The American dream is fading

November 24, 2010


For generations, parents have told their children about “the American dream.” Basically it has meant building a life based on the foundational principles that created and have sustained America for more than 200 years. By doing so, one might reasonably expect a new generation to achieve a better life than their parents and grandparents experienced. But what defines “better”? In modern times it has been defined as achieving greater prosperity and consuming more material goods.

At least one liberal writer is channeling Jimmy Carter, implying our best days are behind us and this version of the American dream is over. Writing recently in The New York Times, columnist Bob Herbert says: “However you want to define the American dream, there is not much of it that’s left anymore. Wherever you choose to look — at the economy and jobs, the public schools, the budget deficits, the nonstop warfare overseas — you’ll see a country in sad shape. Standards of living are declining, and American parents increasingly believe that their children will inherit a very bad deal.”

Herbert does not assess blame for this, so I will. His version of the American dream — as opposed to the original dream, which remains for those who would embrace it — is over for a very good reason. Setting aside war, which was imposed on America, the eclipse of liberalism’s American dream has been largely caused by expanding, encroaching, over-taxing, over-spending and over-regulating government.

This has produced a country of government addicts with an entitlement mentality. These twin maladies have eroded self-reliance, individual initiative and personal accountability. A monopolistic government school system keeps the poor from achieving their dreams, as many remain locked (thanks to Democrats and their union supporters) in failing government schools, producing graduates (if in fact they do graduate) who lag behind other nations in subjects that matter.

Herbert claims, “We have become a hapless, can’t-do society.” He says it’s, “embarrassing.” Is it not the politicians who lead a people increasingly dependent on them who are responsible for this? The liberals among them and their policies are leading us down a path to economic and cultural insolvency.

The creation of a government that is out of control and thus out of touch, robs every citizen, preventing fulfillment of the original American dream.

Anyone who thinks dysfunctional government is going to help achieve their dreams is putting their faith in the wrong place. People who believe a politician of whatever party or persuasion can make their life better than individual initiative are doing more than dreaming; such persons are displaying cult-like faith, which can never be fulfilled.

The rules for achieving the American dream may no longer be taught in and supported by culture, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. The rules are known to previous generations: studying and staying in school; achieving at least an undergraduate degree; avoiding drugs that harm your mind and body; getting married before you have children and working hard to stay married as an example to those children and to benefit society; saving and investing for retirement so as not to burden taxpayers and relatives; living within one’s means; demonstrating personal honesty and professional integrity, which comes from character developed in one’s youth, usually with a sense of right and wrong once imposed by parents and affirmed by culture.

“America will never get its act together until we recognize how much trouble we’re really in,” writes Herbert. That’s true, but more than acknowledging the obvious is needed. We must also understand what got us here and the path that leads upward. What got us here is unrestrained liberalism. What will get us back on the right path is ... (see above).

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. tmseditors@tribune.com


Tom Shewmon 6 years, 2 months ago

And O/P/R have put this trend on hyperdrive. The folks did what they could three weeks ago and very likely will remove the rest of them from power in two years.

jstthefacts 6 years, 2 months ago

Tom doesn't know the difference between the "american dream" and the "american fantasy. "Tom lives the "american fantasy".

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

Might be closer to say an Australian delusion, given the source of his fantastic view of things.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 2 months ago

It started with Franklin Roosevelt's attempts to declare "rights" to various forms of guaranteed happiness that never existed in the Constitution, and was put on steroids by LBJ's "Great Society" debacle that has, after 45 years and untold billions of dollars in spending by government, cruelly imprisoned millions of our citizens in government-dependent poverty, mired in lack of individual initiative. Post-Katrina New Orleans placed the abject failure of the "Great Society" on the world stage for all to see. In the meantime, government at all levels has continued to grow, individual initiative has continued to be stifled by that growth, and our loss of individual freedom to government control over more and more aspects of our lives continues unabated.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 2 months ago

Apparently he enjoys proving his ignorance. I cannot think of a single sensible reader valuing anything he's offered. He's best ignored.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Corky, there is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. Figure it out.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 2 months ago

"What got us here is unrestrained liberalism. ... "

No. 30 years of unrestrained demonization and destruction of government by the right wing got us here. Destruction of an educated populace via the underfunding of the public education system got us here. Destruction of the middle cass via unrelenting attacks on the democracy of unions, "free" trade deals that encourage the shipment of jobs overseas and monopolistic capitalism got us here. Obliteration of a free and independent press via media consolidation and relentless propaganda in favor of right wing policies and infotainment got us here.

