August 24th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How is the American dream changing?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More good news from our government. Friday the White House said deficits would climb to $9 trillion over the next ten years bringing the total national debt to $20 trillion a decade from now.

The government also announced Social Security recipients will get no cost of living adjustments during the next two years. That hasn't happened since automatic increases were put into place in 1975. We can find hundreds of billions of dollars for AIG and Wall Street, but we can't give our senior citizens a small cost of living increase in their social security. When does the revolution start?

We're in the midst of a recession not seen since the great depression. Millions of Americans are out of work, unemployment has soared to 9.4 percent. Millions of good paying jobs have been have been shipped overseas never to return. And the manufacturing base that was once the engine of our economy is on life support. We simply don't make "things" anymore.

We are in debt up to our eyeballs to China and other foreign countries as we increasingly look to them to finance out deficit spending. And through it all have you noticed? There's no talk in Washington of cutting expenses or reducing the size of government.

There are unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars for Medicare and Social Security; and no plan for how to pay for health care reform. Add in the drain of millions of illegal aliens and the fact that many states are bankrupt. We're in serious trouble here.

Here’s my question to you: How is the American dream changing?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Simon from Orlando, Florida writes:
Very simply, we are losing our freedoms. A quote by Thomas Jefferson, "A Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not." The government is coming down harder on the individual achievers that energize the democracy. The idea of rewarding ability is being replaced by the government's concept of "fairness."

J writes:
The corruption of our democratic government, Republican and Democrat, is deep and renders us unable to effectively address the major problems that confront us. Until we have real reform that deals with the power of corporations to buy off our political "leaders", I fear that the American dream will turn more and more into a nightmare. The founding fathers would be ashamed of what has transpired.

Stacy writes:
My husband and I recently have turned 50. There was a time when we both believed that if we delayed gratification, got an education, and were prepared to work hard we could expect to enjoy a small, comfortable life. Instead, we are struggling to: a) support aging family members who have long outlived their retirement incomes; b) continue to fund college age children for whom a bachelor's degree no longer will even get them employment; and c) watch our own retirement disappear while Wall Street gets bailed out over and over. Good thing we really love each other, because that is, apparently, all we have.

Graham from St. Joseph, Missouri writes:
It is changing from the credit-based, assumed "right" it has been for the last decade, back into the savings-based, hard-earned "privilege" it rightfully should be. It is also going to be more difficult to attain than ever before, and there are going to be a lot of Americans who will soon realize that their chances of getting it are just that: A dream.

JM from South Brunswick, New Jersey writes:
The U.S. is gradually receding from a superpower, first world status, and morphing gradually to second (formerly Eastern Europe) or third world status. Eventually the dollar will lose most of its value. Europe, in concert with Russia, and China (with its Asian neighbors) will become the power players internationally. People will still have some quality of life, and successes, but it will take place against that back drop.

David from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma writes:
The best thing to come out of the economic meltdown is a reality check. Buying homes we couldn't afford, running up credit cards like there was no tomorrow. That was an insane way to pursue the dream. So the balloon has burst, and yet this is a golden opportunity for a great reset. The American dream is still alive and well, but perhaps now there will be a dose of realism and common sense. Now people might learn to live within their means.

Filed under: Economy • Recession • United States
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Tyler, Iowa

    The American dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. Day by day, we care less about our country and our fellow citizens and more about our own pocketbooks. We look for the easy path to success and happiness only to find a rutted out mess created by people pushing each other down to the ground. We increasingly omit the third word in the phrase "spend more wisely." Our Democrat and Republican leaders are each more concerned about making themselves look good and their opponents look evil, making kindergarten students seem mature in comparison. It is time that we remember that our country is the U.S., not the M.E.

    August 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  2. Loren

    I don't think that the generation coming of age has any feeling for the "American Dream". We lived in a world of go to school, go to work, marry, buy a home, raise kids, retire. We've traded that for a world of do what you want when you want and let the future take care of itself. In one sense that's an improvement, we're no longer tied to a lockstep world of consumerism. On the other hand, part of that progression entailed a social commitment to understanding the world around us and making it a better place. While there seems to be a lot of that, it seems much more disjointed and personal (witness the number of foundations to support pet causes). What this reflects is a lack of consensus and an unwillingness to achieve consensus. That is a sad commentary on the politics of the last forty years.

    Chicago, Illinois

    August 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  3. Steve Conrad

    This deterioration was not caused by mysterious aliens. Who specifically are the people responsible for this, why aren't they identified and held accountable? Why aren't the current authorities doing everything to reverse the slide instead of accelerating it?

    August 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  4. chris

    the american dream has changed from the average American knowing no boundries for achievement to Just wanting to have the basics. We just want to have a job we can work at and leave if we need to make more money. We just want to have healthy kids that will love and respect us. We just want to be healthy enough when we get older so that we can work until we die and hope that we won't have to rely on a non-existent socical security system. We just want to live out the rest of our time on earth enjoying what the simple pleasures might be. The older generation is ceaesar and we the younger generation are the slaves whispering in his ear.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Doyle from Canada

    Time to pay the piper.
    To many people have lived beyond their means for a long time.
    Everyone has to tighten their belts.
    That seems to be getting harder.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  6. Sargon Zaia

    I am 19 years old and starting college in Chicago this year. Durring my orientation I was made aware that HALF of my Financial Aid is going to be taken away becuase the state of IL could not afford the IMAP grant any longer but there is billions of dollars going to the auto market (cash for clunkers) and to wallstreet to bail out these large companies. What am I supposed to do when I cant afford to go to school? Me and my peers are Americas future and yet we are not taken care of..sounds like Americas future will be rather disapointing.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  7. Frank from Gilroy


    The vapor fronm the Bush years has evaporated.
    We are personaly and nationaly left with a lot of debt and nothing to show for it. Sad to say but it will be very hard to come out of this looking like we did coming out of the last century. Reality sucks sometimes.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  8. Michael from Americus, Georgia 31709

    Our administration is determined to produce the largest deficit our nation has ever seen. Take for example "Cash For Clunkers". This is a misguided attempt to replace old cars with new ones, and thus rescue the floundering automobile industry at the taxpayer's expense. Auto bailouts, at the taxpayer's expense. That's great, let everyone drive a hybrid. What happens to all those rechargeable batteries when they are used up? Hybrids have not even been on the market long enough for their impact on the environment to fully be realized. Where is all this tax revenue going to come from? The unemployed do not pay taxes, the working middle-class has had to cut back on spending just to maintain above the poverty line, furthering the downward spiral of our economy, and now we (taxpayers) are burdened yet again with paying for medical insurance for everyone!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  9. pete at the beach

    Why suddenly after the endless wars do we even talk about deficit spending??? What does it matter if we get to far out of debt then off to the next war and the cycle continues......

    August 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  10. Mike D

    It isn't changed, it is stolen by mega-rich elitist politicians who have lost touch with America and her citizens. Where do I enlist?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  11. Beau


    People are just now waking up to the fact that the "dream" of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents is unattainable for the majority of Americans. You cannot work hard enough, long enough, to ever actually realize the kind of success stories that the Dream seemed to promise. These days, we look for unique and novel ways to make our fortunes, before regulation, or inundation, renders such things just another 9 to 5 job. Of course, such actions tend to be much to the detriment of society as a whole (the current mortgage crisis and "flipping" properties being a prime example).

    In a capitalist society, we cannot all be CEOs. We still need the cube-dwellers, the guys and gals in the mailroom, the broom-pushers and the toilet-cleaners. We still need fast-food workers and garbage men. In capitalism, success is not guaranteed and is not, by the system, particularly desirable for the majority. Wealth must concentrate in the hands of the few, and the many must work to support those few. It has always been this way, and a Capitalist system cannot function without a highly populated base of working poor.

    Now, then, the real question is, did we fail the Dream, or has the Dream failed us?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  12. eric rodgers

    the "American Dream" has always been about accumulation; a house, a car, a picket fence, etc. what's happening now is a reality check, a wake-up call. a good thing.

    hopefully, the dream will transform to that of personal happiness, an internal undertaking rather than external.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  13. Alex

    ... and Obama wants to ram [incredibly expensive] ObamaCare down our throats to top it all off.

    The American Dream is changing because we are mortgaging our future by throwing money at today's problems. Instead of bailouts, cash-for-clunkers, stimulus packages, and incredibly wasteful spending, we should be looking to contract government, drastically cut spending, get out of the wars, and turn this ship around.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  14. Johnny V

    As long as big business in corporate America stays happy, nothing else matters.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  15. Spike in Conshohocken, PA

    The American Dream became the American Greed.

    Materialism is out of control. Does anybody really need to have a McMansion with a great room? More than one car per person? A 6000 lb SUV that came to the USA by ship so it could haul groceries a few miles per week?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  16. Barbara Barr

    What American Dream? When will "Made in the USA" be the phrase everyone in the US demands on their goods? Do you want to organize the revolution, Jack? Everyone else is working too hard to keep their children fed and clothed.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  17. JWeiler

    How is the American Dream Changing????

    The American dream is not changing... its dead... and Uncle Sam is on life support. The blame for the entire mess can be placed at the feet of the most self indulgent and destructive generation the world has ever known. Its you, Baby Boomers, who have extinguished the hopes and dreams of millions of young Americans. Hey... at least you had Woodstock right?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  18. Sandra in Arkansas

    Instead of every generation striving to do better than the last...our dream is now that we will not do worse. Unfortunatley that dream is probably going to be a reality. We have "given away the farm" so to speak by sending our manufacturing jobs overseas. If we don't make things we can't sell things!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  19. Chad

    The American dream is not changing, and never will. We all want to live free and have the opportunities to rise as high as our abilities and ambitions will take us. The problem is the American Government is changing. Over the years we have shifted away from federalism and the constitution, and shifted towards rule by elected "elites" who fail miserably to represent American citizens. Now we're stealing from future generations and creating laws that have nothing to do with protecting life, liberty, and property. Eventually people will realize that the American dream will no longer be possible if we continue down the road we're on, and I have faith that things will change for the better.

    Oakdale, MN

    August 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  20. Anyone

    We are going to have to start paying for the things we buy... you know like in the olden days....before credit cards, WITH CASH!
    Tricia from Roswell,GA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  21. David

    Vote Republican!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  22. art heartland of america

    Can you say the Soviet Union? History repeats!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  23. Johnny B

    I think it is time for a political revolution! That is voting in all new members of congress, people that don't believe in passing on our huge debt to the next generation, as have happened now for generations. It's time for new ideas, and with those new ideas comes responsibility for your actions in congress, not the same old politics as usual. There really isn't much difference between Democrats or Republicans, they both do the same wrongs.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  24. mike

    Jack, I think the change is fundamental: instead of the traditional dream of climbing up the quality-of-life ladder, the dream now has become simply trying to hang on, and not falling down that ladder.

    Thank you for your work, Jack.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  25. Jeff C

    I hear you Jack! As a guy that graduated college 2 years ago in Columbia, SC, I can honestly say that things have changed drastically since I walked that stage. Instead of making the $20/hr to start like many of us college students thought we would be making right away, we have to settle for $10/hr jobs if we are lucky to find those and are barely able to pay our student loans, let alone any additional expenses. Where is our bailout? We did our part and became educated for the future, but now good jobs are outsourced or nonexistent! Many college grads are overqualified for basic jobs and underqualified for better jobs. If we just want a basic job, we aren't hired because employers feel we will jump ship when the economy recovers and decent jobs won't hire us because we don't have "relevant" experience. It is a joke Jack! Only in America can you be illegal or have a wrap sheet and get a job faster than a college graduate. Being in South Carolina only makes matters worse. We have an aloof governor who is not fit to run a state (after all, what has he done other than make an idiot of himself and the citizens of SC?) and people like Jim Demint that are against the Cash for Clunkers, it's no wonder SC is the laughing stock of the country. The American Dream is alive and well Jack...but only if you were able to make and save decent money before the crash. Us younger people are the ones who suffer. The American Dream for us Jack is simply to survive and hope for the best.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  26. Suzanne Thompson

    I think the American Dream has changed because now days people expect the dream to come true for them instead of working for it. What is the American Dream people won't work for? Decent health care not provided by the government, being a home owner, owning a nice vehicle, the right to retire from work, and anything else that you have seen an government sponcored program turn up for in the last 30 years. Starting back when programs like social security, medicare, and medicaid were created American's started looking to the government to provide the basics of life instead of working hard for what they wanted. Back in the 50's and 60's when my parents grew up none of these programs existed. My parents watched my grandparents work hard for everything they had. My parents have personally put together a large amount of retirement money, given each of thier 2 children $40,000.00 towards college, owned a home back in the 70's before the adjustable rate mortgage and people with low credit scores were able to have a home, they have never carried balances on thier credit cards, my dad supported his family for years while my mom stayed at home to raise the kids, my parents have always had 2 vehicles that were less than 10 years old and cost at least $20,000.00, and my dad's job always provided my family with heathcare that he paid for a portion of out of his paycheck every month. Mind you my dad was the son of 2 immigrants that came to this nation with nothing and the youngest of 9 children. These things that my parents had and have are the American Dream that so many people today legal and illegal just want handed to them. My parents taught me to work hard for my dream the same way they did without welfare or entitlement from the government. I have a nice home, a car, a harley davidson, disposable income, and good health care coverage. I do not have children and I am not married. Now days especially the younger generation, some of which include my friends, think all these things I worked hard for shoud be given to them or the government should assist them in getting them. People like myself who have worked so hard are getting sick of seeing others benefit and try to benefit from our hard work. The American Dream has changed because there are those of us who hate paying taxes and want to keep everything we worked for and those of us who just don't want to work at all, instead of a group of people working hard and achieving something without the government handing it to us.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  27. Harry - Bloomington IL

    The American dream isn't changing. We just have a government that through a mixture of good intentions and powermongering is doing its level best to make sure that as few people achieve the American dream as possible. You know what they say about the road to hell.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  28. lance

    The American dream use to be 2 cars in every garage, a white picket fence, 2.3 kids and a comfortable retirement. Now it's a clunker to trade in, a house that escapes foreclosure, kids that don't get shot in school and hopes that pensions are still around at retirement. A lot has has changed in 1 generation.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  29. adam

    phoenix, arizona

    how is the american dream changing?

