RUSH: ‘A new ABC News poll states that only half of American citizens still believe in The American Dream. Or, depending on the type of person you are, half of Americans no longer believe in The American Dream. The polls results indicate that when asked, ‘Do you think The American Dream — that if you work hard, you’ll get ahead — still holds true, never held true, or once held true but does not anymore?’ 50% of Americans answered with ‘still true,’ 43% with ‘once true,’ and an entire 4% with ‘never true.’ But the numbers within the numbers are just as revealing. 57% of those who make 75K or more a year said ‘still true,’ whereas only 46% of those making 25K and under answered similarly. Geography also played a role; 58% of the American West still believe in The American Dream, compared to 46% of those in the so-called rust-belt. The poll also broke down the numbers along racial lines, saying that 57% of whites still believe in the Dream, while only 48% of non-whites agreed. Other revelations from the poll: When asked if they’d rather have Barack Obama or George W. Bush in charge of ‘economic policy right now,’ 52% reported Obama, and 35% said Bush.’Now, you can look at that any number of ways. I think it’s pretty high given how much hatred and negative PR had been drummed up about George Bush. ‘The poll’s final question might be the most damning to those in Washington. ‘On another subject, if you had children, would you want your own son or daughter to grow up to be a candidate for U.S. Congress, or would you rather see them pick another line of work?’ Only 25% of respondents wished a congressional future for their children.’ Only 25%. Well, I mean, when such options as heading up the National Organization for Circumcision, Information and Resource Centers exist out there, why would you want to go to Congress? I mean, when you can join the president’s commission on Fairness for Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans, why would you want to go to Congress?
Before addressing this, let’s go back to June 16th of 2009, a little over a year ago, ABC News, again: ‘Is the American Dream Dead — or Just in Hiding? Cutting Back on the Excess of the Boom Years Might Not Be so Bad, Some Families Discover.’ So here we’re in the throes of the Depression and it was one of these stories: ‘Hey, you know what? Being out of work, why, it’s not that bad. It’s not that bad a deal. My family, we’re getting to know each other a little bit more. We’re not so selfish. We’re not so obsessed with consuming.’ Remember all of those stories?
This was a little over a year ago on ABC: ‘As the recession grinds on, and we take stock of our country’s lost jobs, foreclosed homes and decimated 401(k)s, many Americans are lamenting the loss of something that can’t be captured in statistics and data points: the American Dream. Commenting on the state of the economy shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama equated the economic downturn with nothing less than ‘the American Dream in reverse.’ But what exactly is this elusive American Dream that seems to be slipping away? Vanity Fair writer David Kamp notes that the American Dream is not a static concept. The evolution of this idea is reflected in popular television. In the 1950s, Ralph and Alice Kramden lived in a grubby New York tenement on ‘The Honeymooners.’
‘Just a few years later the American viewing audience could set its sights higher by watching the Cleavers in their modest suburban home on ‘Leave it to Beaver.’ By the 1970s, ‘The Brady Bunch’ lived in an even bigger home and could afford a Hawaiian vacation. The families of ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Dallas’ played out their decadent dramas in mansions during the 1980s. All of which led inexorably to the spoiled brats of ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘The Hills.’ To many, the American Dream seemed to evolve into something more like a nightmare.’ Really? ”The boom grossed me out,’ said professor Richard Florida of the University of Toronto. ‘I mean I just thought it was gauche and horrible and over the top. You know, ‘Hummerville’ and ‘Conspicuous-Consumptionville.’ I never liked it.” Of course not, he’s a professor.
‘Florida said America is now in the midst of what he calls ‘The Great Reset,’ a time when our entire way of life will be re-imagined. ‘I think many, many Americans felt that they were on this kind of treadmill and couldn’t keep up and actually felt empty. You can’t just buy yourself into self-worth,’ said Florida. During the boom, Holly and Keith Berkley of San Diego, Calif., were definitely on that treadmill. 35-year-old Holly’s Internet marketing consulting company was thriving. She was driven, she says, to the extreme.’ They go on and give these examples of people who really didn’t like progressing, who really didn’t like advancing. ABC turned over every rock and they went out there and they found every human example of people who did not like the fruits of their labors and working harder. They didn’t like the whole concept of a nicer car, larger house.
They didn’t like the concept of having to keep up with people who could afford bigger houses and go on vacations. They wanted an excuse to settle in to have nothing. And the recession gave them the perfect opportunity to settle in and feel guiltless over being lazy and having nothing because when everybody had nothing, then it was okay to have nothing. When everybody was perceived to be hurting, it was okay to be lazy and lackadaisical. So then you might ask yourself, ‘Well, if it became comfortable during the Obama years to sit there with no advancement, to not be on that treadmill, to not feel any pressure to get better to improve yourself, then why resent people who still do it? Why resent those who still do it?’