This country was ascendent from 1940-1980 a period which immediately followed the ascendency of liberalism's rescue of the country. Big government, big unions and big taxes on the ultra wealthy produced a stable middle class and prosperous country. The period between 1980 and now has been a period of right wing ascendency and tearing down of the New Deal liberal policies. The result so far has been a steady march, since 1980, to lower standards of living, shrinking middle class, shrinking individual liberties and constant war. If you believe the consequences of our macro political choices lag our moves in one direction or the other, then you must fear the worst of the right wing damage is yet to be experienced.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 2 months ago

Glad I exceeded your expectations.

Your failure to offer anything substantive in response only confirms my confidence in the opinions.

Al Deathe 6 years, 1 month ago

You do realize that this country was made great mostly by people with high school diploma's! Its nice that the majority have been able to obtain further education but to blame the educational system is strange. Control is the problem, government has made it almost impossible to succeed at anything other than lining their own pockets. Politicians have forgotten that they are in Washington to represent those back home not doing what they think is best or what profits them. Politicians are responsible for whats wrong with this country, you may have noticed I never mentioned a political party during this post, there is plenty blame to go around.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 2 months ago

Cal Thomas is only half right and being half right is a real problem in this country. Just as there are too many who rely on the government for most of their subsistence, there are just as many who have contributed to America's demise as scott3460 notes above. When those in Thomas' camp admit that unrestrained conservativism is destructive; and when those in Pitts camp admit that the government cannot be a parent or job supplanter, then and only then will America begin to turn around.

The arrogant finger pointing is tiresome; yet the LJW and other papers continue to push the views of extremists onto their pages.

A less sensational (and more true) headline might have read: The American Dream Delayed. Those who believe in this great nation and even more in history will come to understand that this view is the correct one--less sensational, but correct.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

We can dream and should, but until we have this discussion as a nation, we are sleeping, left, right and 'center.' 1. What do we want government to do?
2. What does it cost to fund the list?
3. How do we want to pay for what is on the #1 list? [IF the answer is, 'we don't want to pay for it,' go back to number one and remove something from the list. Begin the discussion again.] Cal is, for a change, about 1/2 right, but he distorts his vision through his myopic lens.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

I would just question the necessity of achieving more prosperity and more material goods with each generation as the foundation of the American dream.

There may be other ways to define what we want as a culture.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

So you think that each generation of Americans should aspire to make more money and have more stuff, regardless of the level of prosperity and material success they have achieved?

An endless attempt to have more and more, otherwise one feels like a failure?

Sounds like a terrible idea to me.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

jafs, this is the corporate mind set. A corporation can make a huge profit every year and pay their employees well and make a nice profit for their investors, but if those profits don't grow every year, and grow big, then the company is considered a failure. So they cut jobs, treat their employees as deficits, not assets, take jobs out of the country, make stupid loans, just so they can show a gain in profits. They don't look to the future. They don't look to stability. But it's a castle built on sand. This recession is proof of that. Greed is pushed in every section of our society, even the churches. Greed is blind to the future or to stability. More stuff will not make you happy, no matter how hard you try.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago


In fact, I just read this morning that corporate profits are the highest they've ever been.

You'd think they might start hiring people, but apparently not.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

So corky, you don't believe that America should have a strong middle class? You really believe that, like an aristocracy, all the money should be in the hands of just a few individuals? Guess what -- you aren't one of those individuals.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

So someone who had a disabled child can make as much money as they want? So someone with a mental capacity of a 10 year old can make as much money as he/she wants? Yes, a healthy person can work really hard, but they can't make as much money as they want. It used to be you didn't need to go to college to find a job that made a living. My mom and dad were working class people, and while we weren't rich, they were able to pay their bills, own a car. We never went hungry. You can't do this anymore working the jobs they used to work. Either those jobs are in another country now, or the pay has not kept up with inflation. There aren't good paying jobs out there anymore, unless you go into debt to get an education, and then you owe student loans. Bring the jobs back to the US.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

So Corky, why aren't you richer? What is stopping you?