    The dream used to be that you could forge your own way in this country if you worked hard at it.

    Now, its cash for clunkers....it's getting $8,000 to buy a house....

    What's next....government issued vouchers for milk, bread and anything else you might want or need....

    When is the government's credit card going to be maxed out????

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  30. Michael

    Well, Jack, the truth is that the dream isn't changing, and probably won't for a long time. What actually is changing is the likelihood of reaching that dream, and the prospects are not looking good.

    Maybe it is time, though, for the dream to change from one of self-indulgence to one of self-fulfillment, and from one of making money to one of making this nation a better place for everyone.

    -Michael from PA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  31. Russ in Johnston, IA

    Seems to be dying a slow death every day, Jack. Earlier this year when the cats in DC were running like chickens with no heads, trying to figure out just how much $$ they could raid the cookie jar for to prop up our arrogant, greedy masters on Wall St, I could not believe that our pathetic character-lacking Congress bacically whimpered that we have to be careful how we try to fix our economy, with talk of bringing back manufacturing to this country, because we are all intertwined in a 'global economy' now!!! Unbelieveable! Our govt tells us how we CAN'T fix our own economy because it will anger other countries, cause trade wars and affect others all around the globe! Now, DC just will not quit spending $$.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  32. William Webb Jr

    Well Jack im one of those people on Social Security that isnt going to see an increase in our benefits for the next 2 years.Thats just great we can give AIG i dont know how many billions how many was it anyway and people on SS arent going to get a cost of living increase it just goes to show you it doesnt matter if its a Dem or Republican in the White House the little guy keeps getting screwed and the bankers and brokers on Wall Street just keep on laughting all the way to the bailed out banks.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  33. Josh

    As a thirty-something, I feel like It's changing to: "Forget about retirement, how can I live long enough and well enough to work enough to survive?" That is, if there's any jobs left.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  34. Jim in Missouri

    It's totally changing. It's disappearing as far as what we once considered a promising future for those who worked hard and played by the rules.

    The rules were changed during the game, by those we trusted, and Horatio Alger died.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  35. Eric

    The American dream no longer belongs to Americans anymore. It belongs to corporations and government agencies. We have not owned the dream for some time now. It seems that every bit of legislation passed these days offers some corporation or agency a benefit or twelve and that the only cuts coming down the line are to programs that were set up to help the American people. Our values and dreams are being sapped by corporate greed and government misuse. We complain about illegal immigrants but refuse to set English as our offical language. We decry the of shipping jobs overseas but never have the nerve to boycott the corporation because the prices are unbeatable. We wonder how many American familes are starving or are turned out of doors but are still running infomercials about helping all those poor children overseas.

    It seems the general feeling of our country is that if you live here, you get what you deserve. Whether it is being laid-off, evicted, victimized by poorly set up banks/corporations/government agencies, or simply told that your ailments are no longer qualified to be paid for by the HMO you've given premiums to for decades before trying to cash in. We no longer care for our own. We allow our jobs to just fly away overseas without any fight. We mourn the plight of those in the third world, but what we fail to see is our slow decent into poverty much like their own. With 20 trillion in debt can we really claim to be a world power? With the billions we spend on fighting for the improvement of life on foreign soil while the quality of life on our own soil erodes can we even claim to be a sovereign nation any more? To me it seems that the American dream has fallen under foreclosure. Our hopes and dreams, the America the our parents/grandparents fought for in the World Wars, has been repossessed. And it wasn't even that we didn't see it coming, we just didn't really mind because the price was too good to beat.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  36. L.A. Mahoney

    The American Dream is not only dying, but may be dead before 2012. I think many people (myself included) voted for Obama because they wanted an end to the out of control spending, the wars, the job hemorrhaging – instead we get more of the same, much more of the same. Our country is dying. As a citizen, when it's time to vote, I'll try again and this time vote straight Republican regardless, even if it's a dog running. Whether or not that will do any good at all, I don't know. Eventually there will be civil unrest, and our own soldiers will have to decide whether or not to fire on their fellow citizens, if there are any American citizen soldiers left. I have tears in my eyes as I type this – to watch my country die.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  37. Beth


    Bring back all the troops from Iraq and Afganistan, give universal healthcare to everyone, secure the border with Mexico (send all who are not citizens back), increase tax rates for the rich where they were under Reagan, lower tax rates for businesses who manufacture in the States and increase tariffs for companies who outsource to the level it would cost them to manufacture at home.
    This would save some dollars.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  38. kyle evans in seattle

    "The dream of build,save,and own has been transformed into owe spend and rent.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  39. Chris J

    Actually I would disagree with you. The American dream hasn't changed, it is alive and in full force. So much of these programs and spending are related to people expecting their government to take care of them, rather than doing it themselves. It irritates me every time I pay my bills on time. Bring back common sense and you'll see a lot of these problems go away.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  40. Don

    The American Dream is alive and well, just look at the millions of hard workers still making a living even through tough times. Unfortunately the current government is making the dream more of a challenge to achieve. At the rate the we are going maybe the next few elections will really be about CHANGE!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  41. David

    I try not to dream anymore. I had a dream once, it turned into a nightmare.

    Now I am working at a company who's M.O. seems to be "We can make you do anything we want. Do anything we want to you. What are you going to do? Quit??"

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  42. Troy

    there isn't a dream anymore since we have to pay for all the illegal alien health care and trillions of dollars of debt for Obama's trips to every country on the planet. welcome to debtville usa population unknown due to the constant influx of illegal's

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |

    if your young and have a job you are ok not good but the dreams can come true, but if you young and don't have a job you it don't look good, but if your near retirement, your in a heap of hurt, no one is going to hire you for a good job, thats what happen to me. your dreams are gone, and your job will be at wal-mart

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  44. Alan

    The American Dream is slowly becoming the American Daydream, followed by a time period where an American Nightmare is realized. We need to turn this around. – Alan from Manchester, NH

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  45. Katiec Pekin, IL

    You fail to mention that these crisises materialized over the last
    eight years. You fail to mention there is progress and "miracles"
    will not happen overnight.
    Your doom and gloom and indicating our present administration
    is responsible for everything fits right in with the republicans.
    What has happened to you??

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  46. Matt Ogonowski

    From East Lansing, Michigan

    The American dream used to be all about material goods: how much "stuff" you can get. Once we're all forced into poverty as we try to pay off our nation's 14 digit debt, we'll get back to what is actually important: the family and relationships with others.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  47. Bill Duncan

    From: Rochester, MN

    America is not changing...it has changed. We don't manufacture much of anything anymore. "Made In America" was once a highly desired label on products sold all over the world. I am very concerned about the future of our country. We are at the mercy of lobists and the politicians they buy. Only when the people at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue put the National interest first and not their own re-elections, will we beging to turn the ship around. I think it will take revolution number 2 to get that accomplished!
    Keep up the fire, Jack!
    Bill in Rochester, MN

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  48. Carlos Garcia

    Starting with high school, you now MUST attend college and MUST graduate with at least a 4 year degree to have a slim chance at finding a career you like. Hopefully you can, then have an opportunity at receiving a loan to buy a home. Unfortunately, your credit must be immaculate (which many college graduates are not, due to limited years with credit). So this either means renting for many years or living back at home with your parents, who hopefully still have their jobs and home.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  49. Mike MIller

    I have a question. How can Medicare and Social Security be unfunded??? I have made payments into Social Security all of my working life and Medicare since it began.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  50. James Williams

    The American Dream is dead. It passed away in a wash of red ink and greed and government uncaring. Big and small business signed its death warrant with its greed and with the shipping of our jobs overseas to make a quick profit. Only those of us living a day to day, paycheck to paycheck life saw this coming. We have bemoaned this fact for year's, but we kept electing the same people who helped put us there. We kept buying from business's who took our jobs overseas, in essence condoning the practice. We get mad when we call a Help Center and can't understand what is said because its overseas, but we stand mute.

    We as a people and our nation will be forever changed by this, not for the good. We will not come out of this stronger. We only need to look at what is taking place now. Big finance, sucking up every bit of government aid they can while telling us how they don't need our help. Good people being thrown out of their homes by these same Banks due to the lose of jobs caused by them. Our government showing only concern for Big Finance, screw the small person. Traders running up oil prices for a quick profit while everyone else suffers. Politician's doing not what is right but what they believe will further there political future.

    Yes, friend the "American Dream is Dead", god rest its soul.......

    August 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  51. Alex Dunn

    No longer is the American Dream a picket fenced suburbia coated with success and prosperity, but a chance to mow the lawns of those people, now upper class, for the extra buck.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  52. Gary Johnson

    For the very first time I worry about where I will retire, not which state but which country. Same with my children who will be forced to pay back the dept we just keep piling up on our young people. These thoughts have never crossed my mind prior to Jan 2009, now I think about them everyday.
    Garry from NJ

    August 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  53. francine

    becasue the government no longer is on the side of the american people and the american dream. Nothing is made in america any longer. when i was growing up everything was made in amercia. owing a home was a privalage not a right but in this day and age everyone got tremendous homes they could not afford because the brokers and banks made a fortune. Businesses have been greedy for years and they get the bailouts. where i live in nassau county the money all these poiticians make and they are not doing the right thing. the government just keeps taxing and taxing to try and make up for all the money they overspend. government does not want to make cuts if it affect them, but if it hurst the middle class people they go along with that.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  54. Michael J

    "Of the people, by the people, for the people" has been kidnapped by, "Of the Corporation, by the Corporation, for the Corporation". Eight years of free market capitalism showed us that the only ones who prosper under a market free-for-all are the top 2-3%, who can bend the laws and system to their benefit. The American Dream was always an unsustainable pipe dream based on a sense of entitlement by all of us as Americans and fostered by those who were laughing and prospering as we saved little and spent beyond our dreams – ex: Subprime Loans. Young married couples should start out in apartments, not houses; college kids should be driving Civics, not Mercedes. I back up your assertion that there's always money for war or a corporate bailout, but never money for Social Security or health care. And the common masses out there are buying the Sarah Palin/Neo-Conservative propaganda machine out of nothing more than fear and ignorance that a thread of socialism woven into our system equates to "Communism"!. It's time for our President to use the same forceful, fear-based rhetoric as the Republicans to bring about real change. Being patient and soft spoken doesn't work in this simplistic country, this NASCAR nation. Time to get pissed and fight fire with fire!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  55. Richard Hull

    The American dream has become the american nightmare for all working and recently out of work citizens.

    As the government cooks the books on unemployment figures to avoid the magic 10% figure signaling a depression, and prints money like grocery store coupons, the savings of what few thrifty Americans there were are scheduled to be wiped out in what will certainly be run-away inflation due to a flood of money in the system that was never backed by any viable U.S. product or finished good.

    The American dream is crumbling as governmental programs that are already in trouble are about to see a myriad of baby brothers and sisters born to compete for the non-extant money required to feed them. Programs upon programs to act as a morale boosting, temporary band-aid on an arterial bleed out.

    The stimulus has only stimulated the bleed-out as jobs continued to be lost as banks were the only enitities saved and made flush and happy again. Wall street crashed, but picked itself up and is fiddling just fine as Rome burns around it.

    We are watching an American nightmare that has come home to roost. We have witnessed the American people finally emulate American business and spend massive amounts that they didn't have.

