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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The "American Lie"

"The American Dream." A term coined by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book Epic of America, but the American Dream has over time earned many meanings. For some it means the right to own a home and a second family car, for others it simply means the ability to become an American citizen, and for others it means to reach limits unattainable in social-class driven societies.

  I grew up being taught to believe in the "American Dream" the same as most Americans. Though for some reason it never really sat right with me. There seemed to me, obvious flaws in this so called dream.

  For me it is the lie people were told by the rich, who had come to America, in order to have the workers they needed to keep themselves rich and wealthy in the new world. They lured people with the promise: if you work hard for me, even you can attain what I have always had.

  Recently in America we experienced "The Great Recession" which led to the rise of The Occupy Wall St. movement. This movement is aimed at fighting back against the richest one percent of Americans who are writing the rules that maintain unfair global economy. The statu quo so to speak, or more commonly known as "the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer."

  Most people obtain the status of "Middle Class" but rarely does a person go beyond that in their life. Working 30 plus years for the same company only to retire with a meager pension or limited funds only to slightly enjoy your remaining years.

  A great example of the Statu Quo in the current housing crisis for instance. Millions of Americans (while trying to keep up with the Jones's) were duped in to buying homes larger then they needed or could afford. Thus resulting in the Banks making billions of dollars off mortgages, while paying their top executives astronomical wages and bonuses while knowingly not supporting the Bank itself (Insert bank bailout here). So now the fat cats of the banking world are enjoying trips on their yachts and vacations to their multiple homes while "Middle Class" Americans are losing the only home they were convinced to buy, by the Banks. Yet the middle and lower classes have been bailing out the Banks giving them first our earnings, and now are taxes. With the banks foreclosing on homes at rapid rates, ultimately increasing their inventory of houses. Eventually the Banks will be reselling these homes back to the "Middle Class" starting the process all over again.

  They say History repeats itself, but do we have to allow this part of History to repeat? We have had a The Great Depression and now The Great Recession. What's next? I'm hoping for The Great Overthrow.

  Two economists of the 1920's, William Trufant Foster and Waddill Catchings gave us the popular theory that the economy produced more then it consumed, because the consumers did not have enough money. Which gave us the Theory that the unequal distribution of wealth caused the great depression.

  However this "unfortunately" gave us Keynesian economics: a belief that to keep people fully employed a government must run deficits when the economy is slow. Investing by way of "bail outs and stimulus packages because the private sector could not, or would not, invest enough to maintain normal levels of production.

  I am more inclined to share a Marxist point of view. A view that believes as long as we have free market capitalism with out restrictions on accumulation of wealth (other then on the market itself) depressions and recessions are unavoidable. Capitalism allows for the uneven accumulation of wealth which leads to over-accumulation of capital that inevitably leads to crisis. As long as we have free market capitalism we will have a "Boom and Bust" economy. Ultimately resulting in the "rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer."

  Welcome to The American Lie!

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