Saturday, November 20, 2010

The American Dream

Bob Hebert has a rather powerful op-ed contribution at the New York Times today that I encourage you to read in full. It is elegantly written and emphasizes just how badly our leadership and media are failing us.

What this shows is not that we should discriminate against foreign-born workers, but that the U.S. needs to develop a full-employment economy that provides jobs for all who want to work at pay that enables the workers and their families to enjoy a decent standard of living. In other words, a resurrection of the American dream.

He goes on to say that “nothing close to that is happening,” and to that I would add that we are not even trying. We are still enmeshed in this nonsense of trying to rebuild the “consumer spending economy” by replacing the missing consumer spending with government spending. There is this magical thinking that if the government throws money around long enough the public will start spending again, which would rebuild the economy of China, Korea and oil exporters but not America.

What’s notable to me is how he defines “the American dream.” To him it is not becoming a millionaire, or having yachts and airplanes, or becoming President, it’s having “work at pay that enables the workers and their families to enjoy a decent standard of living.” That’s what brought waves of Italians and Germans and Poles and Irish to this nation many years ago to become today’s Americans, the ability to have work that would allow them to support their families with a decent standard of living. I love that definition; that is a worthy dream.

The same thing is bringing today’s Hispanics to this country today to become tomorrow’s Americans. They have the same dream, the same worthy dream.

The wreckage from the recession and the nation’s mindlessly destructive policies in the years leading up to the recession is all around us. We still don’t have the money to pay for the wars that we insist on fighting year after year. We have neither the will nor the common sense to either raise taxes to pay for the wars, or stop fighting them.

Obama and his Democrats decry the disaster created by the previous administration, and then continue the same disasterous policy even as they complain about having inherited it. Obama supporters, after years of complaining about Bush fighting wars without paying for them, support Obama for doing precisely the same thing. Under Republicans we spent money, fought wars and cut taxes and under Democrats we are spending money, fighting wars and cutting taxes.

I don’t think the American dream includes fighting endless wars, either.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Good article and good summation.. and truthful. I like reading him.

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