    It appears that there was never any real money driving anything for many years. Credit was extended ad infinitum as the presentation of accounts receivable became colateral for extending more loans.

    We are the victims of our own failed economics and spend thrift mannerisms so much in the vogue for many long years.

    The real question is not "How is the American dream changing?", but can we suck it up enough and suffer privation enough to survive as Americans at all.

    It is time to stop the American dreaming and role up our sleeves and stop paying people who will not join society in a positive way anything just because they are breathing.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  56. Donald in CA

    The Bush administration got us in a mess. They concentrated so much on Iraq that they took their eyes off the ball at home. It will get better, but we will never see the glory days again.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  57. Barbara, Los Angeles

    Didn't conservative economists assure us that globalization was a good thing, and that outsourcing manufacturing and the software business to cheap Third World countries would reduce our costs and give us a better standard of living?

    Unfortunately, they forgot that every consumer who was buying cheap (and poorly made) trinkets from China was also a wage earner, and when wage earners lose their jobs because of globalization or end up making less money, they can't afford to buy those cheap trinkets anymore.

    And the whole house of cards collapses.

    But it's OK. The conservative economists tell us that if we just retrain for jobs in... something... we'll have jobs that can't be outsourced and we'll make plenty of money again. Of course, I've never heard them say WHAT we should retrain for.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  58. DataElf

    Jack –

    The American dream is changing. No longer will we have the luxury of knowing our children, and our children's children will have a standard of living greater than our own. It costs more and more everyday just to survive. Yet, our government is more focused on looking good and putting on a good show that solving actual problems. We need a government that knows how to balance its own checkbook before they go mess with ours!

    Where is the stimulus for the people who work hard just to get by? Banks are bailed out, something like $30,000 per taxpayer just for that part of the "stimulus". What would have happened if we had given the $30,000 per taxpayer to the taxpayers? I bet you would have seen some economic stimulus.

    By the time Obama is done, we might have healthcare that is as good as now, good banks, but no jobs, and no hope. Where is this hope he promised?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  59. Christine

    The American Dream used to be owning a home,having a steady income and a nice retirement fund.

    Now I think that the American Dream has become just having a roof over your head and being able to provide the basic necessities for your family.

    I used to joke that I will be working unitl the day I die. Now that doesn't seem like such a joke anymore.

    Port Richey, FL

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  60. Bill Wayne

    The American dream is over! Our future generations have been laiden with a debt that will lead to the end of the United States as we know. The native American issues which have yet to be mentioned by anyone in your business is also an albatros around the neck of the United States and will add add to the demise of our great country.

    We need to turn it around now if we wish to survive!

    Bill wayne
    Seneca Falls, NY

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  61. John

    The middle class is virtually gone, and that was the population that believed in the American Dream. Foreclosures are not the American Dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  62. Chris Gemoules

    Just as in the 1800's Great Britain was the dominant world power, the US will not be THE world power in 2100. We will become the same as the majority of the rest of the world where there are 3% of haves and 97% of have-nots', just concern with survival. Just Google "Shift Happens" and watch the video. The current administration and congress have just pressed the fast forward button for our future with their spending. See you in the bread line, if there even is a bread line.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  63. Daryl Stockton

    If you are hoping for socialism you are in the right place. I didn't like the previous administration, but this Congress and President are out to destroy the America that most Americans, at least most I talk to, want back. An America with moral values, sensible government (which means small and unobtrusive government), a sound defense, low taxes, and complete adherence to the Constitution, not a constant attempt to rewrite it to suit a special interest group, ethnic group, or some other socio-economic group.
    In other words a governemt that gets out of my life and stays out.

    Fairfax, VA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  64. Jeff of Peoria

    The American Dream has changed so all teh UNDER-ACHIEVERS get everything that HARD-WORKING Americans do.

    You don't have to work hard anymore – Just cry a lot and somebody in governement will take care of you.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  65. Michael

    Two years ago I was making 80k per year. I owned a home, new car, and vacationed regularly. That job is gone and is replace with a new American dream.......Can I survive until next month? It's more like a nightmare.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  66. Nick

    I think the american dream is changing because Americans my age (20's, early 30's) have completely destroyed the term "Wants & Needs". Instead of needing food, shelter, and clothing; its needs top of the line clothing, the best car, and a house I cant afford because the government says its Ok. Look at FHA loans; one of the reasons we got into this mess is because my generation bought homes with no money down and couldnt afford. Now the goverment tells everyone to take out an FHA loan with no money down. We need to realize that we need to save money and buy conservatively to catch up, not put everyone in more debt by telling them to buy more to supposedly help the economy.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  67. Karl D. Siemer

    As Tom Friedman put it, "The American Dream is an aspiration, not an entitlement."

    Maybe it 's time for us to wake up and get to work again.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  68. mike vanyo

    jack the american dream was aborted when greed became the sole cause of survival.its pretty much as simple as that.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  69. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Apparantly the American dream has changed from our personal living standards and community to the whims of foreign trade, banking and Wallstreet. The American dream was supposed to be about how we chose to live. Americans have a CHOICE! People in the rest of the world didn't have a choice. We can be whatever we want to be. The poor believe that they are just as good as the rich. And, the rich (in Santa Fe) will pay top dollar to live in houses made of mud, with weeds growing uncut in the yard along a gravel drive. Only in America, Jack!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  70. Don Nelson


    The Dream has become one huge, black hole. We can not understand it, the world I grew up in has changed so much, I don't even recognize it. It is my fear, that unless the "people" take up the fight and actually take to the streets, stop paying taxes, let the government seize our undervalued homes, toss me in overcrowded jails we can not afford, and take back our federal and state governments from powerful interest groups, health care won't matter, cause we will be a bankrupt nation, my fear is we already may be.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  71. Lawrence Rinaldo Jr.

    The American dream is over; the very thing that made this country great no longer exists.
    Globalization destroyed America

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  72. Bob

    Soon we will all be living in small mud huts like in Afganastan. The bankers and wall street have sucked us dry. They get richer as we get poorer. Hyperinflation here we come! The tree of liberty needs water.
    Enough is enough!! Military members remember your oath "I will defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC"

    –US Afgan War VET–

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  73. NanC

    The American Dream, as we've come to generally define it, probably no longer exists. If it does, it's so far down the road that it's going to skip at least one generation completey. I think we have to stop seeing ourselves as some kind of privileged society and realize that the United States' time has come and gone. Success is for the aggressive strugglers, which our forefathers once were. That distinction now goes to the Chinese and Indians, among others, but these two will be the emerging wealthy nations. It's our turn to go the way of European nations, once great, who became complacent and let others, such as the U.S., surpass them. Can we turn this around? Only if we stop kidding ourselves that we are the "ultimate" society. Time to get back to actually creating things instead of just consuming them. We must be humble, or we will be humbled.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  74. Steve Abney

    The American dream is changing into a nightmare!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  75. Sue

    We Americans are BIG DREAMERS, mortgage-free home, two decent cars in the garage, kids go to college and enough money to enjoy life. Now those dreams are what they are- just dreams. While we were dreaming, our thieving politicians stole our country from us by encouraging globalization of our economy, free-trade agreements that favor other countries and not our own workers, while we were too busy dreaming, the thieving politicians converted us into a service economy that is not sustainable with jobs paying $7-8 an hour with no benefits. We are not yet out of the Dream Stage of Sleep, for if we were and really woke up from these dreams, every politician in the land would be applying at WalMart for those $8 jobs! I just pray our children's dreams do not turn into nightmares.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  76. Karen Rowe

    Let's see...
    A government that is owned by corporate interest and answers only to it...
    Govt' officials who receive free health care along with their families but feel that average citizens are undeserving as such...
    Media that glamorizes ignorance in public officials...
    Banks that get bailouts that return to the same risky strategies that created our current financial mess, meanwhile small business people are grasping for life and are unable to receive loans or lines of credit...
    The only people that are cherished in our society any more are not great thinkers but vacuous celebrities...
    Time to unplug the TV, the internet, the cellphones...
    Encourage the sciences in our schools and reward those whose creative ideas may save our planet from the ecological destruction...
    Unfortunately the death of common sense has come and gone, we no longer can have a political discussion that does not invoke anger and violence...
    We need to repair the shattered dream of America by first being able to have a civil discussion and I do not know if that is possible...

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  77. Michael

    It was the "American Dream" that helped get us there. People spending beyond their means, the "American Dream" is a corporate generated fantasy world made to funnel wealth in one direction. So many Americans base their success on the accumulation of materialistic objects, but the lie is that you will never get there because it pays to keep you searching. Hopefully, the economic disaster our country faces, will change the "American Dream" to something more cerebral, althought I have my doubts that it's possible.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  78. Gordon L.

    You are so on target, and I couldn't have said it any better.

    Frankly, it scares the hell out of us. We are about to retire but even that looks impossible at this point due to the losses in our retirement funds.
    It sure feels like the Federal Government is the school yard bully demanding our lunch money for all kinds of programs, stimulus, cap and trade, with no guarantee of protection or ROI, and absolutely no defined plans for most of it. How stupid do they think we are???

    It is painfully clear that the "We the people" have no say or voice to what happens to us .It is all falling on the deaf ears of the Dems and GOP alike who guard their cushy jobs like pit bulls with a steak. Oh yeah, Pit bulls with private jets. . . .

    They tell us to get ourselves out of debt and not live on credit which can lead to bankruptcy. When did that idea ever change just because it is on a much much grandeur scale between us and China.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Please keep being a voice for us out here. . . . . .there are millions and millions who think the same way.


    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  79. David Piller

    That's easy. It's now a nightmare; and looking to a centralized sociaist government to fix things will only make it worse.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  80. Brendan (Fort Myers, FL)

    The funding of the American dream has become future generation's nightmare. With Washington continuing to spend worse than drunken sailors and with entitlements going broke. I believe that going forward the American dream will still include homeownership but living with as little consumer debt as possible, saving for our own retirement and hoping that illness never hits so that medical bills will wipeout what will take a lifetime to accumulate. Viva la revolution!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  81. John, Fort Collins,CO

    When I went to sleep on the night of January 20,2009, I dreamed the new president and majority congress would soon be changing America for the better. Now, seven months later, it all remains just a dream. We are still fighting two wars with no end in sight, we still have no plan on how to keep Social Security and Medicare afloat, and we continue to bleed jobs - so where is all that change we voted for? I think the time has come for President Obama to take charge, pull the curtain on congress, and quit wasting political capital on healthcare reform we can't afford. This isn't about a call at 3:00 AM; this is about a necessary call to 911.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  82. joe

    And your supprised! The Liberals running the WH and Congress have taken us (and generations to come) down the proverbial drain. Cafferty, now you have the nerve to act supprised and outraged at the financial predictiment we are in. I wonder how things would be if congress and the rest of our elected officials got the same "benifits" as we do instead of their sweatheart deals. You asked when does the revolution start? soon I hope.
    Princeton, NJ

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  83. Steve Canada

    The American dream seems to have been to live in the biggest, eat the best, drive the best and possess the best toys..The only addition to this will be that you will now be expected to PAY for it now...Interesting concept....

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  84. Alan S.

    Pittston | Pennsylvania


    It used to be that if you worked hard and believed in yourself and your country, you could do anything you wanted.

    Now, people are working harder then ever just to maintain the status quo and they're slowly but surely failing at that.

    The American Dream is on life support and we're all praying no one trips over the plug.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  85. David

    This is not something we can just put a Band-Aid on. The Obama administration is conducting major surgery on this country, working to fix the real issues most politicians wouldn't risk. The american dream is not changing, just broadening.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  86. Gregory G Wied Jr - Baytown, Tx

    There no doubt about it that healthcare isn't the only thing in need of reform. We need to start trimming the fat, and start creating incentives for business to start moving back to the states. We are quickly moving out of the industrial age, as is very apparent, and we need to start moving into the high-tech age, bringing the technology business into the fray as the U.S. powerhouse, just like it is in Asia. The green energy is a great step, but we need factory workers building televisions, engineers designing them, and we need all of those employees out there purchasing these products for their homes. Reform our business model, and you've got a nation that's back on track.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  87. Jonathan - New York

    For me the new American dream is seeing the day when spending $1.50 on a cup of coffee in the morning is no longer a major financial decision for me

    August 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  88. Arthur Taylor

    As far as I'm concerned, the American dream is gone for middle America.

    I have 5 kids. Three would like to go to college. I can't avoid it, and there are no jobs out there that will allow them to pay for it. I worked construction back in the late 70's/early 80's and paid for mine. Where I live (southeastern Wisconsin) most manufacturing jobs are gone, and the ones that do exist do not pay high enough to live off of, let alone pay for a 4 year degree. Even if they took out loans (which would add up into the $60K-$80K range), where are the jobs that will allow them to pay off the loans, and live at the same time? Add to that the high cost of housing, cars, medical, etc and I see no real hope for the future of families that are not already well-off.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  89. Josh, Atlanta, GA

    The Dream has really become a reality...not sure what the the dream was in the begining...was it to have things you could not afford or pay for?

