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There's been a lot of talk in recent times regarding the tightening of the boot straps on the middle and lower classes in the United States.  In the past 30 years changes to the tax code have benefited the upper class much to the dismay and at the cost of the middle and lower classes.  

The journal titled "The Economist", dated 17 June 2006, has recently reported on this trend and through it's research has come to the conclusion that children born to lower class parents have less of a chance of upward mobility than their peers in Europe.  Indeed, children born to the middle class are facing the same lot what with tax cuts cutting into revenues that would typically be paid into by the upper class, thus pinching the middle class of dollars they wholeheartedly deserve for the work they perform.  

So, what has become of the American dream where anyone who puts in an honest day's work and has the entrepeneurial drive  can fulfill said dream?

Simply put, I don't know.  But, I'm concerned for those who have worked diligently, forsaking their own pleasures, so that their children may succeed in our society.   I'm appalled at the arrogance of the elites who continually state that lower taxes for the rich will benefit all because of the dollars not paid to the government in the form of taxes will be subsequently be seen as an infusion of capital later on. What about much needed infrastructure and social programs?   I'm appalled at the notion that those who are not "gifted" with money are not deserving of a helping hand.  I don't understand how a hyper capitalist country can let people freeze to death in the middle of winter due to their homeless status, let alone fall asleep in hunger because they can't afford a decent meal.  

This country was once a compassionate country.  There was a time when helping a person in need was not only a good gesture, but one that made a person better for doing so.  My parents grew up during the Great Depression and the stories I heard from them and others who grew up during that time was one of mutual respect of all classes, compassion for those less fortunate, and a government that actually gave a damn about the people.  Nowadays, I read the news and am appalled at how little we give to those less fortunate than ourselves.  

So, what's the point of this post?  To simply say that we need to get back on track.  John Edwards was correct during his run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004.  We've become a country of two Americas, or as many have said the "haves and have nots".  

Its disheartening to see how so many people just don't care.  I thought the days of the "ME ME 80's" were over.  But, Clinton didn't help the situation.  Of course, neither has George W. Bush.  But, more frightening than not, neither do a lot of the apolitic, turned off kids of the next generation.  

Simply put, I'm disgusted with our country.  And, until there is a diametric change in the population, I don't see anything positive change in the future.  Those old enough to remember the Great Depression will soon vote no more due to their age; the baby boomers (ie. flower children of the 60s) for the most part have lost track of their idealism; and today's generation is turned on to the idea that what's mine is mine.  

What's next?   I feel that we are setting ourselves up for failure on the magnitude of a 8.0 earthquake on the Richter Scale unless we decide upon making serious changes in our character and fundamental values, otherwise known as our ethos.  

I don't want to see this country become another Brazil where the "haves and the have nots" are clearly discernible.  I want to live in country that, according to The Economist: "has always had a genius for translating the highfalutin' talk of the American Dream into practical policies"

As The Economist stated, this "country is in need of another burst of practical idealism."

Originally posted to Casey on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:29 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lets have the class war... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catfish bob

    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

    by jbou on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 10:41:07 PM PDT

    •  I think the American Dream does exist (0+ / 0-)

      It deosnt work for everybody but I seen it work with my two eyes, including for my parents. I think class warfare is a bad idea. Yes the Dems represent the workig man but we also middle class, upper middle class, and upper upper class dems.

      "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

      by SensibleDemocrat on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:11:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've seen it work for my parents too... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ari Mistral, Hugo Estrada

        but I'm seeing it bury my brother who went to college got his degree and is struggling to raise two kids on 60k a year. My parents were able to buy a house, two cars and have a pool in the backyard, my dad worked as a truck driver and my mom part time at a hospital. My brother had to sell his house and move back to an apartment because it was too much. The American dream is dead, it's time for some good old fashioned class warfare, the same class warfare that got us Social Security, medicare and medicade and a lot of the other good saftey net programs in this country.

        absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

        by jbou on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:16:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

          I seen my parents come here with really nothing but their education and turn that into a 100,000+ income and I seems many many of their friends do it as well. I don't think the American dream is dead I think it doesnt work for everyone and while that infortunate, that life, it not always fair. You start a class war, you divide the country more when it doesnt need to be divided, and you alientate the dems who are in the upper classes and we need them just as we need the working man.

          "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

          by SensibleDemocrat on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:42:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The republicans represent the upper class, and if (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ari Mistral

            you plan on being a corpo sellout lawyer then you mind as well get used to sucking up to republicans. A little story below about how much fun being a corpo lawyer is...

            Almost immediately upon arrival at Fenwick, I realized that I HATED being a lawyer. My mental picture of what being a lawyer entailed did not include having to spend countless hours every day sitting in a lifeless office, surrounded by boring people, doing idiotic and ultimately meaningless paperwork. Unfortunately, that is all that a corporate lawyer does. Honestly, I wish I could say it was the firm, I wish I could blame the people or the place, but that was not the case. It wasn't the firm that I hated; it was the very nature of the job. Being a lawyer SUCKS.