Recognizing people as being part of a group, such as middle-class, is quantifiable. It isn't stereotyping. Nice try.

Sorry, but the reality is that the vast majority of people born into an economic classification remains in that classification for life. It is wonderful that some people are able to rise above and make a fortune when born of lesser means, but the reality is that it happens with only a few. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is attempting to stop that. Making sure that people have a reasonable wage is good for society. Just having a few rich individuals controlling everything isn't. Such situations lead to revolutions, after all.

I know it bothers you that Obama is our President right now, however, how you can't see that such a redistribution of wealthy going to the wealthy in the last few decades is really beyond me. Remember, if the Bush tax cuts (intended to be temporary) are allowed to expire for the wealthiest individuals (and if it was for all individuals, I would personally be okay with that), then this will mean that the top tax rate will still be far below what it was under Reagan.

Do you think Reagan was a Socialist? If not, why not? Reagan was taking far more from the rich than Obama is even coming close to proposing.

Further, when do you propose we start trying to pay off the debt? Why do you want to put our burdens on the shoulders of future generations?

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

They need to study history. Societies that have an aristocracy with a small middle class are unstable. They can tranquilize the people with TV and the dream that they to will be able to live spoiled, rich lives someday, but eventually people will wake up. Eventually people will get sick of celebrities with no talent who are just trying to get rich quick, then they will look around for real leaders.

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

And is this where Sarah Palin comes in? ;0)

beatrice 6 years, 2 months ago

Well then, I guess not wanting to drive on roads with potholes is an example of greed too. Heck, by your definition, any want of any kind, be it personal or societal, is greed.

I personally have my own transportation, medical insurance, don't have children and don't personally rely on any specific government service and have never had the need to apply for or accept welfare or unemployment. I consider myself hard working and fortunate. However, I appreciate how providing such services benefits our society as a whole and makes us all stronger. I see the benefit for others, even if it doesn't benefit me personally.

Why would you not want someone with a pre-existing condition to be denied heath insurance? Why would you think it okay for companies to remove grown children from health insurance accounts? Why wouldn't you want people access to transportation, thus working opportunities?

Of course, we all enjoy the national safety provided by our military, another government service, so I guess we are all just moochers, correct?

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

In other words, you have no response.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe he's got a crush on you :-)

Amy Heeter 6 years, 2 months ago

You know what the problem with Americans is? Americans are never satisfied; always wanting more. The truth is we have enough because we have freedom and oppertunity. After that it is all on you.

Tammy Yergey 6 years, 2 months ago

Some of the safest societies with the best education are Socialist (think Finland, Sweden), where everything is free. I don't think big government is the problem. There is a deeper problem than that . Maybe we should try to find what the real problem is. Just sayin.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 2 months ago

A political agenda that entails the elimination of competent government and return to little to no protection of the populace against the powerful might play a part.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps mass disillusionment and hysteria.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 2 months ago

"Herbert does not assess blame for this, so I will. His version of the American dream — as opposed to the original dream, which remains for those who would embrace it — is over for a very good reason. Setting aside war, which was imposed on America, the eclipse of liberalism’s American dream has been largely caused by expanding, encroaching, over-taxing, over-spending and over-regulating government."

My turn.

Cal just has a loser mentality.

Out economy is suffering because the Democratic and Republican models are obsolete. We are in a different world and facing competition we never faced before. It is exposing our inefficiencies big time.

For those of us who still believe the Bible holds valuable lessons about life and history, I am reminded of the history of the Jews and their historical relationship with God throughout the Old Testament and our understanding of the history of nations. Our challenge will be whether we can adapt and change before we are visited by great calamities that we bring upon ourselves.

The blame game is not going to make us a stronger country. It has just made us more vulnerable to even small problems.