    For a lot of us we really resent paying for someone elses dreams...I lived in a house I could afford, drove a smaller and cheaper car that I could have bought, work for 25 years and paid taxes on probably every dime, saved, and general lived well below my means....now I have lost my job, am living off savings, the hard earned investments in my IRA are worth about the same as they were 10 years ago, and our government is handing out money like candy...

    How is it changing....there will be fewer and fewer living this percieved false dream...and quite frankly I really don't care. Many people that have been thrown out of their nice homes should have never lived their in the first place....but they did it for as long as the rest of us could sustain them...and now I am paying the same price in investment loses....and I didn't even get to enjoy a few years of the high life.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  90. Deb Davis

    America the greatest country on earth is in a prolonged period of mourning. We are so vulnerable. We have lost our real heros and witness our children to settle for so much less then the American Dream. Until we stop idolizing fame and fortune and performers, and stop allowing an "everything/anything goes" mentality and start re-establishing God, Home, and Country, I fear we will be the cause of our own demise. We must set societal examples for our children and our selves and step up and say "No" to the liberal minorities. Thank God for those who are rallying at the Town Halls. I wish they had shown that kind of courage before the last election, but it is not to late to take back our right to the dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  91. Jimmy from KY

    Jack, before anyone starts dreaming, we need to take away the 'national checkbook' from Obama. It seems as if our government hasn't learned the lessons that many of our citizens has learned of the last year about the dangers of spending more than you take in. If we keep it up at this rate, in 20 yrs we will all be speaking chinese.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  92. Roberta

    The dream has not been lost; we have only lost the naïveté that clouded our parent’s and grandparent’s ability to face reality. We must still hope for and strive for the best for ourselves and our children; without hope we may as well give up for then we have lost everything. It is hope that encourages us to find diplomatic resolutions for our conflicts in lieu of fighting wars in which no one ever truly wins. It is hope that helps us fight cancer, diabetes, aids, and other banes of humanity. It is hope that propels us toward the stars and other miraculous discoveries. It is our faith in God and acceptance of His love that allow us to dream greater dreams than ever before in history. It is our dreams and hope that keeps us alive.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  93. Pamela

    can we impeach obama yet? I'm probably one of the most bi-partisan voters out there...I voted for Kerry in 04 and McCain in 08, I didn't vote for Obama based on the sole reason that I don't trust someone that was in the Senate office for about a year abstained from many votes and just up and ran for the Presidency, the problem is yes i know he's commander & chief of our armed forces and represents the U.S. Government as a whole, but where is his experience in foreign affairs, or military at all for that matter?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  94. David

    College tuition has become almost out of reach, and if we borrow the money we will spend a big percentage of our adulthood paying off the debt.
    My 401K is in the tank, pensions were canceled long ago.

    My daughter had surgery on her wrist and we were charged over $1,000 for less than 3 hours in a tiny recovery room watching her sleep. Overall cost for the surgery over $7,000. Of course insurance doesn't over all of it because they consider the charges crazy too.

    When I pay my mortgage, 95% goes to the bank.

    Gas prices just about killed us last year and we know they will continue to go back up soon. A new car can cost over $30,000.

    We pay over 25% to taxes before we even receive our paycheck.

    American dream??? It was gone a few years back. It started in the 70's with jobs moving over seas and continues to disappear. I can't even talk about the deficit... At this point, I can even imagine ever retiring. What happen to the America I grew up with? It's gone....
    David, Westfield, Indiana

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  95. Darryl D. Smith

    The American Dream has gone from being attainable to impossible. Who can afford a house these days, and the subsequent mortgage? Who can get a car if they didn't have a clunker? Most Americans are in debt. I'm guessing debt is the new American Dream.

    Darryl D. Smith
    Monroe, LA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  96. Sylvain, Laval, QC

    The mathematics of profit have simply taken over and soon enough, we'll realize life itself is an illusion of wealth for more reasons than we can always work for... freedom (or personal liberties, in fact) has its inherent cost, success or property might even become splendid results and yet, such dreams aren't exclusively american after all.
    It's not changing - it's adapting to continual variables and perpetual ambitions. Society is barely afloat while the individual is drowned between inflation & economic bubbles.
    Place your marbles, luck sometimes is a simple matter of living within your means.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  97. Jose Jimenez, MHHA

    The american dream only happens when you are sleeping, because it is no longer the american dream that we used to know, perhaps now it's called the China dream since China is now the super -power of all and very soon it will own USA, so be realistic and get ready to start living the and cdraming about the china dream !

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  98. Adam


    With the amount of debt owed to China wouldn't it make more sense for our children to learn Chinese in school in lieu of Spanish/French?

    Past that what good advice could we possibly have for our children? Get a government job working customs on imported Chinese goods. That, healthcare and corrections...those are the future jobs of the youth of today.

    We have trade deficits with pretty much everyone else on planet Earth, we are hopelessly in debt with 4 billion dollars of national debt being tacked on per day and as you mentioned many good paying jobs are being outsourced.

    Does anyone see any indicators that things are going to get better?

    I do not.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  99. Nika, from Arizona

    Jack, our American dream has faded to the point that we are going to be living and working overseas for the next two to four years. And, the jobs will be as teachers, earning more than we ever could earn in the United States, with free housing and healthcare offered as benefits as well.

    It is a shame, really, that after raising our family we are forced to move halfway round the world in order to earn a decent enough income to pay our bills!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  100. Linda Riegle


    It is no coincidence that our collective pulling away from God has brought our nation to this current social and economic crisis.
    Until we collectively repent and acknowledge Him we will see no reprieve, solutions or improvement.

    Ripon, Wisconsin

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  101. Jon

    The dream has changed to seeing what you can get from the government.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  102. John

    The American Dream is dead. America is full of lazy, glutunous people who do not want to work. The lazy masses think they are entitled to everything that hard working Americans earned and our government officials now getting elected by pandering to the lazy by giving free handouts.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  103. Susanna White

    WHAT dream? Are you kidding....I am scared to think about the future in the United Staes ... dreams are out of the question

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  104. Kristi

    This is the same Government who can run healthcare more efficiently that a private company???

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  105. RPV

    Social Security is meant to SUPPLEMENT your retirement anyway, so grandma and grandpa can't buy any shiny new toys for the next couple of years, who cares.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  106. Mike

    The American dream is dying before our eyes. All the current regime can do is blame the former for all the country's ills. This mess has taken decades to accumulate with blame due all around. What is needed now is a decrease in government and spending. The revenue side is not growing yet BO wants to add to that $ 20,000,000,000,000 debt again with this government run health care initiative. When will the people finally quit defending either political party and run them out. This is insane, and especially shameful to turn our backs on the senior population.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  107. Mark Briggs

    Corporate America = Modern Day Slavery

    You have to pay to play. It isn't about quality but quantity and not quantity of products produced but quantity of profit that is the new american dream. The dream where there is more management than workers. The dream where you don't have to work to make money. It is an addictive Trend!

    Enough severe the ties between Corporations and Government. They are elected officials by the people for the people, NOT the minority who can give them lots of money.

    This isn't a recession its much much worse. Stagnation times 10.

    Invest in the middleclass with a bailout paid back through taxes. Lower taxes on corporations who invest in innovation and production here on American soil. Tax the hell out of those who don't. Let them leave, shoot provide them with a boat.

    Stop building China and other countries, Stop the huge payouts to other countries, Stop the Growth of Federal Government and invest in the State who will invest int the local. Invest in Schools and make College more appealing to those who can't afford to go.

    We cannot help others if we can't help ourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe a little common sense?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  108. Courtney

    I think a big part of the problem is that the American Dream changed in the 80's under Reagan. The dream was no longer one of belonging to a broad and prosperous middle class with subsequent generations achieving incremental but significant improvements in living standards. The dream was wealth. MIddle class voters became convinced that they hads more in common with the wealthy than the poor. Given the cultural shift, it is no wonder we eventually ended up here with a greater gap between rich and poor and a disappearing middle class. Now, there is no American dream as most folks see little hope that the next generation will have it better.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  109. Patrick from McDonough, GA

    Oh Jack, the hypocrisy! Even since the NAFTA trade agreement it seemed that we sold this country to China; although we owed them money but at the same time, we are shipping our entire industrial jobs over to them as well. Tell me; what is wrong with this picture? I think Obama has inherited a real mess…

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  110. Mike Martin

    the dream is changing...government regulations and leftist environmentalists, not common sense environmentalists like myself, are destroying our ability to produce, to build, to incentivize workers and companies to make this country great again. We need dams, nuclear power, reasonable drilling and a gutting of entitlements to people who should be working. When I grew up in California, it was the land of opportunity. Now my beloved state is a joke and primarily controlled by Dems for a long time...as California goes so goes the Union. San Juan Capistrano

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  111. David R.

    You bet the American Dream has changed....into the American Nightmare. I am a 30 year old attorney married to a public school teacher. We live in the NYC area and can barley survive on our incomes. Between student loan debt, cost of living increases, our mortgage, etc., our generation will truly be the first generation worse off than the previous generation. HEY OBAMA, BAIL ME OUT!!!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  112. Joseph Emperly


    This is the government you and everyone else voted for and you are surprised at the results?! We cannot throw all the blame on Congress because the private sector (labor unions) literally priced themselves out of the US market forcing businesses to out source abroad. And with illegal immigrants flooding the country everyday and literally getting free health care and you are still surprised and the predicament that we are in today; WAKE UP!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  113. Graham Jura, St. Joseph, MO

    It is changing from the credit-based, assumed "right" is has been for the last decade back into the savings-based, hard-earned "privilege" it rightfully should be. It is also going to be more difficult to attain than ever before, and there are going to be A LOT of Americans who will soon realize that there chances of getting it are just that: A dream.

    Graham Jura
    St. Joseph, MO

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  114. Larry So Cali

    The Neo-con phoney war was meant to use up funds for "Social programs" It's Called The "Debt Trap Strategy". This has been the tactic from King Reagan but put into hyper drive with the Bush Reign. Most people don't understand this. This is a tactic that is understood to be "economic Warfare" against the midle class and working poor Americans...It has not been understood and realized by the Mentally challenged Followers of the neo-con ideals. The decline of society will allow more people to realize what happened while sleeping and pounding there chests that "They are the real Americans" The one's who demonized social health.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  115. Michael Koenen

    I hate to tell you this but the American dream changed a long time ago. Bush made it worst, much worst actually, but even before him people of my generation (I just turned 40 last month) needed much more education just to be able to have the same things my parents had without a college education. And they needed more education to just have what their parents had. If you can believe it, my grandfather worked for the road department and my grandmother was a housewife. They had a huge house in Bergen County, NJ on an acre of land. There's no way a road department worker and a housewife could afford that today. Manhattan, NYC used to be a place for creative artists. They can no longer afford to live their now. The American dream has changed.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  116. Jason

    I'm sorry, but the "American Dream" hasn't existed for years.

    Retirement, Home, Kids. Pick two, the government gets the third.

    The government's spending health is basically a reflection of everything else in this country. Instant gratification, use of rediculous consumer purchases to "make us happy", and we have a government run by people who last I knew couldn't manage their own profitable companies.

