that the world is in an economic depression. As a result, fewer people, a much smaller percentage of Americans, actually have disposable income left at the end of the month. Taxes are higher and incomes have gone much lower. So, the opportunities to make a shrewd financial move, have vastly diminished. People who thought they could buy a house and appreciate equity by paying off the house, have found out later that their house isn’t worth what they paid for it, not even close. Owning a house has turned out to be an expensive lifestyle choice most should have foregone.

    There is so much housing on the market right now, the only housing that is selling are steeply discounted cash-sale units and units that have guaranteed bank financing, e.g., housing owned by the banks. The bank won’t finance the sale of your house, not unless some unlikely sucker with scads of down-payment money comes knocking, or, you are willing to give your house away! Bank appraisals are the lowest appraisal amounts in housing. And the typical finance of a non-bank-owned unit requires a 20%-25% deposit down-payment plus closing costs, to get a bank finance deal off the ground. See what I am saying about the real value of housing? In Maine a realtor gets 6%. The closing lawyers usually get another 5%. A survey and a title search will be required. A mortgage application fee can run another $500 to $1000 That’s 35-40% in cash required to buy/sell a non-bank owned housing unit. It is any wonder housing is a bad investment due to the government being involved financing the housing market?

    The following Maine/Craigslist link is a house that has been on the market near me for three years. It has almost 1000 feet of road frontage and four acres. Its problem is it is too big and there are no cash-buyers roaming around looking for something like this. The owner is desperate to get out. But to sell it, they will have to go lower still. I chose this house because across the country people dreaming of owning a home will not be able to understand this house, and the predicament of the seller of it, who paid $65k cash for it five years ago.

    As long as the government is in the business of financing housing, everyone had best stay clear of the temptation. Why? Because the moment the government starts to ease the plug loose on housing financing, everyone is going to find out what their housing is really worth. Due almost entirely to demographics there are more than ten-million vacant and foreclosed housing units in this country -right now- with more coming every day. The FED, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are holding the worthless paper on most of it. It’s a house of cards waiting to tumble.

    You will not build wealth buying a house, not today.

    Add to this scenario also, the FED’s ZIRP, which is depriving everyone who actually is trying to save money the interest income that is so important to having their deposits grow in the bank. The banks get money at near-zero interest from the FED, so savers (and small businesses with capital float) are losing the market rate of interest income on their bank deposits. (A small business “float” can be a half million dollars a month. It’s not their money. It’s money from their customers. But, the small business earns interest income on the float. Right now small businesses are earning next to nothing on the bank deposits of their business float!)

    This is why I say, if you want financial mobility in an economy like this one, the only viable answer to your honorable pursuit is to drastically limit your spending. The more one limits their spending, while they have money in the bank, the more money they will have in the bank the next time they check. The more money you have in the bank, the more capable you will be to make a financial investment that is –>>>guaranteed<<– to pay off when the opportunity comes. (I'm not talking about the stock market, fools!)

    The time to cut your spending is always now, -yesterday, today and tomorrow-, though, most people only think to cut their spending when their debt has ballooned, and their income has deteriorated. That is the dummies' approach to accumulating wealth. Roll the debt-dice and then cry like a baby when the money is all gone and they lose everything, right? It's a common story.

    That's also when these fools read an article like this one, and think to themselves, that they are being cheated by "the system".

    Bullshit. This article is nothing short of the talking points of socialist rabble-rousers who support taking all your money and sending you out to work in the cabbage fields with a hoe. There's no social mobility to be found in a cabbage patch, comrade.

    • Yes, but capitalism as you described above, sounds like a PONZI SCHEME where all the money is funneled from the 99% to the 1%. And you’re bashing socialism? I think Germany is doing better than us.
      All you have to do is stop spending and make a shrewd investment? Right. And then everything will be just fine.
      How many people are “spending” just on food & shelter? They should stop spending on food & shelter, and make a “shrewd investment”. lol

      • Tonto

        All the money leaves the 99% is what you mean. Do you know why the 99% are not so rich? Because of marketing. The 1% hire people to market to the 99% And the 99% buy it all.