Fixed_Asset 6 years, 2 months ago

freedom and oppertunity(sic)


panem et circenses

madameX 6 years, 2 months ago

I stopped reading at "locked in failing government schools." Really, Cal? If there were no public schools (which I assume is what you mean) then somehow the poor would be better educated? There are awesome schools availible to them but somehow the democrats and the teachers' union prevents these poor, poor kids from attending them? Is that the reasoning here? I honestly asking, because this makes no sense to me.

I know I've posted this before, and that I'm effectively contradicting myself by posting at all, but aren't there some non-sucky conservative columnists you could be giving a platform to, LJ World?

Now bring on the madameX-hates-freedom comments!!!!!!

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

There are those that can afford a private education and those that can't.

Public education is based on the idea that those who can't afford private school should be able to get an education.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 2 months ago

Nothing, go to whatever school you wish, but, as a citizen who benefits from the society created by a well educated populace, quit whining about having to support free, public education.

madameX 6 years, 1 month ago

You missed my point entirely. Cal's wording seems to suggest that the government is forcing kids to choose crappy public schools over better options. I'm saying that for many of the kids who are stuck in these failing schools there are no better options. That's why Cal's point is stupid. If these kids weren't attending these particular schools they probably wouldn't be going to school at all, which would probably be even worse.

Enoughsaid 6 years, 2 months ago

I don't think the american dream is fading. I feel it will make the future generations work harder to achieve what their parents had. Good jobs are harder to come by and almost all retirement systems are raising the age limit to retire. With a little time, things will start to turn around.

It bothers me to drive around campus and see college students driiving expensive vehicles and when they graduate, proably couldn't afford to pay the taxes on their own. I feel that sends the wrong message to our future generation who has no idea how expensive the bare neccessities are.

I work hard, pay my bills and get discouraged when I see how much some of the salaries are for certain KU officials. Turner Gill went from $400,000 in New York to two million at KU. Chief Olin spent 37 years with the city and was making around 105K and retired now making around 110K with the Athletic Department as a Security Consultant. KU has a full service police department but KU Athletics needs a consultant.

Opportunities will turn around as long as greedy CEO's don't destroy everyones trust and faith in the american dream.

mom_of_three 6 years, 1 month ago

"The rules are known to previous generations: studying and staying in school; achieving at least an undergraduate degree; avoiding drugs that harm your mind and body; getting married before you have children and working hard to stay married as an example to those children and to benefit society; saving and investing for retirement so as not to burden taxpayers and relatives; living within one’s means; demonstrating personal honesty and professional integrity, which comes from character developed in one’s youth, usually with a sense of right and wrong once imposed by parents and affirmed by culture." What Cal doesn't realize is that most of those things he mentioned, the "American Dream" are right out of the 1950's, and times, they are achanging. Getting married before you have a children - is that a detriment to the American Dream. Not if you have a job and a relationship. Working hard to stay married as an example to children? Puhlease. Divorces have been going on for years and sometimes, thats best for the sake of the children, believe me. Saving and investing in retirement - well, that's nice if the company doesn't go broke and take it with them. right and wrong, imposed by parents - well, right and wrong can be imposed by anyone who takes an interest in a kid. some parents have no clue about it themselves, but blame the kid for turning out the way they do.

Cal's dream is great, if all our parents raised us in upper middle class homes, without a view of the real world.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

That doesn't sound like what she said to me.

There's a difference, for example, between being sure you're in a good committed relationship and a stable financial situation and being married.

These days, it's entirely possible that there are couples in the first situation who are in a better place to have children than a couple who's married.

The point is that Cal often equates standards and values with the ones he prefers, which seem to be based on a 1950's mentality.

It would be better, in my opinion, to continue to value standards and values without being stuck in that mindset, which tends to be rather limiting. Divorce may very well be the better option than staying together for the kids, if you're in a bad marriage. The idea of saving and investing for retirement is a great idea, but obviously the stock market isn't what it used to be. Etc.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't know how to say it any better.

There's a difference between standards, morals, and values and the 1950's version of those.

I'm all for standards and values, etc. but not necessarily for a 1950's version.