    One need only look back to the House Bank scandal from 1992 to get a good idea of how well the people we have elected in the past manage their own money when given the chance to game the system without penalty.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  117. Phil in San Diego

    Apparently, this was the CHANGE the Obama promised.
    More government, more debt.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  118. JM South Brunswick, NJ

    The US is gradually receeding from a superpower, first world status, and morphing gradually to second (formerly eastern Europe) or third world status. Eventually the dollar will lose most of its value. Europe, in concert with Russia, and China (with its Asian neighbors) will become the power players internationally. People will still have some quality of life, and successes, but it will take place against that back drop.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  119. Meg

    You have some nerve equating Obama's policies with Bush. Obama did not give money to AIG and all the rest, BUSH DID. He had to clean up Bushes mess, plus he has not spend most of the 350 billion he was give to him to bailout banks, unlike Bush who spent it in a heart beat. I am soooooooooooooooooo tired of the Media Republican RUN (and I do mean run, your not fooling anyone by saying the media is liberal) blaming Obama for the Economy, put the blame where it lies, the Republican party and Bush. Remember the summer of 2001, when Bush returned $300 to everyone? When he lowered taxes, and said the economy would have a huge surplus by 2010, which he even repeated in 2003 after he took us to war? Now look at the economy. My memory is not that short, unlike yours. The bad economic policies of the republican party created this mess, get out of Obama's way and let him clean it up. Stop being a sore loser. Sincerely and independent voter.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  120. bilge12-Wiscasset Maine

    the american dream is over thanks to the politians, lawyers and government.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  121. brad in austin

    I think calling the politicians that started this mess elitists. I think if you will look to the past years from 2000 forward you will see tons of wasteful spending on a war that was a lie. You will see a surplus quickly squandered to make the "select few" of the past administration much wealthier. You can call it whatever you want, but it's the truth, face it, and let's dig our way out again. It can be done, but everyone has to do their fair share. Social Security should however, be the one thing that is never touched as there are many people who only have that one check per month in order to make it. They worked hard and they deserve a little!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  122. Paul

    Just maybe this is what has happened to the roman empire. Got a little big for its britches and in turn disolved itself. I am thinking maybe we need another Boston Tea party to let our government know we will not tolerate this behavior . Tea anybody?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  123. Chris

    We need Obama to hit the pork hard. Even from Republicans that can make bacon like everyone else. We need out of both wars and a cut in defense spending.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  124. george

    Well Jack it is no longer a nightmare that keeps me awake at night with Bush, and his party in control. Now I guess a better question is what did they have control over, certainly none of their own party. Now that they raped our citizenry for 8 years we find our selves digging back out again just as we did whan the other Bush was in control. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there is certainly more than a pattern here, and if we haven't wised up enough in the last 8 years then we deserve everything that we get. The Republicans lost in a landslide, but still think that they are in charge. Guess it takes a while for it to sink in. The party of "NO" is NO-MO !!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  125. Katie E

    The American Dream has become less of a dream. It's more of a dire hope that we we'll at least make it to the end of the week. Being a recent graduate from University I come to realize what horrible timing my graduating class has. We are forced off our parents insurance only to find ourselves knee deep in start up fees and riddiculous charges for the mere fact that we're not 25 yet.
    I have two jobs currently but my hours have been cut so much that I only work one day a week. I feel unemployed all over again.
    The American dream once that pie in the sky, head in the clouds, wish that one day we'll get a house kids and a car; now becomes the dire need for at least 20 hours of work a week to make enough to meet rent and utilities.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  126. RJW

    What American Dream do you speak of? That "Dream" is all but gone for the backbone of this Country. All the while our so called "Elected Officials" can not seem to grasp any thing other than taking what they can get for 'Themselves" and handing us the bill. Whether Democrat or Republican they all refuse to work together for a common goal other than themselves. We need to rock the boat and get things going again, out with all the lies and protection of Politicians and Corporate America, no more segregation of crimes white collar vs. blue collar, treat them all the same.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  127. Beverley, Fredericksburg Va


    The American Dream is extinct. A fond memory of days gone by when we actually slept! Nowadays we get so little sleep. It's the kids, our 24 hr scheduled jobs, or worrying that we don't have jobs. We drink too much "Red Bull" or Starbucks. We watch too much TV or spend too much time on the internet. This County needs to seriously unplug and reboot.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  128. jack markowitz

    It wasn't the airplanes that killed The Dream; T'was GREED that killed the Beast!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  129. Jeannie Shepard

    I had dreamed of retiring at age 65 next year and traveling but my 401K has shrunk too much to even think about retiring any time soon. In addition, I had planned to have my home paid for so I could use the equity in a reverse mortgage to supplement my social security and enjoy traveling in retirement but I had to take out an equity mortgage and push my mortgage out 30 years to replace my 17 year old car and afford home maintenance on my 20 year old home. I am one of the lucky ones that still have a job, but this is the second year of no salary increase and all overtime has been eliminated. I can't afford to buy groceries for half the month due to inflation and the reduction in income. This is not the American Dream I grew up with.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  130. Ruth in Ohio

    Does this mean we can ask for aid for this country since we have rebuilt cities for other countries and given aid to other countries....is it our turn?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  131. Josh

    The American dream is alive and well. I think some people are just remembering the part that was forgotten: You have to work hard to achieve the dream. America is the land of opportunity, not the land of free stuff.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  132. Mike

    Jack it's no longer called "The American Dream".
    It's "Obama's dream for America", which is becoming more and more a nightmare for Americans.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  133. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, NY

    Why aren't our elected officials setting any examples ? They are in session, at best for 120 days a year, enjoy public subsidies for office, meal, and travel expenses, overseas trips to such global hotspots like Fiji and the French Riveria, and qualify for all inclusive healthcare for life after only four years in office.
    This is a classic case of do what I say, not what I do.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  134. Ed Knowlton


    The American Dream is long gone. America is a broken country, consumed by insatiable greed, served by venal, self-serving poseurs.

    The tax cuts for the wealthy that started with Reagan and reached their peak with Bush on 2001, coupled with a government that is comprised of people who are part of the wealthy class, together with companies that have been shipping jobs overseas, .and taken with the insane compensation levels given to CEOs who have, but for a few, destroyed their companies and affected the lives of thousands of employees and countless communities, have served to trash a once great nation.

    I read about one CEO who made $34 million last year... I thought to myself, "one guy, $34 million... or 340 people each making $100,000 a year? 340 people...making six figures! "

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  135. Bill

    What's the American dream becoming? A nightmare.
    I'm off to write scripts in Hollywood now.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  136. Frank Beckstein

    The dream hasn't changed – but the attitudes of the dreamers have. One hundred years ago, people with nothing dreamed of a basic home, a steady job, and some measure of security. They fought two World Wars to make the dream come true, and it did. Fifty years ago, their children dreamed of bigger houses, high paying jobs, and complete security. They fought a war that turned out to be a waste of lives, and learned to make money without creating anything of value. Their dreams also came true. And now we face new dreams – universal health care with no defined method to pay for it, staggering deficits with no reduction plan, wholesale government "stimulus" spending with no coordinated plan to create jobs or new business or new technology, remote control wars, and McMansions at bargain prices due to mortgage defaults – the dreams of those who want, and expect, a free ride. Where are the real dreamers? Where are those who dream of revived productivity by innovation and hard work? Or of a renewed moral code to combat a culture sliding toward the abyss? We are capable of solving our problems, but we need someone to LEAD – not to preach or promise vague policies of "change". We need leaders with vision and purpose, and committed to action, not poll results. The American Dream has always required hard work to make it real – and we cannot accept poitical leaders with no more substance than Bernie Madoff.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  137. carolyn

    It is turning into a nightmare and I want to wake up! Now!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  138. London

    The American Dream? It is what it is Jack... Just at dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  139. Fed up in the Midwest

    What American Dream? Two "clunkers" in every garage? That dream ends today. A chicken in every pot? Looks more like another non-meat meal today.

    Unemployment here is 18%. Just keeping my head down, and hoping management's eyes stop on someone else is my current dream. Just let me ease through another week of feeding my family, that's my dream.

    Its great that our President and elected officials get nice, relaxing vacations. My family gets a day trip here or a there, but hopefully no overnight expenses. Instead we stay at home and fix things, so that if we need to ever sell the house, at least it will be in good shape.

    Say, I have an idea. Why doesn't Mr. Messiah stay home and fix our country, because it looks to me like we are already selling it to the Chinese on the layaway plan.

    We need to reduce the size of our government, stop spending money on new programs and fix our existing programs. Do not creat a new public medical plan to add another bohemoth budget breaker. Just fix the problems with medical insurance and runway medical costs.

    We need to turn our revenue shortfalls around by spending less and collecting more. But we don't need to raise taxes to collect more. Reducing taxes has shown time and again to increase revenues by stimulating the economy. If you want to raise new taxes apply them to activities dedrimental to ones health, like smoking and drinking.

    Getting this country turned around and working again. That's my American Dream. I just hope its not a pipe dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  140. MT

    The American Dream is now the nightmare that so many countries around the world are stuck in: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Iraq, Mexico, and the list goes on and on and on and on. Don't ask American citizens where the American Dream went... ask the IMF, The World Bank, The World Trade Organization, and any disciple of Milton Friedmann where it all went. Trust me, they know...

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  141. jason

    what american dream? Its been an American nightmare since the Carter years.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  142. Mike

    This country has been playing politics as usual for the last 40 yrs. No real direction on energy (no change in cafe std, no research in renewable sources, etc.), No change in healthcare, No change in social funding (social security, etc.). We have been putting off all of these hard decisions and it it time to pay for it. The problem is they still do not want to make these hard decisions. The american dream has changed for all of in the middle income bracket years ago we just try to get by or stay even. I see some politicians on both sides of teh isle I think really care but they get lost in all of the politica as usual of all the rest. I think the new american dream is just frustration.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  143. Angele Lacayo

    'How is the American dream changing' you ask? Plain and simple, it has now become a nightmare! The 'dream' is over!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  144. Don Paul


    Our national debt is atrocious, but it can be easily paid off in a matter of years if we only become serious. Simple:
    Simply change the estate tax exemption to $750,000 with taxes of 35% on net estate values in excess of $2M and 65% on those of net values in excess of $5M.
    Also increase the federal income taxes to 90% on net adjusted incomes in excess of $1M annually with no deferred compensation allowed.
    Place a cap on incomes of people receiving Social Security benefits whereby individuals with net adjusted incomes in excess of $60,000 and couples with net adjusted annual incomes in excess of $90,000 will not be eligible to receive either Social Security retirement income or disability income.

    Don Paul

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  145. Frank Campanaro, Port Orange, Florida

    The American Dream has turned into a nightmare. There are no jobs. Large corporations are using cheap, foreign labor. There is very little hope for the American worker. We are just a country of CEOs, bankers, and the homeless rate is on the rise.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  146. Geri - Mead, Ok

    Before the recession the United States had total assets of 60 trillion dollars with an actuarial debt of 65 trillion dollars. Over the last two years our total assets have plummeted to 30 trillion dollars but our actuarial debt remains at 65 trillion dollars. The American dream of consumer accumulation is turning into the American nightmare of a third world debt ridden nation with federal, state, and local governments stumbling all over themselves trying to find ways to increase revenue.

    A case in point: Grand Jct., CO. Property values have decreased by around 15% but everyone got a higher assessment on their property. One property valued at todays appraised price is $116, 000 but the value assessed for the property by the county is $159,000. The county's excuse is that your property will sell for more when you go to sell it.

    The state of Colorado is closing the state home for impaired children and adults and sending them into group homes, thereby laying off several hundred people. Those who are collecting pensions from the state of Colorado have been put on notice that as of January 2010 they will begin receiving decreased benefits due to bad investments made by the state.

    And speaking of the industrial base in this country almost being non-existent, did you know that when the corporations began to ship jobs overseas, not one study had been done as to how this action would affect the United States labor force or economy as a whole. The big shots can't get any dumber than that can they?

    Geri – Mead, OK

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  147. stuart

    The problem we have is that everyone asks what they are going to be given, or how the government will solve their problems, and the government seems to be happy to oblige. What happened to wanting to provide for yourself and only seeking help as a last resort. Since when was it the governments responsibility to provide us with everything, health care, food, money when we can't or don't want to work, higher education. Maybe if people would actually work to provide this for themselves we wouldn't be faced with this problem. But then again why do for yourself when someone else (Government) will do, or is eager to do for you. This isn't how you teach a child...and this certainly isn't how you run a nation. Provide for those who can't not those who won't, grow up america!!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  148. Derek (Sacramento, CA)

    Corporate America and rampant greed is destroying this country, and will continue to do so unless there are substantial changes made. My son is in high school, and as soon as he's done with college I'm outta here and I'll live with that "horrid socialism" somewhere else. What a pity.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  149. mike

    from fort worth, texas, You watch jack, when january 2010 rolls around while social security recipients don't get a raise , we will see another $4,700 automatic raise for the democrats and republicans in congress just like every year. I find it disgusting we are still spending billions in 2 different illegal wars in iraq and afghanistan but we can't afford healthcare for all americans. I'm not the only one that finds something wrong with this picture.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  150. Linda in Arizona

    Dreams die. People wake up. This is the day of reckoning. It didn't happen overnight.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  151. Steven Seaman

    There is no dream. I have tried to start a small business by tapping the money given to banks, what a joke! I asked for 175k, that;s it with 25k to add to it, but you would have thought I asked for 175 million they way they acted. So now I can llive the American nightmare, much less a dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  152. mary

    Finally someone is telling us the truth. Thank you.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  153. Erik Lane

    It's taken us nearly 200 years to break what Adam Smith envisioned as a better way to run our business. The unintended consequences of developing capitalism have ultimately rendered us overqualified and too expensive to build what we need or moreso want. Unless or until a dramatic shift in the mechanism of business takes shape, there will be a tidal shift of economic resources that will lead towards global parity in the end. Of course, a war or two could change all that too.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  154. Robert Mosby

    The American dream is a set of false values our society has embraced over the years. We are told to buckle down and work hard to buy houses and cars save for retirement so that we can have a comfortable life in our old age.

