The American Dream. This was the idealistic goal of most, if not all people who founded and settled this country. What is the American Dream? The American Dream was simple: freedom. Freedom to worship as one saw fit. Freedom to pursue happiness, whatever that might be. Freedom to keep the fruits of one’s labor; that no one could take that from you. Freedom to prosper.
I am going to state right here and now that The American Dream is now gone. Completely eradicated. What’s worse, is that I see no way to get it back at this point in time. Why? I think that this article from AlterNet, citing a recent poll sums up the problem very succinctly.
In a poll conducted for The Washington Post before the 2012 presidential election, respondents were asked which was the bigger worry: “unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy” or “over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity.” They chose unfairness by a margin of 52–37 percent. The mostly pro-self-reliant American public are perhaps coming to recognize that their much-heralded virtues of hard work and self-help are no longer an effective means to economic advancement.
The poll was unfortunately set up so that everyone, no matter if they chose (A) or (B) would be wrong. There should have been a third choice (C) Both!
Therein lies the biggest obstacle to ever being able to fix all of this. Why? Because those with wealth, real wealth, like Wall Street and large corporations (I’m not referring to the self-made, hard-working entrepreneur), then use that money to pay for preferential treatment via regulation! They buy a different set of rules: Like legalized fraud in the banking system (Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America), like monopoly protection for their preferred product (Apple, Monsanto, Microsoft) or industry (automobiles, healthcare, oil). They disguise these regulations by selling them to the American public as ‘protection’ against unfairness or unjust practices – when in effect – the OPPOSITE is true. These regulations benefit only those who lobbied for them and for whom the laws were written, and at the same time they are detrimental and harmful to everyone else. This is how we get one set of rules for THEM and another for US.
Even our unions, once the champion of the hard-working little guy, now hold their own powerful wealth and influence, but unfortunately, no longer use that power for the good of those they represent, but instead use it for the advancement of the union leaders and the unions themselves. In effect, they’ve become their own powerful corporations, often with goals entirely contrary to that of those they purport to represent.
With their money, all of these entities buy influence within our government. They purchase special treatment not available to the rest of us. They buy power. You and I, ‘the little guys’ can’t do that. Even worse, we can’t compete on an unlevel playing field. You are no longer free to pursue prosperity and happiness, nor are you free to keep the fruits of your labor. The real truth of the matter is that you are merely that from which these powerful people steal. Sound like The American Dream? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a dream to be the victim of a crime.
Wealth is not inherently evil and neither is greed. Greed is what motivates us as human beings to achieve great things. It is when greed turns to purposefully hurting others that we have a problem. Using wealth to BUY favorable, discriminatory legislation is the REAL evil. It is what has destroyed us as a country and destroyed The American Dream. In our New America, now only the uber-wealthy can truly prosper. The number of laws and regulations that give preference to one group or another have become so pervasive that without the ability to circumnavigate them (buy your own exemptions), you cannot hope to compete or be prosperous.
Until people understand this process, the dialogue will be defined as set forth in the Alternet article. IT’S A FALSE PARADIGM. The wealthy are not evil. It is what our government allows those wealthy people to do that is the problem. It is not the rich vs. the poor – it is the citizens vs. the government. The government has chosen to be a cheap crack whore, accepting money from the highest bidder in exchange for giving favors in the form of ‘special’ laws. Make no mistake, almost every single law passed from the local level all the way up to the federal level is implemented for the benefit of someone; someone who bought that law to benefit only themselves. In other words, each and every law and regulation passed is making someone very wealthy and that someone is not you.
Compounding this problem of the lack of understanding and realization, is that those people who are so very defeated, those who have lost their jobs, their homes, and who are stuck in a cycle of poverty keep asking the very entity that did this to them for help. Until those people wake up and realize that their opportunities, their very American Dream was stolen from them by the government, we have no hope. These people truly believe that the laws passed claiming to ‘help’ them are the very laws that keep them trapped and unable to compete or prosper.
It is both unfairness in the economic system and over-regulation that have killed The American Dream. The unfairness is that the government allows itself to be bought for the personal gain of powerful and wealthy people and industry, and this process occurs through legislation and regulation. The government is happy because it is lining its pockets and those with the money and power are happy because they stamp out competition and get preferential treatment, thus staying in power and continuing to profit. You, on the other hand are being systematically destroyed.
Welcome to The New America.