Societies change and, as they do, there are always those who want to turn the clock back to the "good old days".

Some throw it all out of the window, and then others (like me) try tor retain the parts that continue to make sense and have value, while not trying to stop some of the inevitable changes.

For example, I think many people get married and/or have children without sufficient preparation and aren't doing a great job of child rearing.

I'm concerned about that, but don't want to go back to the '50's, when women had few options in the job market, civil rights were not yet in place, etc.

In my view, a committed gay or lesbian couple in a decent financial situation who are well educated would make perfectly good parents. And probably better than many heterosexual couples.

Your comment about children and financial responsibilities is interesting - my understanding is that parents are required to pay child support whether they were married or not.

So the only difference between that and divorce would be alimony - which made sense back when women were homemakers and had few job possibilities, but is perhaps less necessary today.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

I said a committed gay or lesbian partnership in a decent financial situation who are well educated.

There are quite a few heterosexual couples who aren't committed, not in a great financial situation and not very well educated.

That's the comparison I was making - my point is that commitment, financial security and education are valuable when raising children, and perhaps more important than the sexual preferences of the parents.

Your point about the challenges is correct. But many people have faced challenges like that - interracial couples come immediately to mind.

With or without marriage, there is often not enough long-term planning. As far as success, the divorce rate is currently over 50%, and the infidelity rate is higher than that. I'd say that marriage isn't doing very well to help couples be faithful and committed long-term.

Also, if the marriage is a bad one, divorce may be the best outcome.

My main point, which I hope I've expressed well, is that a stable, happy committed partnership of well-educated and financially secure people is a good thing for children. If an unmarried couple has those qualities, that's a better situation than a married couple that doesn't.

That's my version of taking the values and standards from the past without insisting we return to the social norms of that time.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't know.

How would you judge "unbiased"?

Any "unbiased" statistics on heterosexual ones?

I have extended family who are lesbians in committed relationships - they seem to be doing as well as heterosexuals I've known, maybe better - as far as I know, they're faithful to each other.

In fact, the sexual preference is the only difference I can see - in all other respects, they're exactly the same - they have the same challenges, want the same things, etc.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Ironically, it would be easier to find those if gay folks were allowed to marry - then we'd have marriage and divorce records for them.

Have a good Thanksgiving!

anonmouse 6 years, 1 month ago

"I know (from previous posts) that you believe gay marriage and/or relationships should be acceptable behaviors in our society. I do not agree with your belief. Putting that aside, how can you say that gay couples probably make better parents than heterosexual couples? Seems to me a gay couple faces many challenges from society in general and these may be foisted upon their offspring."

So the justification for bigotry is that the objects of bigotry will encounter bigotry in the world? The concern rings a little hollow and self-serving.

deec 6 years, 1 month ago

Care, then, to explain the prevalence of homosexual behavior in other species, if it is "against the laws of nature and God"?

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

You have the right to believe that.

I don't think that means you (or others) have the right to discriminate against homosexuals in their pursuit of happiness.

Maybe some amount of homosexuality is a way for a species to avoid overpopulation, which is quite a problem for humans.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

I understand that a same sex couple cannot have children naturally.

Your comment was that a species that was 100% or 80% homosexual would be on the road to extinction, which is probably true.

However, a 10-20% rate would mean no such thing.

And, in fact, would cut down on the possibility of overpopulation.

I wouldn't say God intended it as such, but perhaps nature does.

Are you afraid that if we grant equal rights to homosexuals, that the percentage will become 80-100% of our population?

anonmouse 6 years, 1 month ago

"If I vote for gay marriage, it means that I approve of that lifestyle which I do not."

Nonsense. I don't approve of anti-gay bigotry, but certainly you should have the right to express it.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

That's a funny sentence there.

I will not "deny" them rights, but will not help them "get" them either.

If one has to vote on the issue, you can vote either to deny their right to marry, or to allow it. There's no third possibility.

But, in my mind, it's not an issue that should be decided by majority vote, it's a constitutional issue that should be decided by the Supreme Court.

And anonmouse's point is good as well - one can believe that a certain thing should be legal without necessarily approving of it.