    But retirement is not going to be a reality. We, the smaller, younger generations can not provide a retirement for the baby-boomers and we're becoming more disillusioned with the American dream every day as the cost of housing and transportation rise and our potential incomes shrink. The system we've used for decades to provide an easy life for ourselves is collapsing under the weight of the real world.

    Sooner or later we will have to come to terms with reality and accept that there will be no retirement, and we are going to have to work harder for less pay. That's a tough pill to swallow, but it has to happen.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |

    Fiat currency. Isn't all money worthless anyway since America abandoned the gold standard? How far will interests in fiat currencies fall when all debts get called in, unless the mints print up more and more worthless banknotes? It's all been a lie, when people can't tell which is more valuable: a bucket of water or a bucket of diamonds. Try drinking diamonds when you're thirsty.

    One of the nice things about dying will be knowing the huge mess we're leaving behind for our progenies!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  156. Gary H. Boyd

    In years gone by Americans viewed the future with optimism. Today, it is viewed with pessimism. This basic change results from a loss of confidence in the nations leadership over many decades. and, more recently, the incredible debt being heaped upon future generations appears insurmountable. The bounce has gone out of the step and, for many, Armageddon is now in view.

    Gary H. Boyd, 8533 E. Via de Viva, Scottsdale, Arizona

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  157. Steve Kooker

    Why not federally fund every hospital for a free public clinic as part of their emergency room, using a predetermined limit set by the feds for each population center? If you come in without insurance, you go to that emergency room / clinic. Make doctors, nurses, and staff there immune from civil suits, but still resposible to their peers. You get as much care as the clinic can afford. Over in the regular emergency room and hospital,the insured folks get whatever their insurance provides.

    For anyone with insurance now, no difference.

    For the uninsured, they are cared for, with limits (no "right" to unlimited care).

    Costs are contained. Taxpayers and insured people will have less to squawk about. No new federal bureucracy to speak of. Insured people won't drop their insurance, because they want the better care level. Uninsured people will be grateful to have some care in a pinch.
    Uninsured folks can get some prentative care to head off major problems. Decisions about care of the uninsured will be made by very informed local doctors. Staff can be paid less, because they won't need a gazillion dollars worth of liablility insurance. Hospitals can shift less cost to insured patients to cover the uninsured. Insurance costs will then go down. Implementation of this could be a short-term thing.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  158. James in Boston

    The american dream is no longer work hard and prosper. It's now dont work, and let your neighbor who does, and pay 40% in taxes pay your way.

    What happens when all these cars are repo'd, because those who bought what they couldnt afford can't make payments, just like the housing crisis?

    I tell you one thing. It won't be Barney Frank's fault.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  159. confused in MA

    The American dream is still obtainable, it's just been shattered by the AIG and the Government and the rich as they get richer. The illegal aliens that are here are draining our system and then taking the money back to their home lands. Our government has allowed this, not the people who are trying to pay their bills and keep their jobs, we are the ones that will end up with nothing due to tax increases, but the fat cats in the government positions never lose their jobs, now do they? It will indeed take a revolution of the people to make some higher ups be more accountable with all of our money. Politics, politics, politics and they call this the land of the free, I call it tax hell.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  160. Jim in Michigan


    The American Dream is becoming the American Nightmare, in large part driven by increasing healthcare costs. It doesn't matter, Republican, Democrat or Independent: no one can get the deficit under control until we do healthcare reform. Those opposed to reform are playing politics with the future of our country.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  161. John Dillon

    It's become a nightmare, not a dream. Nobody in control and no thought to perpetuating the American set of values and hope.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  162. Dare, Nigeria

    What dream is left for the Americans to achieve, Obama got the last one remaining. During Obama's campign, he said ' I w'd seek justices possessing "compassion" and "empathy." Compassion and empathy? I think prolong wars with islamic fundamentalist nation is eroding the ideals of a civilised nation like US. What is the next dream for the US?, walk side by side with Taliban.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  163. Joel from Cherry Hill, NJ

    "The American dream" hasn't changed at all, Jack. Two words have turned that "dream" into reality: Charge it!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  164. Twinsburger

    Same old story: The rich continue to get richer, while the poor pay for it. Don't forget that the Bush administration spent billions of dollars every month for 8 years to fund the bogus war in Iraq, so that Halliburton (Cheney's company) could continue to rake in mega-profits.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  165. JW

    Everyone voted for change and this it. There is no American Dream, it is called Redistribution of the Wealth.Our children are going to be forced to spend three months of their life to be reintroduced to what it means to be a American(aka) brainwashing. We let black panthers with guns intimidate voters and they are not prosecuted. We have forty four czars for what? We have a president that wants to have a civilian army that is stronger than our military and for what? Our children are in debt forever. There is no dream, it has been taken away in the past six months. We need to be good little workers now and let the government tell us just how much we can dream about.because we are too stupid to take care of ourselves, just keep giving our money to the government now and let hem take care of it.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  166. cy

    America has changed. Corporations kill off small businesses and family farms. That makes it harder to earn a living independent of huge institutions. The car companies hated the way shade tree mechanics did their own work and designed cars that prevented that. These sorts of things have made Americans less self-reliant. Instead of paying for a reliable product or service you can trust, we are victims of monopolies and bureaucracies that are totally unresponsive. Steel and oil used to drive the American economy. Now, lies and fine print prop up cheaters and swindlers. Contracts are binding on me, but not the companies that make me sign them if I want cell phones or other services. And the Congress largely belongs to the cheaters and swindlers instead of the people. There is nothing dreamy about a people reduced to slavery by debt. We have the least responsive "democracy" in the Western world. cy, arlington, va

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  167. JDJ

    The American dream....is now a myth. It should be called "The American Nightmare". Our culture has reached a pinnacle of greed and corruption.

    No great power in history has been able to sustain their military might without economic backing. Our government, our corporations, & a large portion of our consumers are all guilty of greed. We are not living within our means.

    Politicians on both side of the aisle have failed to address this downward spiral, and will continue to stand idle. Finger pointing and ideological posturing do nothing but waste time.

    Many Americans continue to believe we are "the greatest country in the world" as they blindly ignore a little thing called reality. They will cast stones at each other, at opposing political parties, & at other cultures around the world.

    Meanwhile, the titanic is slowly sinking into the abyss. Denial, blame, and inaction will only accelerate this trend.

    "God Bless America" land of the "leveraged".

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  168. Christie Abraham

    There is no American Dream anymore Jack. When I heard about the Social Security issue this morning I immediately sent emails to the President and the representatives for my state (Arizona). Fat lot of good that will do. You are so right. We have put so much money into other "things" that Social Security and Medicare are going to suffer. I am now over 60 and will be utilizing these services soon. I wonder now if there will be anything left. Talk about a letdown. Or should I say meltdown.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  169. Cordy

    It have not changed its just deferred. I am 28 and starting my own business and if healthcare reform passes I will quit my full time job, and work on my business full-time. I am still dreaming Jack. A dream deferred is still a dream. Love the show Jack and Wofle

    Cordy Atlanta, GA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  170. David Burnham

    The only way we are going to save America is to fire ALL the idiots that we have in Washington. They seem to be more interested in what is good for them instead of what is good for our Country. They have allowed the lobbyist and special interest groups run our country and all they are interested in making more money. Why can't we make the number of the House of Representatives 100? Two per state the same as the Senate. We don't need that many of them along with all the staff that goes along with them. Why can't We the People demand that our Congress work for us instead of the lobbyist? We should be able to fire them. When they spend the tax payers money on personal trips or personal items, that doesn't do you or I any good. Also why can't the Congress stop paying for the illegal immigrants in our Country that cost every taxpayer billions of dollars every year and we have nothing to show for it except for more debt. Can you imagine how great our Country would be if the money that was wasted in Washington was spent on rebuilding our Country? Why can't we get the American People to march in Washington and DEMAND the our Government work for us? I for one am tired of watching our Government waste our money. The second is we have to stop abusing the English language. From the President to reporters to everyday people have to stop saying me and whomever when it should be whomever and I. We have become a Country of ME. I have sent emails and letters to our Congress and the President to no avail. All I get in response is the same old rhetoric that means absolutely nothing.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  171. Jay from MD

    Hi Jack,

    That's easy.

    Thirty years of GOP deregulation and corporatism have created an oligarchy that has crushed the middle class. With big business and special interests dictating our direction, the ship is completely off course with no map and no navigation to get back on course.

    So the American dream... is now simply the American Nightmare.

    Jay from MD

    August 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  172. Warren Seifert

    I'm 45, happily married with 12 and 14 yr olds and live in NY. I don't expect to get anything from social security other than perhaps a monthly check to pay my cable TV bill (and that won't even include HBO). The dream for those of thus who have homes is how can we hold on to them, and how can we fund our kids education to keep up with the global bar which has been raised intellectually? Allowing the melting pot to continue to accept new ingredients just wont work anymore.The stew that's been created is so bitter now that upheaval could be on the horizon. Our kids will spend their lives paying for Chinese loans. What politician is going to help? Is it possible that giving social security disability benefits to members of our society who contributed very little if anything to the system might not be wise, or that allowing the Chinese dictatorship to limit their markets during the time when free trade globally was trumpeted? I'd like to hire an independent actuary to calculate the true cost of providing many of the governmental benefits (pensions/health care) to various state and local agency workers actual will be in the coming years (NY is a prime offender). It is just not feasible for shrinking tax bases to pay these costs - so the American dream has been further impacted by state and local governments extravagant spending policies. In NY our governor is legally blind not only in his personal life, but also toward his responsibiltieis to the taxpayers of this once great state!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  173. Mike from Springfield

    The problem is that everyone thinks that the government is some big free money machine, there to provide us all with freebies paid for with "other peoples taxes". We need to return to the original American work ethic: Money comes from hard work, and you only deserve as much as you earn. Scrap Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, and all of the other social programs. If you are not smart enough to work hard and save wisely, then you get what you deserve. I do not plan on Social Security being there when I retire. I put 15% into my 401K every paycheck, plus more into a ROTH. I also have two seperate pension plans. Why should I, or my children, have to pay more for other peoples short sightedness?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  174. Deborah in Blue Springs, MO

    Jack, at this point the American dream is about being financially solvent into retirement. Gone are the dreams of fame and fortune... gone are the dreams of creating a legacy for our children and grandchildren. In the 21st century, the American dream is "keep your lips above the waterline".

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  175. Annie, Atlanta

    It's getting into nightmare territory. Apparently for right wing lunatics the dream is for the rich to become obscenely rich on their dime and mine. Mine is to eat, keep a roof over my head, and get medical care when needed. But even that dream is starting to slip away.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  176. mark n az

    Little wonder that several people that I know who are self-employed aren't paying their taxes. Why throw your hard-earned money down a rathole?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  177. Will from Sunrise, Florida

    Well, if things don't get better soon, the "American Dream" will be to get out of America.

    At this point we might be better off being a colony to the world superpower again. We better start teaching Japanese in our schools just in case.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  178. David

    Liberty, MO

    The American dream is changing to one where we need to start looking to everyone else's things. Currencies in other nations will be stable, goods from their production becomes the norm, and we hope we can keep ourselves afloat by being the sales people for the production of others.
    Things need to change quick. We need to stop worrying about giving people and businesses false stimulus, health care, homes, cars, and the like and start worrying about giving people jobs so they can afford those things for themselves.
    That's the America I knew, and it looks like it will be gone in a matter of years.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  179. Jeremy, South Carolina

    American Dream? Why don't you ask all the imigrants who getting all our jobs? It just shows how the government only cares about the rich and how much money they can stick into there pockets. Sometimes I feel like the victom of a vampire attack, as the government sucks me dry. Dream? what dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  180. Paul

    Like so many social critics have stated before, Americans have become way too prosperous for their own good. For too long borrowing has been perceived as a means of driving the economy and as anyone can attest with their own personal finances, that thinking will catch up to you at some point. I think Americans are facing a more modest future, and there isn't anything wrong with having ones priorities reset. It may even prove to be a good thing in the long run.

    As my beloved George Carlin once coined, 'It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.'

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  181. Kathy

    The American dream is gone, people just cant make it any more. Gone Gone Gone and Washington just dont care. Washington should be Gone Gone Gone. Get new blood in there. Stop outsourcing our jobs.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  182. Darryl E.