            When you are a lawyer, your job is to clean up the messes of others, to rubber stamp and make legal someone else’s real work, to essentially be a paper custodian for the people who actually do important things. The people at Yahoo and Cisco and Network Solutions (all our clients) actually did something; what did I do? Stupid, mindless, and ultimately irrelevant bullshit.

            absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

            by jbou on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:22:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

              I thought the main point of being a liberal was tolerance, you don't seem to have any. Being a corporate lawyer does not make me a sell-out there is nothing wrong with making money. And there are plenty of upper class people in the Democratic Party and in the corporate world. I taked to many people about being a corporate lawyer and they all love it. Nothing wrong with being a lawyer. There are plently of poor and middle class people in the ?GOP as well.

              "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

              by SensibleDemocrat on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:29:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The poor and middle class folks in the GOP... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hugo Estrada

                should know better, the GOP are a bunch of corpo sellouts and if you really want to be one of them then you are on the wrong side in this fight. And I'm not a liberal when it comes to class issues I'm a leftist. Enabling corpo America by being their lawyer is definatly a bad thing, but you keep thiking you are doing some good, maybe you'll drive a hybrid car and buy solar panels for your McMansion.

                absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

                by jbou on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:42:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The poor and middle class in the GOP (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hugo Estrada

                  Know better but they choose to be in the GOP because they feel they share their values. You may think corporate lawyer is a bad thing but I don't they do a lot of good for the country.

                  "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

                  by SensibleDemocrat on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:46:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  they do good? (0+ / 0-)

                    What do corpo lawyers do other then help corporations? It isn't like you'll be working to make the world a better place.

                    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

                    by jbou on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:49:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What proof do you have (0+ / 0-)

                      That corporations dont EVER help makes the world a better place. Sure there are bad corporations like WalMart but there are good ones like Costco and Microsoft.

                      "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

                      by SensibleDemocrat on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:52:08 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Microsoft? (0+ / 0-)

                        come on you can do better then Microsoft. Gates made his living stealing other people's ideas and because he gives a few billion to make sure people in Africa can be immunized I'm supposed to forgive him for forcing his operating system on us.

                        Costco are the folks who pay a decent wage and have a good benefit package for their employees, that's nice, but I don't hand out kudos to anything or anyone who is doing what they are supposed to do.

                        absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

                        by jbou on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:59:13 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  btw (0+ / 0-)

                  You come off as an snob, just to let you know.

                  "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

                  by SensibleDemocrat on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 12:48:11 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Republicans are waging a class war, not the left (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gmb, Ari Mistral

            My parents came here and made a better life that what they would have made in Mexico. They didn't have education, so they didn't make 100,000+ nor did any of their friends.

            The American Dream is dead. Yes, you can be lucky and make bundles of money, but so can you do it in Mexico. Yet there is almost no social mobility in Mexico and the same is happening in this country.

            The left can either defend the middle class or surrender. We either face class warfare, the class warfare that the elites have been waging on America, or we should just give up.

            And I doubt that liberal wealthy people will be afraid of the term "class warfare." The liberal wealthy understand that they are not the target.

            Furthermore, because our economy sucks--for most Americans, that is--it seems that only the liberal wealthy can afford to give up their regular jobs to run for office. :)

  •  yes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hugo Estrada

    It is very sad that the Economist can be so honest compared to the right-wing in this country.  Can you imagine the Wall Street Journal Opinion page endorsing Kerry or admitting global warming is serious?

    •  I honestly don't know. (0+ / 0-)

      I've been a subscriber to the Economist for awhile now.  
      Fiscally, I'm a conservative.  Socially, I'm liberal.  I seem to be in line with the Economist on a lot of different issues they raise;  granted, a lot of the issues are not US-exclusive.  

      That being said, the Economist isn't one of your typical American conservative papers.  It happens to have an independent streak to it; much moreso that than what is published in some magazines such as Commentary, The Weekly Standard, et al.  

      Indeed, the Economist is a truly conservative with regard to conservatisms initial meaning here in the United States.  Which I am sad to say isn't the reality for the political party that goes by the moniker Republican Party.  

  •  The American dream is not dead! (0+ / 0-)

    but it may need CPR.

    I have been considering writing a diary on the top 10 ways to turn off independent voters. Number 2 on that list will be saying that the “American dream is dead.”

    Have we so quickly forgotten about “a man from a place called Hope?”

    Too many on the right refuse to acknowledge the role that luck and help from others has played in their success.

    But too many on the left refuse to acknowledge the role that hard work plays in success or that success is even still possible in this country.

