This isnt so much a blog post as an obituary. The American Dream was defined as the ability for Americans to rise above their parents experience. The ability to, as the result of education and hard work, become a success. It is measured by the distribution of wealth and upward mobility.
In both of those measurements, the US now trails most of the worlds advanced nations. A report by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) found that social mobility between generations is dramatically lower in the US than Denmark, Australia, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Spain.
The American Dream didnt pass into history as the result of natural causes. It was starved to death by Teapublicans who signed Grover Norquists no new taxes pledge. It was bludgeoned by the likes of George W. Bush, Richard The Dick Cheney and their cartel of oil companies and military defense contractors. It was driven off a cliff by greedy Wall Street bankers and their enablers such as former Senator Phil Gramm.
Republicans may have led the attack on the Dream. But many Democrats participated. President Clinton signed the Republican bill that revoked the Glass-Steagall Act allowing Wall Street bankers to gamble with your money and our futures. He also signed a Republican bill opening commodity markets to gambling.
Many Congressional Democrats cast their votes alongside Republicans to starve government through the Bush tax cuts. And they added their names to legislation approving the invasion of Iraq.
As the result of these actions, corporations were allowed to rake in large profits while sending our jobs offshore. They were allowed to stash profits in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. Banks were allowed to privatize their profits and socialize their failures. The wealthy got even wealthier while paying lower taxes. Banks got homeowners to sign mortgages at inflated interest rates, then took their homes to support the banks’ gambling habit.
The only question left is what now? Will we allow economic disparity to grow dividing our nation into the haves and have nots? Or will we resurrect the Dream? The coming elections will provide the answers.