    The American Dream has been called that for a reason, buying a home, ect... has always involved going into debt and now we are paying for it, welcome to the American Reality.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  183. Fed-up

    Unless we stop over-population then we will run out of food & resources in the next 40 years or less. We all can't have 6-8 kids like idiots Kate & John & Octomom. Let's have quality of life, not quantity.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  184. Chris

    Social security needs to change. When it started the life expectancy was 65. Now seniors (need it or not) are collecting sometimes longer than they worked. We need to implement an income and means test. If you need social security then you get it, but if you have your own money you must spend it first or live on your resources before the government steps in. Isn't this alleged promise (that they made to themselves and now we are being forced to keep) that senior won't live in poverty, not that all seniors get a check and medical care FOREVER at the country's expense even if they have the means to support themselves. Just one example of this insanity is that Ruth Madoff collects social security!!! She has at least 2.5 million (per her settlement with prosecutors) and the government sends her a check. aren't we are tired of being robbed by seniors. Let's take care of those who need it but not those who can support themselves. I know the argument is that these greedy seniors are a minority. Well minority or not if they don't need the money we can put it to better use helping those who do.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  185. jim

    The american dream will always change. We live in a land of total freedom to be creative as we can to survive & do well. We need to educate ourselves on how to do better as our immigrant parents did. They are the ones that had the hard time. This is an adventerous time. Adapt. Go for it.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |

    The American Dream was voted out for "CHANGE YOU CAN COUNT ON" and has become the American Nightmare, with no hope for the OLD DREAMs return! One must always understand that the Grass isn't always greener on the other political parties lawn & you get what you vote for sometimes with alot of excess baggage.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  187. Joe Speak

    Greed, greed and more greed. A great Greek Philosopher once said, " the sign of the end of a great democracy is when there is a mass rush by the elite to steal whatever assets are left before the inevitable fall".

    Watch and enjoy there is very little you can do and it is not worth getting sick over. Let's just hope we don't end up with a dictator or some sort of facsist regime to replace a once noble idea of "We the people". Live, laugh and love.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  188. Chris Bertison

    There will be no Social Security COLA for TWO years, because some genius decided that there hasn't been inflation. I wonder where they shop for food, or get their prescriptions filled!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  189. Tracy

    The dream is changing allright... Used to be, the measure of success was to get a good job, maybe buy a house and give your kids an education better than the one you had....

    Then the dream became.... Get 3 loans, buy up rental property and kick your confused-ignored-undereducated (probably video game or worse addicted) kid out by his 18th birthday if you hadn't already gotten rid of him with your 1st wife.

    Now the greatest thing you can become in America is a political pundit who makes a living freaking out the dumb-assed masses with constant doom&gloom complaining without ever suggesting that our problems are our own or giving a single hint of any real solution....
    Maybe a depression is exactly what we need to straighten us out and remember what is important.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  190. Thomas Happ

    We switched from big houses, big SUVs, and big corporations to a big government. We don't seem to be very good at doing anything in moderation.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  191. Scott S.

    The "American Dream" has always been what one makes of it, not a distinct attainable goal. Unfortunately, many look toward it without a sense of realism as well. Too many end up like the title character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, who strive for what they want, spend like there’s no tomorrow in pursuit and to make it seem as if they are happy, while at the same time slowly spiraling downward.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  192. george

    The American Dream was coming true when Clinton left W a budget surplus, and we were at peace. W dropped the Mid-East peace process, gave his rich friends huge tax breaks, and then started an unnecessary war in Iraq.

    The next eight years were a nightmare. Obama is the start of the re-building of the American Dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  193. Bob

    How is the American dream changing?.... they've moved it to Elm Street!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  194. James, Brooklyn-NY

    Buy what you can afford
    Eat for quality and not for quantity
    Stop complaining and get to work
    Teach your children how to save not how to spend recklessly

    Opt out needs Vs wants
    Plan ahead because time goes so fast
    Try not to stress too much for nothing
    Insist on living your life for your love ones
    Open up your senses for creativity
    Never try to keep up with the Joneses
    Still know that know that nothing is impossible in America.

    I am immigrant (citizen of course) I still believe in the american dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  195. dody

    The American Dream was to own a home and be able to spend time with family. I lost my job and home. All I wanted was the American Dream and woke up one morning and it was gone. Now I have the poor mans American Dream. My moderate home is gone. And to top it all off when we went to school and hammer into our heads to save 401, IRA and retirment all gone in the blind of an eye.
    Thanks to the government of the United States. Oh I forgot they still have their high paying jobs.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  196. truth

    What I find crazy is that this debt is all of sudden just come along. Like america hasn't know for years that we were in debts for the last eight years. Last time I check clinton gave us a surplus and I believe Bush left the Mess. And lastly everyone expect Obama to fix it or he is a nazi trying to take over america. Get a grip people. Greed and ignorance is what got us into to this mess. Greed of the elite and ignorance of the average citizen to not take out time and pay attention to the laws and how money is being spent. Wars cost money. Question Do you feel safer after this war. Or do you fill the Dread that coming from the overspending of the Bush administration. Oh wait...bush spending and war was all obama fault too.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  197. Eric in Houston, Texas

    The American Dream is changing into simply being taken care of by the government and not have to work hard for a living and make responsible decisions. I bought a house I could afford and I ended up bailing out people who couldn't pay their mortgages. I bought a fuel efficient car on my own, and now my taxes are paying people to get the same car for much less. I hate this government.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  198. Sarah

    Guess what.... the great majority of us have not been getting cost of living adjustments, and if we do, they are more than eaten up by our increased cost of health insurance every year. It's a wash at best.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  199. Tom

    The American dream is changing by to many people wanting what they don't deserve. The youth of today when in the work place see someone whose been working for 20 years not get in trouble for showing up late or leaving early, and they feel that they should have the same slack applied to them. The work force is very diverse in big business we have people right out of college early 20's thru their 70's working in the same field. The youth want to graduate school, skip work, and retire... is this because school is to hard or demanding that to much stress is put on them? or is it because we are raising a lazy generations of people who have no motivation to work or desire to improve the world around us unless it affects their comfort zones.

    Another issue we are having is with people ages 29-39 that generation is the most stuck up, rude, and inconsiderate generation the US has ever seen.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  200. zack

    What do we honestly expect? Everyone wants the government to give them everything. While demanding these services no one questions or even thinks about how it will be paid for. Now our government stands on the brink of insolvency and our country on the brink of economic collapse under the burden of such a crushing national debt. The only way out will be draconian cuts in spending and tax increases. Soon we’ll be so far in debt our economy won’t even be able to service the interest on the debt, never mind actually paying it down. If you are under age 45, don’t ever expect to collect Social Security or receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits. They will have long been gone by the time you retire. That is if we are even lucky enough to see our government still standing.
    We as citizens have the ability to live beyond our means via borrowing; but only for a short while. Then we feel the pain of those poor life choices. Why should we as a collective presume our government is any different?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  201. Elizabeth, Clarksville, Tennessee

    The American dream does not need to change, the circumstances that are changing our reality need to be altered. It will be a long road away from a global economy that is sucking the life out of us because of the debt to China, but we need to start making steps right away. Congress needs to wake up and pass some laws that would prohibit tax dollars being spent to aid and abet companies that choose to operate outside the United States. Congress and previous administrations have done some dumb things with the trade agreements and its time to re-negotiate. There is much to be done and its time Congress got off their vacation and started doing something. God help and bless this nation, we need it more than in any time in history.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  202. Shawn Moriarty from La Honda CA

    Jack: The "American Dream" was created and crafted by marketing companies working to get Americans buying things they could not really afford to "keep up with the Jones". And like many things in movies and advertising, they bear little resemblance to real life. We as a culture need to abandon our suspension of disbelief and re-craft the American Dream as one where we are able to satisfy our needs while at the same time protecting the right of future generations to meet their needs. We need to act as if the children of all species are important for all time. And, as always, People should not fear Government. Government should fear the people. When is the revolution indeed! I have a few tea bags here...

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  203. Pete

    The American Dream is now not to become a third world nation.. The American working man will soon be assembling Chinese cars for 50 cents an hour because of the greed of big business and the lack of government oversite.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  204. NTE

    We just need to quit letting the free market decide everything for us, some things are too imporatnt to allow ity all to be decided by a free for all. There has to be a plan and the priorities can't be set by what makes a profit only.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  205. Anna Jesse

    Our taxes, utilities, insurances, and banking and credit card fees have all risen. What bogus metric do those Washington fools use to measure COLAs for seniors? I can see it now – grandma and grandpa in line at the local food bank. Elected officials should all keep in mind that senior vote.

    Nanticoke, PA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  206. jil

    the American Dream has become the American Nightmare. It is very worrisome for people on limited incomes and health issues. jil

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  207. Kyle Bowman

    Jack, the way I see it, this country has been taught that as Americans we are entitled to any and all services in life. While it is a very noble desire to give everyone a house and everyone a car and everyone free health care and everyone free education and everyone free food; is it really a right? The much forgotten Constitution of the United States only guaranteed the right to the PURSUIT of happiness, not the right to OBTAINING happiness. Those that do not believe in handing out money and freebies to everyone are not cold and heartless; but rather understand the basics of economics 101....that in order to give you must have something to take from. We as a country no longer have anything to take from and therefore should not be giving anything out either.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  208. Dave Mellendorf

    The American dream has changed into a nightmare for many and seems to be headed for the most. It seems as if the people who are in charge of the destiny are so out of touch with the needs of most people that they can't even attempt to make prudent decisions. I can only hope that We The People can survive this mess.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  209. John K

    It's over.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  210. Scott

    At this point Jack the American Dream has become one of survival and hanging on to what we have rather than a vision of doing better than the previous generation.
    Los Angeles, CA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  211. Tom

    What American Dream? Im laid off again and becoming more disgusted every day. Todays American Dream is wondering where my next paycheck will come from if unemployment runs out and I still have no job. Keep up the good work Jack.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  212. Vince Carson City, Nevada


    Everybody seems to be ignoring the huge gorillas in the room.

    Iraq, Afghanistan and the insane defense budget.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  213. JIm

    The American Dream is what you make of it. Does it mean a Corvette in every garage NO, but there are still lots of oppertunities out there if you get your lazy butt off the couch and go out and find them. I have no use for the nay sayers who cry out "Woe is me" and "My life sucks. You life is what you make of it, not what government will give you,you get Life Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness notheing else.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  214. Judy

    The American dream is just that, a dream. Sometimes, if we play our cards right, and common sense prevails, the dream comes true. Usually, it does not. Living with less is what we should have been doing long ago, and stop whining and trying to pin it all on the government. The Bush years were the worst, but as I recall, a great many of the sleazy bank practices began taking place during the Clinton years, and escalated from there. In the 70's and 80's we were given tax breaks for all types of debt, so is it any wonder we behave the way we do?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  215. London

    How's the American Dream Changing? It is what it is Jack... Just a Dream.

    Orleans, LA

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  216. Nicholas

    Jack, the cola increases are based on an inflation index and it has not increased so that is why social security checks are not going up. When inflation does comes back, I am sure many senior citizens will appreciate a larger check.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  217. Steve

    The American Dream started to change when we as citizens sat quietly by and allowed a few multi trillion dollar tax cuts while we were engaged in two wars notwithstanding the quickly rising deficit our Country was in. The American Dream has changed as a result of the Government falling asleep at the switch when Wall Street; the medical Insurance companies and corporate America allowed greed to trump any and all American values and principles. Now we want to complain about COLA's or the lack thereof when we were told a decade ago that this day was coming???

    Wake Up America!!! Just because we refer to it as an American Dream does not mean that you sleep through mismanagement and greed happening before your vary eyes...

    Clifton, A

    August 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  218. Franco

    It's gone from people working hard to better themselves and their families, to people trying to take advantage of the system in an effort to get by without doign anything.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  219. bud -Georgia

    What american dream? it has always been materialism, accumulation, the more the merrier. C'mon – let's face it ! We americans are spoiled rotten cause we do not know the real value of things. Now we are waking up, after 8 years of horrible spending, unnecessary wars and a horrible recession! Wake up and smell the coffee. We are in the middle of a dream that when and if we wake up completely we will feel like being dumped in a deep cliff! Other nations are now much more ahead of us, but we americans are yet too stubborn to see the reality of our dreams ! Keep on dreaming the american lies through your own fantasized and unrealistic dreams !
    I feel sorry for Obama, cause he will try to solve the problem but we are way too much in a deep mess now – CHINA will own us soon ! and the yellow man will rule the world – Goodbye american drean, welcome chinese dream !!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  220. Tom

    The American dream has been slow changing for years mostly because congressional elites increasingly abdicate their responsibilities to worship at the heels of their self interest agendas in their on-going quest for power and money...be dammed the voters… except of course; for the ones they need to get re-elected.

    Also, our capitalist “experiment” is at risk under the weight of never ending litigation. Unfortunately, many of congressional members are attorneys…. has anyone read the health care bills? Can you understand it? “Prominent” legislators say they don’t have time to read it but…they support it in full! How can that be?

    No wonder many Americans feel (illegal immigrants too…another issue unresolved) it’s…everybody for them selves time especially when seeing the billions of dollars of graft and fraud congressional oversight committees discover…after the damage is done with little consequence. Government jobs are forever…. after all… legislated (by congressional members with legal education) employee protections almost guarantee job security.