I understand that you believe homosexuality is against the "laws of nature" and God's plan, and you have that right given freedom of religious belief in this country. But that doesn't translate into the right to deny them equality under the law.

Imagine we were talking about race instead - someone has the right to believe that blacks (or any other group) is inferior, but that doesn't give them the right to discriminate against them.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

So you wouldn't vote at all on the issue? If an amendment was proposed that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, you wouldn't vote for it?

Were you born heterosexual or did you choose it because you think it's the right thing to do?

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

I know that.

So, actually, you would in fact vote to deny them rights, even though you said you wouldn't - that's what I thought, I just wanted to be clear on it.

From my perspective, it doesn't matter whether sexuality is a choice or an inborn fact, I still think people have to right to it.

But, from the "choice" perspective, one would have to logically conclude that heterosexuality is a choice as well, which most straight people don't feel is accurate.

Given the many difficulties which gay and lesbian folks deal with in our society, it's hard for me to believe they would choose that if they could simply choose otherwise.

In fact, the conflict between their innate sexuality and beliefs about the "wrongness" of it often drive them into depression and/or suicide, as they try to change something they can't change.

But I know your beliefs are strong on this issue, and, as I said, you have a right to them.

BrianR 6 years, 1 month ago

No Cal, It's not the American dream that is fading, it's your eyesight.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Could you apply this logic to Lance Johnson please?

jimmyjms 6 years, 1 month ago

From the Times today (via the dept of commerce): "Corporations Have Their Best Quarter Ever"

"The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever. American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms."

The American Dream is dying, and people like Cal Thomas are gleefully cheering from the sidelines.


tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Or more like get an MBA and screw a corporation. The American dream used to be hard work and a good living. Now a good living is 3 houses and a nanny for every kid and too bad for the unwashed masses who worship you on your reality or celebrity TV show.

jimmyjms 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad too, ksrush. You seem to be one of those people for whom facts are too difficult to comprehend, so instead you fall back on platitudes and ignorance. Good luck with that.

Amy Heeter 6 years, 1 month ago

The usual suspects will always have the usual repsonses. Now you have another thing to be thankful for.

Amy Heeter 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jimmyjms 6 years, 1 month ago

ksrush, it's almost humorous, the degree to which you're missing the point.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

Ask yourselves this question: How many degrees of separation is your income from federal money?

Have you done any construction or work for any government agency or private company that has government contracts?

Dept. of Transportation? Anyone working at KU? Boeing? Raytheon? The military? Fort Riley? Do you own a restaurant frequented by any of these employees? A plumbing business? A contracting business?

Just how many degrees of separation are you from suckling off of the tax payer teat?

Jimo 6 years, 1 month ago

The American Dream is just fine. It just follows the money, which, as well-documented, is pooling in every greater concentrations in the hands of a very few number of Americans. It's fairly difficult for the common man to build much of a life in a country where 4/5ths of all wealth created goes to a few thousand wealthy families. (And will continue as long as we place our faith in false myth instead of seeing reality.)

Strangely, Thomas seems to admit what most wingnut commentators avoid or deny: the the U.S. has long ceased to be a society of significant class movement. In fact, we're not even in the top 10 and sinking fast.

That's because such movement requires opportunity both to succeed and to fail. Unfortunately for modern wingnut theory, the most changeable source of opportunity is government - whether a government willing to give you land in return for your own pluck and enterprise (a Republican idea), or a government willing to provide higher education to any willing and able (a Republican idea), or a government determined to set universal rules of ethical conduct (a Republican idea) or disallowing the concentration of economic power in few hands (a Republican idea). Or, on the opposite side, disallowing the establishment of quasi-aristocratic institutions to preserve familial wealth to the lazy, stupid and undeserving.