        One impoverishing thing the 99% have bought it credit. The 99% now buy not just their over-sized homes, they buy couches, engagement rings and television set on credit too.

        I am sixty-four. I have never had a loan or a credit card in my life. I have quite literally picked up more money off the street than I have ever paid in interest and late fees.

        I sleep well at night. I have money in the bank. And I am furious that my hard-earned money should have to compete with inflation-causing borrowed money and the money that welfare slobs get from gaming the system, and proclaiming their feigned disabilities!

        I have six figures in the bank, all of it earned, and more importantly, none of it spent on frivolous crap. I sold my 50 acre farm in 2005. I now live in a one bedroom apartment two doors away from the library and three blocks away from the high school that has the swimming pool I swim in five nights a week. I swim a mile five night a week.

        The socialists would shut down the library and the swimming pool, and confiscate my hard-earned money too. They would send me at 64 out, to go work in the cabbage patch with a hoe because I am not disabled, and I am in fact amazingly fit.

        Toward the end of life, when it is too late for most, they all will figure out, it’s not about the toys and the job, or about the degree, or the esteem. It is in fact all about your health and fitness. You should start saving your money now for that sure eventuality.

        • You have no idea what’s going on in reality: the % the average people person in the U.S. spends on the basics of life is ENORMOUS, and you’re saying “stop spending”. You’re cherry-picking people who ARE wasting money.

  • jadan

    What we are witnessing are the death throes of a failed system of finance….a private system of finance that has never actually worked since Alexander Hamilton proposed it in the days of yore. The US economy has been a wealth producing machine regardless of the financial incompetence that has attempted to manage and direct it. There was a continent stuffed with an apparently inexhaustible supply of resources to be exploited. There was abundant land. There was just so much that everyone got a piece of it. It wasn’t lack of land that prevented a farmer from profit. Until mid-19th Century, most people were farmers. It was the failure to apply the virtues Uncle Ben laid out for us in Poor Richard’s Almanac, and, it was the financial system, the laissez faire free market crap one hears about incessantly today. It doesn’t work, it never worked. The wealth producing machine that was the US worked in spite of the bogus financial organization that concentrated the enormous wealth in a few hands. Once upon a time, there was a middle class, the wealth was distributed, not fairly by any means, but it wasn’t as concentrated as today. Inevitably, however, the free market cocksuckers that specialize in the cheap tricks of finance, all of them just iterations in the usury con-game, began to suck up the wealth of the population, concentrating it at the top of the pyramid, until we have become a nation of debt peons and investment is only a synonym for gambling.

    This didn’t happen because of the moral failings of people. There is no mysterious degeneration going on as that ass-hole Brit, Niall Ferguson, would have us believe. The monetary system has failed. From the start, the Congress chose to privatize the monetary system, in spite of the Constitutional mandate not to do so. Privatization is just another world for legal robbery of the public treasury by advocates of free market laissez faire capitalism. These slimy types have been with us forever. They are the ones who ardently believe that because they have money they are entitled to get more of it, free, at your expense by defrauding you through usury. They are constantly whining. Their fucking money isn’t earning any interest! Poor, poor, sad little predators! Their ribs are showing!

    We need to kick the dying system until it croaks, and as we do so, educate ourselves in an understanding of what money actually is. It is not private property. It is not gold or silver. Money actually has more in common with a glass of water than an ounce of gold. It is a public utility. Society cannot exist without it. Money is a public utility like electricity, like public roads, like clean air. The creation of money is the sovereign prerogative of government, not a private banking cartel composed of alpha predator ass holes. A system of public finance should serve the public interest first and foremost, not the whims of a tiny financial in-group. The private system is self-destructive and destructive of society and the environment. Money is above all, power, and it must not be vested in the hands of a few idiots. Look at the results! The same class of idiots have been managing the nation’s money for too many years…..

