American Dream Run Amok

September/26/2008 23:54PM
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This is a country that embraced big dreams. Big country, big dreams. My generation believed we should save to enjoy the bounty of this country. We had what we called starter houses. We often did the work to fix the house up. I painted, wallpapered, put on a roof, built a room addition, did plumbing, did wiring, built a brick patio, mowed my grass, raked my leaves, and still had time to work a ponderous workweek. We kept debt to a minimum. We worked hard to get promoted and increase our asset base.

My children’s generation has been named the “now” generation. Their starter houses are like my house now. Need something, buy it. Want something, put it on the credit card. Need a big purchase , take a home equity loan. The house will always go up in value, there will always be a job out there that will pay more than the one we have. Debt, no problem. We can always pay it. 

The American Dream was expanded to mean everyone should own a house, Regardless of their earnings, their asset base, their future job prospects. It is an entitlement, like health care, like Social Security, like welfare, like all entitlements. Just thinking bigger. No thought about balancing the books or economic downturn. We have heard for years that Social Security is bankrupt, who cares? That’s way down the road.

Will the American Dream turn into the American Nightmare? Probably not, but it is possible. The credit crunch is a start. The country is overspending just like the citizens. We have postponed the hard decisions. Energy strategy, none. We ship $700 billion to foreign countries and it’s going up. Why worry? We have two wars that cost $700 billion a year. No problem. Now, we are going to put $700 billion into bailouts. No problem. We have turned our economy into a disaster. Now, it’s a problem. Do you think the old Soviet Union saw it coming? Probably not. How did it fall? Overspending on the military and underspending on domestic needs. Sound familiar?

The American Dream got too big. The American Dream is shrinking. How much will it shrink? Will it be like the Soviet Union? Will it be like the Great Depression? Unemployment was 20%. How will we fare if it goes to 20%? What will the Now Generation do? Can they survive what they will face? What about their children, the little princes and princesses who have never had to sacrifice? Is it too late to fix the multitude of problems?

Does it make you sad or mad that we have reached this point? It is self-inflicted for sure. We bought into the idea that you can stop progress and prosper. No manufacturing, just a big financial empire. We worship the environment and don’t do what we need to do from a safe and practical point to use our energy to keep our country and our economy afloat. Go down to Houston now to see our future.They have no gasoline and no air conditioning.  We over borrowed and over spent. We over promised and under delivered as a country. We gave money to foreign countries that hate us. We became the world’s policeman. We finance the United Nations which insults us every day. We let the financial community buy the leverage they needed with congress to get what they wanted to rape the country. We elected people who are ill equipped to do what we need done. We let special interests take over our country.

Now the bills are coming due. It won’t be pretty. It could get very, very ugly since there won’t be enough money, jobs, fuel, and necessities to go around. If history is repeated, that makes for public outrage. Those that have will be working hard to keep those who have not from taking it away. You may be supporting your kids again since their highly leveraged lives may fall apart. It’s the eleventh hour and no one is moving. Congress just stiffed you again on the offshore bill. Not a good sign.

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