No, today, if you wish to find a society where the poor work their way to wealth or visa versa, you'd look to socialist states whether European or Chinese. A sad commentary on America.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

So, why was this not fixed in the last two years (at least in part)? Taxes could have been raised. Unemployment could have been used for retraining. A special tax could have been levied on those reaping benefits from competing our workers with low cost foreign workers. Regulations could have been measured against costs in jobs. Why is the EPA pursuing a process that will further reduce the middle class while rewarding selected elites and doing nothing to the rest of the elites (if we want to address climate change how about consumption taxes rather than control of coal before we have affordable alternatives)? Sounds to me like many of you want to bitch but offer no practical solution except to trust government to do something (usually something that makes it all worse)

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

The American Dream already DIED in Lawrence, Kansas, (unless you work for the government). Progressives at play. Every dog has its day. Ours is no more. Time to move on to brighter and much better cities. Lots to choose from. Lawrence ain't THAT special.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm a liberal. Others being happy and prosperous does the exact opposite of annoy me. It works for me, and I wish everyone the opportunities to become prosperous and happy.

So much for your simplistic, bumper sticker views on life.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago


Stop demanding more and more taxes from the properous people

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

More and more taxes? How exactly is pointing out the obvious that temporary tax cuts are, you know, intended to be "temporary" intended to make people not prosperous? Or are you saying that wealthy people can't be happy if they are asked to pay taxes?

Personally, I didn't realize I was in a position to "demand" taxes from anyone. However, I do think we as a nation need to pay for the wars we have been fighting for the past decade, as well as pay our debts. Giving massive tax cuts that benefit the wealthy during a time of war was a very bad idea, and we see this when we look at the growing national deficit under Bush and Obama. Our national debt continues to rise while we still live with these temporary tax cuts.

Tell you what, how about we just promise to keep taxes below the rate that we lived with during the Reagan administration? I mean, Reagan is like a god to conservatives, so what could be wrong with that? If you don't agree with this, then please tell me in detail why you hate Ronald Reagan.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

Because, bea, it will never be enough for the right wingers. They want all the benefits of the great society that was created by 40 years of progressive policies, but don't want to pay for such a fair, just and equitable society to continue. They'll take all they can while there are riches to grab, then move on to China, or India, or wherever they can enrich themselves after our great country has been ruined.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Sympathies? Can't handle the thought that someone doesn't think just like you? How sad.

Upset a conservative -- think for yourself.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

Upset a conservative - shut off the corporate media. The lies and deception are easier to see without the distorting effect of the constant propaganda.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Bea says:

“More and more taxes? How exactly is pointing out the obvious that temporary tax cuts are, you know, intended to be "temporary" intended to make people not prosperous? Or are you saying that wealthy people can't be happy if they are asked to pay taxes?”


Nice try. We pay about 40% of our income in taxes of various sorts. Our income is well below what Mr. Obama identifies as “rich”. The tax rate changes (expiration of the Bush era tax changes) will increase the tax take to about 42%. Some of the austerity measures suggested by the commission would increase our tax take to almost 50%. Just how much do you believe you have the right to claim?

Yes, we fought wars off budget - bad. Yes, we doubled non-military federal expenditures without raising taxes - bad. My answer is to live within our means. Your answer is Greece and Ireland and Spain and Portugal and France and ----.

I think you are too liberal even for a Democrat.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

If your income is well below what President Obama defines as rich, then the President supports extension of the tax cuts for you. It is the republicans who are insisting that people with incomes over $250K/year must have their tax cuts extended or else all of the bush tax cuts must expire.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

Higher income people use more of the services provided by government and therefore should pay a higher price for the benefits they receive. Otherwise, please quit using the government roads, the internet, labor trained by the taxpayers. Please quit using the courts to enforce the rules of commerce used to make the money. Sewer systems, national defense, air traffic control, TSA groping agents, limited liability corporations, tax havens, etc.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Yep george, I figured you wouldn't respond to the entire post. Instead, you project what you imagine I believe, instead of relying on the words I provide that tell you excactly what I think.

I am all for living within our means. All for it. I do so in my own life (actually live below my means in order to save for retirement) and I would want our government to do so as well. This is one reason why I liked Clinton. Bush, on the other hand, gave massive tax cuts without making cuts in spending, during a time of escalating spending due to war no less, and we can't afford to continue the cuts. Until we see the cuts in spending, we can't afford the continued tax cuts. For some reason, you think we can. I really don't like paying taxes either, but I think the current situation that started with the previous administration will be ruinous for our country if it continues.