    Maybe one day the people will understand that money was not created by God. The people create their money and their financial system and they can structure it to serve the public interest. Today it is structured to serve the “job creators”. Look at all the jobs, look at the strong middle class, look at the happy faces pursuing their American Dream!!!…………………….NOT!

    • Rat’s Ass

      Oh, bullshit. A great share of young people today have purposely taken it upon themselves to end their lives with dope, synthetic heroin compounds, methamphetamine, and cocaine. There is nothing so wrong with the financial system that it cannot be amended to suit our changing needs.

      People in the alternative media write as if they think Ben Bernanke and his band of thieves come knocking at their door every night to rob them. It’s not true. We are in an economic depression. The robbers are the slackers that are gaming the system out of self-centered laziness.

      The word “depression” is aptly chosen to describe the economic malaise. People are depressed. And it is no wonder they are depressed. The majority of their American friends are fat, lazy assholes, who think they have a god-given right to a job that pays more than a senator’s salary. Bullshit. These people are not worth minimum wage. There are lots of them. Everyone sees them every day of their life. They are everywhere of late!

      The real problem in this country are all the people on unemployment, welfare, and, doing dope, getting tattoos and stinking while quite carelessly impregnating idiot-women out of wedlock just as as if life had no meaning or responsibility for them. Mark these words, the country can and will rise above all its problems, and continue to lead the world, if it can avoid the death knell of the many scientific calamities that are being allowed to grow and fester by a lack of leadership in our political system.

      Let me say it again, the argument that the financial system is stacked against Americans is a laughable argument. It’s scapegoating the obvious reality that a majority of Americans are more in favor of legalizing marijuana than are in favor of enforcing liability upon the lazy and irresponsible hobos among us.

      Look around. The scumbags are reproducing at an alarming rate. They threaten to become the majority. Look at the prison population in this country. They’re all scum. And for every one in prison there are twenty outside prison who are even worse.

      I’m in favor of bringing back the death penalty with a vengeance. Stop paying to house these scumbags in prison, and give them their due, a strong, rasping rope around their neck and a shove off a scaffolding! There is nothing immoral about hanging those people who have decided dope will give them all they want out of life. Get rid of them!

      Step right up, folks, get your free overdose injected right into your arm for free! God bless America!

      • jadan

        You and the other vindictively self-righteous libertarian on this site, our dear Mr. Tonto, must have been hatched from the same egg. In fact, Rat’s Ass, you may be the same person! I guess you would take a dim view of the Pope and the Sermon on the Mount.

        • Rat’s Ass

          Who are you calling a Libertarian? Libertarians want to make prostitution legal so that when your daughter is laid off, she can be sent to a Nevada-style brothel to apply for work. I’m against all sort of immoral behavior including being lazy, fat and a welfare slob. It’s not vindictiveness at all. I’m just interested in keeping the planet clean, clear of dope dealers and welfare slobs.

          • TheTruth

            Yeah and people want all drugs legalized. Guess what happened in that one country that legalized all drugs? LESS people started doing drugs, and government money went into SUPPORT programs to treat people with compassion with drug issues. Quite the opposite in AmeriKa.

            And are you going to source your prostitution legalizing?

            I have formed a new party, its called Common Sense. Vote for The Truth, 2016.

          • Rat’s Ass

            Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

            “I have formed a new party, its called Common Sense.”

            Who? You and Lady Gaga? LoL I guess that’s why your new party is getting so much favorable press. It’s gone absolutely viral, eh??? Maybe you’ll get the chance to twerk Miley?

            Get real. Get a life.

    • MM59

      You need to educate yourself on money. I do not support the current system and believe it is seriously manipulated against us. But money is actually your productivity. It was created to make it easier so that you didn’t have to run around town with your chickens trying to find someone who had firewood (which you may have needed) to exchange for a chicken, as an example.