    Bill Clinton masterfully struck a balance between these two divergent views.  He was able to point out that we are all in this together, but that we each have personal responsibility for our lives.

    Instead of doom and gloom, he offered hope.

    I’d like to challenge Casey and others. Instead of wringing your hands and cursing the darkness, bring light.

    It is still possible to make it in America. People do it every day.

    Our goal should be to make it much much easier. The trick is, how do we make this dream a reality?

    •  brilliant (0+ / 0-)


      "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"- President Bill Clinton

      by SensibleDemocrat on Mon Jun 19, 2006 at 11:56:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Realisticly, is there hope? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ari Mistral

      Really, I want to have it.

      But a 300+ billion war on credit with no end in sight takes it away.

      And so do boomers about to retire with no funds.

      And so does our society not willing to invest in our youth by providing affordable higher education.

      And so do my conservative friends who have suffered hardships because of Bush, who who refuse to give up their support for him.

      And so does part of the left when they debate against bringing back the old safety nets destroyed by Republicans.

      Hope doesn't exist for those who played by the rules and have to declare bankruptcy because someone in their family got ill.

      Hope doesn't exist for those kids who gave up their childhoods preparing to apply to schools which their families cannot afford.

      Hope doesn't exist for the working poor who has two or three jobs and is barely making it, with no health insurance nor pension plan.

      Who exactly of the people in these three scenarios are not working hard? Who has brought their fate upon themselves?

    •  The man from a place called Hope... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, Ari Mistral

      sold us the fuck out by signing NAFTA.

      absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

      by jbou on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:06:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  According to the Economist: (0+ / 0-)

      Only 3% of students at top colleges come from the poorest quarter of the population.

      Also, from the Economist:

      Some studies have shown that it is easier for poorer children to rise through society in many European countries than in America. There is a particular fear about the engine of American meritocracy, its education system.



      The rise of the working rich reinforces America's self-image as the land of opportunity. But, by some measures, that image is an illusion. Several new studies* show parental income to be a better predictor of whether someone will be rich or poor in America than in Canada or much of Europe. In America about half of the income disparities in one generation are reflected in the next. In Canada and the Nordic countries that proportion is about a fifth.

      Is this the American Dream you speak of?

      Poor children are trapped in schools that are abysmal.  Time and time again Republican administrations have cut funding for educational programs.  Indeed, Democrats are no better.  They simply grovel to their teacher union voters and do nothing about the quality of the school systems in this country.  

      I call for a sweeping system of meritocracy throughout this country.  Those that prosper due to diligence, a good work ethic, and who are socially adapt, among others, ought to prosper while those who don't display these qualities should fall by the way side.  Of course, there would be provisions for those who are fall into the cracks of the system.  

      But, by and large, the United States doesn't have a system of meritocracy because wealth is unevenly distributed and has been for generations.  Additionally, poor children aren't given the same opportunities as those children who come from wealthy families.  

      Until we decide that this country ought to give each child in this country a quality eduction and for this country to be for those who embody the entrepeneurial spirit in an ethical and honest manner, then this country is on the cusp of furthering decline and the American Dream will be lost.

      I feel compelled to address the issue that, for the most part, my countrymen haven't examined.  The longer we let this continue, the more the inequality sets in and is difficult to change.   Get out there and do something about it.   I'm a middle class American and want my childrend to experience things I've yet to experience; much like my parents felt with my siblings and myself.  I will not stand idly by.  I will not fall prey to the meme of the American Dream.  It is failing and we must elect representatives who stand up for the lower and middle classes.

  •  Mobility is becoming more and more difficult (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ari Mistral, Hugo Estrada, mlbx2

    in this country. When you have the cost college rising to the point where students leaving after four years owe tens of thousands of dollars, where students who obtain MA, JD, and Ph.D degrees owe six figures in many cases, when the cost of living in major cities is rising to extrememly high levels, it's impossible to get ahead.

    •  And you must live in expensive places (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, mlbx2

      because that is where there are jobs.

    •  We (wife and I) make (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, Hugo Estrada

      twice as much as our parent did and aren't even close to being at the same level of stability they were in a equal point in their lives. Wages have stagnated to the point where a raise won't cover cost of living/inflation.

      -7.63,-4.31 "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

      by mlbx2 on Tue Jun 20, 2006 at 01:03:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not only that, but only 3% of all students (0+ / 0-)

      at the elite universities in this country come from the poorest 1/4 of the population.  One important factor that plays into this is the quality, or lack thereof, of the schools being attended by poor students.  If we had elected reps who actually felt compelled to change the way our schools are run and not grovel to unions as performed by the Democrats, nor deny the schools funding as exemplified by the Republican Party, then social mobility would improve.  In my opinion, both parties are doing a disservice for Americans by stoking the flames of political debate with incendiary topics like abortion and gay marriage and both are to blame for a failure of leadership as a result.  

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