By the way, why did you ignore the rest of the post. You did know that taxes were much higher under the conservative hero, Ronald Reagan, didn't you?

So where are we going to make cuts? Do you really believe that cuts in taxes will somehow, magically erase the deficit spending and growing debt? While I like a good fantasy story as much as the next person, this one that the Republicans are spinning is just too much. Republicans and their magic debt reduction through cutting taxes tale is dangerous for the long term stability for our country. They might as well be telling us about putting our faith in sky gods.

Obviously, you are too conservative to be a moderate. But then, you knew that, didn't you? IMHO, of course.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Hi Bea.

We paid taxes before Mr. Reagan. I believe our last marginal rate was about 45% and a very limited income. However, we had many more deductions - a person could deduct what a business does. After the change, we paid less tax. The rich paid a lot less since there were marginal rates up to I believe 70%. Marginal rate is now about half that. If Mr. Obama is successful, it will go up about 4%.

I know who the good guys and who the bad guys are. If Mrs. Pelosi had been able to hold her caucus this would have been fixed in August. She wasn't because some numbers of Democrats did not want to raise taxes on the "rich" either.

I think you and I pretty much agree on raising taxes on the "rich". I want to raise them more then Mr. Obama - like I want to make them uniformly progressive rather than cutting off progressivity at about $250 K in income.

All that said, how much is enough Bea. Your always seem to want more goodies but you never specify where the money comes from. The problem with the Obama approach is that way too little money will be obtained for all the continuing expenses we have established. Either you raise taxes substantially on the middle, cut benefits in a draconian manner or some combination of both. No way out!

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

The problem with all administrations is that too little money is obtained for expenses.

That's why we routinely run large deficits each year.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Absolutely JAFS. But there is a question as to how many of us agree with the expenses we have established.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

So, how about if the republicans start stating which ones they propose to eliminate.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Scott - they have as has the commisssion. When the Rep. say roll back to 2008 they are talking all the Obama administration adds (25% increase in the federal non defense budget) all bail out activities (stretched unemploymnent, stimulus, etc.) and the Health Care entitlement. That is pretty clear. Tell me who you would tax to fund all that. We either raise taxes, cut spending or go like Ireland.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Since the Bush administration routinely ran deficits as well, simply cutting spending back to 2008 levels wouldn't balance the budget.

You'd have to make more cuts, or raise more revenue.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Where is Bea. She will never respond to a direct question as to how much we should be taxed and who she believes should bear the brunt.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

I do too answer direct questions. I just didn't see this threaded string. Geez george, cut a little slack.

To the question, I honestly don't have a number in mind of how much we should be taxed, nor do I have a bottom line on how much is too much. Top tax rate under Eisenhower? Too much. Current top tax rate? Too little. I do believe, however, that we should balance our natiional budget. As the budget stands now, without cuts, that would mean we would have to raise taxes significantly. I'm not for that. I would rather see dramatic cuts, particularly in military spending. I've told you that before. We far outspend other nations on our military, and most of the other top military spending nations are our friends. Small cuts to things like the arts won't do it. Instead, we need to recognize that we can't afford an empire.

I do think the cuts during wartime was a horrible decision, even those I personally benefitted from. If the current cuts were allowed to go away for everyone, I could accept that. I'm not just about going after the wealthy.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Tommy, still think "Whites have no power now," all because one Black man is President?

We know why you don't like our President. You aren't fooling anyone.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Bea, Why did you make this racial?? Have you no useful comment?

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe it was the Nazi comment that led me to it. By itself, it is just an ugly comment. In context of the poster's previous writings, it speaks volumes.

I tend to think it serves no purpose to forget blatantly racist comments on these boards, as it speaks to the poster's real motivations. Would you prefer that once someone says something truly ugly here, it should only be used or considered on that story alone? If so, then I would disagree. Tom is the one who wrote "Whites have no power now." If you want to ask about the racism of his comment, bring the issue up with him.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago


When you and Tom go at it - well it gets ugly. You bring out the best in each other

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