Snerdley, did your father talk to you about the American Dream? Your parents, did they talk to you about the American Dream at all? You lived it. You lived the American Dream, but it was always important to do better, it was always important. Yeah, I think back, my dad was obsessed with my going to college for one reason. That was the only way to improve myself. My dad was not comfortable with me stagnating, and he thought stagnating was bad. You know, why wind up in the basement? He wanted me out of the house as soon as I could get out of the house. I accommodated.
This whole notion of the American Dream’s dead, only 50% of the American people think it’s worth striving for or it’s even possible, I think that my parents, they didn’t verbalize the concept of the American Dream but they damn well wanted us to live it. I mean, we were never sat down, ‘Son, I want to tell you about the American Dream.’ But I’ll tell you what my dad did do, my parents. They extolled the virtues of this country. Why do I care about it so much? My parents did. We were told we could be the best. We were told we could be anything. In fact, we were expected to be. I don’t know about you, but in our family we were expected to make something of ourselves. We were expected to matter. We were expected to do better than our parents did. It was not issued in such challenging language but that was their purpose of being parents, to see to it that we had the best and that we were able to provide the best for ourselves.
So where did all this talk start that, ‘Yeah, it’s fun to get off the treadmill. You know, I didn’t like the pressure. I didn’t like having to go out and work every day and measure myself against the Joneses and try to keep up with these metrosexuals who are getting pedicures and manicures and having their hair done and driving their Beemers. I didn’t like that at all. I’m content to sit home with my wife who doesn’t do anything either and we’ll sit here and we’ll just count our lucky stars that we’re average.’ When did this set in? I’ll tell you when this set in. It has always been the objective of the American left to wipe out success. It’s always been the objective of the American left to wipe out people who do better than others because that’s intrinsically in their view unfair. It’s simply not fair that somebody should have any more than anybody else, no matter how they get it, unless you’re a Kennedy. If you inherit it, you are a Democrat, fine and dandy, you can have it. But it’s simply unjust and immoral. It’s what animates, motivates, and inspires Obama to this day.
So we come to a year later, ABC: ‘Poll: Only Half of Americans Believe In ‘The American Dream.” Let me ask you a question: How many of you in this audience…? How many of your parents were like mine? And how many of you as parents today are like your parents? How many of you have great expectations for your kids and hopes for them? How many of you have chucked it, though? How many of you have tossed in the towel and said, ‘You know what? America’s finished. America’s best days are behind you’? How many of you are doing this? I think when you get a poll — and we’ll just, for the sake of this discussion, grant that the poll is accurate. For the sake of this discussion, because you know how I feel about polls.
You can get whatever result you want in them. But to the extent that half the people of the country think the American dream is dead, that means half the American people are being told it’s dead. That means — and this is very sad. It means that way too many people are not being reminded by leaders of the greatness of this country. Thomas Sowell. Where is this? He has a great, great quote. Let me see if I can paraphrase it. Well, I’m going to botch it if I paraphrase it. But it’s essentially how much ahead of the game you are being born in America and what a crime it is that so many people in this country do not understand that. Our leaders today — and by that I mean the Democrat Party, the American left from Obama on down — do nothing but attack the American people.
They beat us up every day. We get nothing but criticism from this administration and from the Democrat Party. We’re greedy, selfish. We consume too much energy. We have more than our fair share of everything from salt to food to trans-fats. We drive the wrong cars, we use the wrong kind of light bulbs, we don’t pay enough in taxes, we use too much healthcare. The people who lead this country are dumping on us, the achievers in this country, each and every day — and blaming us, blaming you, blaming the achievers for all the problems not only in this country but in the world. So it’s totally understandable to me, but unacceptable, that half the people in this country think the American dream is dead when we don’t have political leaders extolling the whole concept of American exceptionalism anymore.
You know what I remember about the ’80s and the Reagan years? There’s one thing that stands out. Everybody… You who weren’t alive or who are too young don’t realize the misery of the late Seventies. I mean, it was as bad as it is today. It was horrible. Add gasoline lines, add all kinds of skyrocketing energy prices to everything else that was going on, to the incompetence of a peanut farmer in the White House. I mean, it was… There was a misery index to describe it! Even our own president described the country as being in a malaise. It was bad. And there were people talking about the end of America’s salad days even then. Then Reagan got elected and there was immediately, even in the midst of a recession, the ’81-’82 recession, an immediate transformation. People all of a sudden were up and happy and were saying, ‘You know what?