      Until, we the people, understand our role in this fiasco, we are doomed. We played a role in letting it happen, we can not sit back and just play the victim. Buying into the mantra of not talking politics and religion led us to sit back and not play our role in this government. People are more interested in dancing with the stars than the corruption that is going on at EVERY level of govt today. We must not go into denial but accept the role we also played which contributed to the situation we now find ourselves in today. We allowed this to happen and we can change it.

      BTW, if you are using credit/debit cards wherever you go for the convenience, stop doing it. These cards were a clever play by these central bankers. They enable them to take a piece of every economic transaction that occurs, 1-3% on average, through the fees they charge the merchants which are subsequently charged back to us through higher product/service costs. Plus they track your every move. Go back to cash. Starve the beast.

  • Name

    Capitalism is a redistribution of wealth just as surely as socialism is. The difference is that where socialism distributes wealth from individuals to the masses, capitalism distributes wealth from the masses to individuals. However, I think capitalism might be the better system, but only when a fair exchange of value is the norm in all trades, so that the redistribution of wealth is minimal.

    Businesspeople in the U.S. used to understand this, and by and large they kept prices in line with production costs. That’s why “Made in the U.S.A.” was a byword for high quality at affordable prices. That’s why one person could provide for a family of four. But the system we have now is wholly dependent on the ability to sell products and services for many times more than they cost.

    But this kind of profiteering never lasts; eventually things even out, and when that happens an economy that depends on profiteering is in trouble. It has to constantly look for new profiteering opportunities (euphemistically known as “growth”), and when it can’t find any, the only choices are to finally level the playing field (an end to which we’ve been brainwashed into believing we’re headed, but never get any closer to), or to artificially raise prices on necessities. Until recently there was another choice, namely colonization, but since Vietnam it’s been clear that there are few people remaining that can be duped into believing empty promises and giving up their birthrights for little or nothing without a struggle.

    Few peoples remaining, that is, unless you count the populations of Europe and North America, who complacently stare into their electronic devices (I’m no exception, obviously) while the economic princes do unto us what they had done unto others for hundreds of years. And why not? Anywhere else in the world even the attempt to steal people’s wealth costs more than it brings in, if it brings in anything, and that’s not counting the loss of lives. Instead of tanks we get think tanks, and instead of foot soldiers we get our state and federal legislators and our judiciary, and we go on believing if we just vote for the right people, or pass such-and-such a law, that the economic ship will right itself.

    People in retirement now are the lucky ones; they will most likely finish out their days in reasonable comfort and security. But those of us who are younger have a bleak future ahead; pensions are under attack, food prices are on the rise (did you notice when all tuna producers changed from a 7.5 oz can to a 5.5 oz can at the same time, but kept the price the same?), and Obamacare is going to raise medical costs for just about everyone while providing a pretext to abolish Medicare. But wages have been falling relative to prices since the 70s, so whereas nowadays one is lucky to die without being in debt, unless some radical change happens, it’s not hard to imagine a time in the near future where one is simply lucky to die.

  • Arizona

    YOU GAVE EVERY DIME ,you could earn to the military industral complex,and now your crying cause your broke,WHATS a matter DON’T you have the money to kill anyone elses children,HEY you could always take your own children out in the back yard and kill them………..

  • Arizona

    HEY heres an IDEA,instead of calling this country america,LETS call it STUPID,it would be more fitting don’t you think…………………………..

  • Stibbs11

    Look at the lame lines written here, now you see for yourself why the American dream is truly dead.
    Songs about MILCOM or capitalism, well the reality is so big you wont believe me if I tell ya.

    Fact is you’ve all known this was coming for a long time. Many have left for Europe or Asia, the NWO / UN are flaying the USA as you read this, bankers have made derivatives to implode the currencies of the world, all of them, it will be simple inflation. Plus they are taking all the pensions, there will be no retirement funds, none.
    Told ya you wouldn’t believe me.

    • Stibbs11

      PS: You got a year to year and a half to prepare.

  • James Murray

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