‘We’ve got to go through this. This is a much needed corrective measure, this economic mess that we’re in. Because a bunch of stuff has been going on that was fraudulent and phony; this connection has to happen.’ And I remember, maybe it was… I don’t remember where it was, some television show. I don’t even remember who it was. But some people were analyzing, ‘Well, what has Reagan done for the country?’ I mean, the tax cuts had happened but they really hadn’t kicked in. The Reagan economic boom was just beginning but it hadn’t started. ‘What has Reagan done?’ And the very simple answer: ‘He’s made people feel good about the country again.’ Ronald Reagan made people feel good about their country again, made them proud to feel Americans. Is Obama making you proud to feel American? Is anybody in the Democratic Party making you proud of being an American? No! They’re blaming you!
You’re destroying the climate. You’re destroying the polar bear habitat. You are doing this, you’re doing that. You’re eating too much! You’re too fat! You’re driving the wrong kind of car. You don’t care enough about the disadvantaged. You’re a racist, you’re a sexist, you’re a bigot and you’re a homophobe — and half the people who hear this happen to agree with it. Half the people are already down on themselves anyway and so when Obama says, ‘We’re no longer going to be a country that leads the world economically,’ people say, ‘Thank God. Now I don’t have to work hard.’ So to the extent that we have economic stagnation in this country, it’s not just because of the destructive policies of this regime. It’s because of their attitudes. It is their purpose. They are seeking to create this defeatist attitude.
And the Democrats hated Reagan: ‘Oh, yeah. Reagan sees everything through rose-colored glasses. What Reagan sees is unreal. That’s not an America that can exist anymore.’
Frankly I’m fed up with this view of America that they have.
RUSH: Here’s the Sowell quote. Here’s the Tom Sowell quote: ‘When you consider what an enormous windfall gain it is to be born in America, it is painful to hear some people complain bitterly that someone else got a bigger windfall gain than they did.’ You’re already ahead of the game when you’re born here and to start complaining, B-I-itching about people who have more than you is sickening, when you could be that person tomorrow if you wanted to be in this country.
To the phones to Los Angeles. Scott, thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Very well. Thank you.
CALLER: Good. Hey, with those businesses sitting on the money that the government or the left keeps talking about. Now, if the company makes the money and then goes and spends it, wouldn’t they be spending it to make more money, which is the evil that they’ve pointed out that these corporations do is they try to make more money for themselves? I’ve made money, it’s in my company, and I don’t want to spend it. I could. I want to spend it because I could either make more money or not with it. Right now, I need a customer. I don’t need a loan and I don’t need somebody upset at me for making this money. The idea of making money is I need a customer to buy the products that I’m selling.
CALLER: When I make money, I pay the employees and all my bills, and if I see more customers and I decide to grow.
RUSH: Okay. Well, why are you sitting on the money?
CALLER: I’m not. I just, like… Well, what would I do with it? I don’t have any customers to expand.
RUSH: No, no, this is the point. You are exactly right. Let me put this in context. It is Democrats complaining about all the cash that businesses large and small are sitting on. They cite Apple. You know, Apple’s sitting on $45 million or billion, whatever it is, in cash. They are sitting on it. Why? The Democrats want you to believe it’s somehow unfair that these are greedy people hoarding that money and buying themselves jets with it, which is silly. A corporation holding onto money is different than an individual holding onto money. There are a lot of people who believe right now that cash is the safest place to be if you’ve got some, rather than invest it in something, simply because you don’t know what the future holds given who’s running the country. And if you have the cash, the objective is preservation of principal right now. The objective is not losing it, and even if you put it in a bank where you get 1 or 2% interest, you’re at least not losing it. And people’s attitudes, right now is, ‘I’m not going to lose this,’ and they don’t want to invest it because they don’t know how much of it is going to be wasted investing it given what policies await them.
RUSH: Let’s move on to Victor Davis Hanson because it dovetails here with ‘Is the American Dream Over?’ from ABC. ‘A Nation of Peasants? The U.S. has Returned to Deriding ‘Trickle-Down’ Economics … America is willing to become collectively poorer so that some will not become wealthier. … Traditional peasant societies believe in only a limited amount of good. The more your neighbor earns, the less someone else gets. Profits are seen as a sort of theft; they must be either hidden or redistributed. Envy, rather than admiration of success, reigns,’ in a peasant society. Envy, jealousy rather than admiration. ‘In contrast, Western civilization began with a very different, ancient Greek idea of an autonomous citizen, not an indentured serf or subsistence peasant. The small, independent landowner — if he was left to his own talents, and if his success was protected by, and from, government — would create new sources of wealth for everyone. The resulting greater bounty for the poor soon trumped their old jealousy of the better-off.
‘Citizens of ancient Greece and Italy soon proved more prosperous and free than either the tribal folk to the north and west or the imperial subjects to the south and east. The success of later Western civilization in general, and America in particular, is a testament to this legacy of the freedom of the individual in the widest political and economic sense. We seem to be forgetting that lately — though Mao Zedong’s redistributive failures in China, or present-day bankrupt Greece, should warn us about what happens when government tries to enforce an equality of result rather than equality of opportunity. Even after the failure of statism at the end of the Cold War, the disasters of socialism in Venezuela and Cuba, and the recent financial meltdowns in the European Union, America is returning to a peasant mentality of a limited good that redistributes wealth rather than creates it. Candidate Obama’s ‘spread the wealth’ slip to Joe the Plumber simply was upgraded to President Obama’s ‘I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.’
‘The more his administration castigates insurers, businesses, and doctors; raises taxes on the upper income brackets; and imposes additional regulations, the more those who create wealth are deciding to sit out, neither hiring nor lending. The result is that traditional self-interested profit-makers are locking up trillions of dollars in unspent cash rather than using it to take risks, since they will likely either lose money due to new red tape or see much of their profit confiscated through higher taxes.’ And thus we have the explanation of why individuals and businesses are holding onto their cash, not spending it, not investing it. It’s very simple. They see nothing but a country that wants to take it from them.
‘Traditional self-interested profit-makers are locking up trillions of dollars in unspent cash rather than using it to take risks,’ i.e., invest, be entrepreneurial, ‘since they will likely either lose money due to new red tape or see much of their profit confiscated through higher taxes,’ or see much of their profit confiscated. ‘No wonder that in such a climate of fear and suspicion, unemployment remains near 10 percent. Deficits chronically exceed $1 trillion per annum. And now the poverty rate has hit a historic high. We are all getting poorer in hopes that a few won’t get richer,’ hence the peasant society. We’re all getting poorer in hopes that a few won’t get richer.
‘The public is seldom told that 1 percent of taxpayers already pay 40 percent of the income taxes collected, while 40 percent of income earners are exempt from federal income tax — or that present entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are financially unsustainable. Instead, they hear more often that those who manage to make above $250,000 per year have obligations to the rest of us to give back about 60 percent of what they earn in higher health-care and income taxes — together with payroll and rising state income taxes, and along with increased capital-gains and inheritance taxes. That limited-good mindset expects that businesses will agree that they now make enough money and so have no need to pursue any more profits at the expense of others. Therefore, they will gladly still hire the unemployed and buy new equipment — as they pay higher health-care or income taxes.’ We expect all this. This is traditional Democrat thinking. We’re going to punish the hell out of you and expect you to still behave the same. We’re going to spank you and we’re going to beat you, we’re going to rob you, we’re going to take everything you’ve got. We still expect you to run your business so that we can keep stealing from you.
‘This peasant approach to commerce also assumes that businesses either cannot understand administration signals or can do nothing about them. So who cares that in the Chrysler bankruptcy settlement, the government quite arbitrarily put the unions in front of the legally entitled lenders? Health insurers should not mind that Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius just warned them to keep their profits down and their mouths shut — or face exclusion from health-care markets. I suppose that no corporation should worry that the government arbitrarily announced — without benefit of a law or court ruling — that it wanted BP to put up $20 billion in cleanup costs for the Gulf spill. What optimistic Americans used to call a rising tide that lifts all boats is now once again derided as trickle-down economics. In other words, a newly peasant-minded America is willing to become collectively poorer so that some will not become wealthier. The present economy suggests that it is surely getting its wish.’ Peasant economy.
What Victor Davis Hanson is suggesting here is that class envy politics has succeeded. He is suggesting that the American people have decided they’re going to be happy not by having their own lives improved, but by seeing somebody else’s get punished. He’s suggesting that enough Americans have finally arrived to the point to where they don’t give a rat’s rear end if they earn another dollar just so long as the people who have more than they do lose it. He is suggesting that Americans’ happiness is now based on others experiencing misery because that leads to equality. And then it’s no wonder, if that’s the case, businesses aren’t going to expand and hire anybody. Why would they? And it’s no wonder that half the American people think the American dream is dead. The optimist in me would say don’t worry because the stuff that liberal socialists stick us with will never trickle down. Solids don’t trickle.