    We have change all right. Remember Rome?

    Jacksonville, FL

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  221. Cowgirl

    Jack, please mention or talk about the MILLIONS of disabled people on social security and Medicare when you bring these topics up. I want to cry when people call them "entitlements" and want to get rid of them! Now no increase and I can't pay my medical bills or medicines now. We are a forgotten and ignored group who are often not treated with respect. Thank you

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  222. Alex

    Problem has always been that the "American Dream" is understood as a personal privilege. The American Dream should be a dream of a great nation that takes care of the poor, weak, and elderly. To teach the young, to provide opportunity for all within its bounderies. Instead the majority is always worried about how certain thing will effect them personally instead of looking at a whole. We did not get in the shape we are in because of Obama, or Bush, or any other President. We are a personally greedy nation that looks out for the "me". Great nations tumbled because the people on the bottom were not taken care off. Taking care of the poor, elderly, disabled, veterans, etc. is not socialism, it is Biblical. Let's increase taxes on all people for a few years, get rid of the debts, pay off our creditors, and begin living on a budget we can afford. Time for a REVOLUTION.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  223. Bill

    The American dream? It's become a nightmare. The dream was measured by a sense of prosperity for all. Our government has gotten way too big for it's and our own good. Whatever happened to a system of checks and balances? The only checks are the ones being written by us the American public and the only balance is the balance sheet that has us into the trillions with the deficit. To neglect the seniors of our land by putting the Social Security funds on hold all the while bailing out the greed at AIG and other companies is a disgrace. Congress seems to have forgotten who they work for...the PEOPLE. We're going broke in so many ways and I've never been more disappointed in our govenrment than now.

    Pawleys Island, SC

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  224. Larry

    I can still remember the loud voices in Denver CO for "change"
    All we have gotten is more the same, in larger amounts.
    "all" of the politicians are crooked. I have lost faith in America and our way of life.
    I am ready for the revolution. where do I sign up???

    August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  225. darrick nc

    jack, what american dream? only those who believe in it are the ones truly asleep. Wake up people stop dreaming and get real.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  226. Mary J. Russell

    We love your comments...Hope u & family r well...Now, because GREED was left unchecked and unregulated, which I guess is the side effect of capitalism, we r "up the creek"...I guess we honest, tax paying, middle-class workers were so busy trying to stay afloat we didn't see the problem coming or thought our government would protect us...blinders?? I support our President and think he can see the continuing BAD days ahead and is trying to help all citizens. At least if we all have affordable health care we can just wait it out...Just horrible...
    Mary J. Russell.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  227. Chad Smith

    Jack, I know you are a liberal and for you to take aim at a subject like this gives me new found respect for your opinions. If everyone looked inward the way you just have the American Dream would be alive and well instead of this new brick-in-the-wall, greater-good tax & spend mantra Obama was swept to office on. I am not a socialist, but my President is... and all he had to do was take the lead of his predecessor's final term.

    Can we once and for all declare that punishing success and rewarding failure leads to more failure? Can we have a government who gives us the strength to solve our own problems and not take all of our hard earned money and attempt to do our thinking for us? Socialism has failed everywhere. It's a bright shining lie, and for my household "Yes We Can" has always meant "I WIsh He Wouldn't"

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  228. Callaway

    I can't quite describe how it's changing now, but I will tell you how it's changed since 1776. Once, it was the American Dream for an individual to pursue whatever they wanted in life-to find satisfaction in their efforts to rise above wherever they came from. Now, the dream should be called "American Entitlement" instead. There is a purveying consciousness that an individual is entitled to an easy life and the government is responsible for giving it to them. Sadly, there are many politicians who either buy into this themselves or pander to those who believe in American Entitlement in order to further their political career.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  229. Beach

    Our Government should be shamed! Obama is taking vacations costing millions to the taxpayer and his administration wants to cut COLA for SSA recipients? They have embarrassed my Nation! Our troops are fighting for our way of life; why are we hell bent on destroying it?

    Joint Base Balad, Iraq

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  230. KC, Daytona Beach, FL

    I am employed in the admissions office at private university. Many freshmen could not come up with the additional funds to pay their tuition this Fall. Even juniors and seniors found themselves unable to finish their programs due to lack of loans, funding, and parents inability to cover costs due to layoffs. How does that all translate into the American Dream? That's all it is, a dream, something unattainable. Obama, enjoy your days in the sun while the rest of us wonder how long before we are homeless!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  231. Bob Kozlik

    Jack the American dream is GONE. It has been downsized to nothing in order to bring the nation toward the level of the majority of the world. I hope that the Globalists are happy!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  232. James

    The dream has changed. Long gone are the days when one adult could take care of the family. What a lot of people don't realize is the defecit our governemnt has created and the borrowing of all that money has sent the 'credit score' of our federal government to the toilet. What is that credit score? Our currency. This is not unlike your personal credit score. When you borrow two much and can't pay for anything, your financial value becomes worthless. Unfortunately for us, that result is a US Dollar that is worth a fraction of it once was. That is the true cause of why everything costs so much these days. And why a family needs two parents working full-time to chase the essentials. Compound this with less jobs available and we have what we have.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  233. Dale,,,IOWA

    I remember a few years back when the POTUS George w. Bush made the statement that he wanted us to become an ownership society well,, the rich owen it " we the people" serve it. Well come to the 21st. centruy,, everyone..

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  234. Christine

    Couldn't disagree more. The American Dream has grown from one of earning and saving for the good life, to one of expecting the good life to just be presented before you. Watch the rash of house hunter shows on TV. Everyone expects a big giant house with a master suite. Nobody saves to buy all their fancy toys, we just charge it on a credit card. America is still the place where anything is possible but I don't think people expect to have to work for it anymore.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  235. Bill Tanner

    I fear that America is loosing its heart and soul. Much of the political debate today has been reduced no nothing more than manipulation by politicians on both sides of the asiles either through threats or rewards. What suffers, then, is the loss of character that has so identified this great nation as a beacon of hope and the land of the free. And here's the rub...we have no one to blame but ourselves.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  236. Frank

    I hate to say this being a honorable vet and the father of a son in the service, but to be honest with you...there are no dreams... just government pick pocketing every penney I have and not being held liable for their actions. I am truthfully sorry that I voted for some of these thiefs.
    Respectfully Your's
    Frank Gallag

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  237. Ken in NC

    I awakened from a long deep sleep only to find "The American Dream" is a real nighmare. We have gotten lazy so we outsourced all our work. With no one working now we make no more money so now all that's left to make is babies. DANG, I'm to old for that. Now I fear Sarah Palin may find out and "PULL MY PLUG".

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  238. Ewen Galbraith

    I think that the dream is slowly dying. I believe that we (I am age 35) will be left on our own to sink or swim with no government programs or assistance. This will only increase the gap between the "have" and "have not". Hopefully this will not lead to any social unrest as has been the case in other countries.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  239. Jim San Antonio Texas

    With everything that seems to be happening we may need to grab our Bibles and rifles and head to Washington to clean out that Rat's Nest called congress. They can't seem to hear the American people. Maybe it is getting time for an old fashion necktie party. Maybe it is time to take our country back. . Maybe instead of Remember the Alamo our battle cry should be GET A ROPE! Signed Average American Citizen

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  240. Matt in Wis.

    Hopefully, the new dream is one of moderation and modest goals. For too many years our spending habits and our self opinions have surpassed our earning potentials or our job titles as we were told work hard and you'll eventually get the money and the job to pay for everything if you don't have that money right now. Well, that didn't turn out to be true for most folks. Plenty of us have gone to universities, only to not get jobs in our prestigious fields of study and instead be spokes in the wheels of big businesses that are only getting bigger. There is nothing wrong with that per se, unless you pin your value on the things you get and the degree your job title impresses your peers. We need to learn to be happier with less. The dream should and will be a great deal smaller. We need to be happy just to get on base, not hit a home run.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  241. RL

    Jack, give us a break. Let's drop the fear mongering about the lack of a projected COLA and leave that strategy to those on the far right/left. From what I have read, the lack of a projected COLA for the next two years is based on flat inflation statistics. The system was set up to work that way. Benefits are designed to keep up with inflation. If inflation is flat, then there is no COLA. This isn't an example of government stealing from our seniors to propr up Wall Street. Leave this type of half-truths to those on the far right/left who would rather scare than debate and solve our problems.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  242. TZ

    The american dream has shifted a great deal a few years ago i was thinking about where i want to buy a home now im thinking about how im going to feed myself. I blame obama 100% we were promised a great deal and it seems to be a lie almost nothing obama says comes true.He shifts his position always now he is on a luxury vacation after all his "hard work" to bad cnn wont cover this like they did with bush. When bush took a va-cay it was like look at this loser he on a va-cay while troops are dieing now when obama takes one its oh how yummy obama ice cream and look at the rich tradition of african americans on marthas vineyard it has another history with the middle of america. Its where the rich play and the "elite" eat scallops and lobster rolls and talk down to us. Keep living it up obama all good things come to an end.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  243. Michele

    There is not much of an American Dream left for most; only a hard reality of trying to survive from day to day.

    Cape Cod

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  244. Jeff in Minnesota

    We have sold our soul to the devil because people in the US do not have the guts to step up and do the right things and make the tough decisions. It is the age old issue of "do what you want as long as it does not affect me: syndrome. Unfortunately, the decisions affect everyone, so everyone is up in arms because they are affected. Social Security will be bankrupt in 20 years, probably less unless we make radical changes. We have known about this problem for at least 20 years and have done nothing to resolve it. However, we have done plenty to exacerbate it. People want health care changes, but no one seems willing to intelligently discuss how to realistically pay for it and what such care will realistically cover. Again, another problem that has existed for over a century, but has been pushed off. Everyone wants their cake and to eat it too. Well, guess what, you can't have everything.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  245. Mac Walters, Riverside, CA

    It's called the American "Dream" for a reason, Jack. Dreams aren't real; they are an illusion. The USA was destined to hit this wall as soon as we filled up the place from coast to coast and no longer had an empty land to exploit. Next stop: A burned-out planet. Good luck, kids.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  246. Lynda, Greenville NC

    My "american dream" isn't to be the best I can be, which I know I will be, but is now to be able to keep at least the majority of what I earn for my own family as a productive member of society, instead of being taxed through the nose to pay for welfare programs that perpetuate a culture of entitlement that seems to be growing by the minute in America.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  247. Tara from Jenkintown

    The American Dream has changed in the way workers now have to do not only their jobs but also the jobs of the people they used to work with who were not integral and have been pushed out of companies. The dream has changed because more education used to get a person more job opportunities for more money. Now, more education means your resume may be overlooked for someone with less education that is perceived to want less money.(Even though you would except less money even with more education). The dream has changed because in the old days only one parent had to work in order to have the family own a home and now we need at least two incomes. The bar has been raised for success of the dream and only those willing to work many jobs within the company they work for or many jobs in addition to their 9-5 will survive.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  248. Shirley Hodge

    The problem with the American dream is that is has always excluded too many Americans and allowed to few to accumulate the money and power creating a imbalance which, truth be told, is basically what has created the problems we face today. The American dream has become the American I got mine so to hell with anyone else philosophy that keeps the obvious solutions to today's problems from being dealt with.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  249. Mike in Oklahoma

    Why is it that our elders have to pay for this after they spent all their years building this country. The companies that are getting bailed out for irrational or frugal decisions shouldn't come before our parent or grandparents.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  250. Chuck

    To JWeiler–
    It's not us baby boomers who screwed things up. We tried to stop wars, turn our back on corporate greed, help the environment. It's this younger ngeneration who spend their time on cell phones, computers, have lousy music like rap, who know really nothing & don't want to work & won't serve their country. What a bunch of spoiled rotten kids we have produced! They deserve nothing.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  251. John in Massachusetts

    USA inc. – a wholly owned subsidiary by foreigners.

    Our media and education systems share the failures of our state and federal governments, by not properly engaging the electorate with valuable journalism and information instead of sensationalism.

    We need to support our families and our citizens. We need to save and buy American products.

    We need to vote out the incumbents, how many of our elected officials drove us into the S & L crisis 20 years ago and again into the current Wall street mess? We have an ineffective ruling class that is insulated and isolated, they are completely unaffected by the problems that we struggle with. A 2 party system works extremely well for those in power, they are only concerned with the ebb and flow of political power and influence between themselves. Our government is suppose to be “of the people” not of career politicians that don’t share our medical or social security system and the problems associated with them and our everyday lives. They create a system for themselves and then a different one for us, great work if you can get it. But you can’t because the power of incumbency and just 2 political parties ensures that the club remains exclusive. It could be worse, here in Massachusetts we really only have a single party system.

    Wake up America – How do you know an incumbent politician is lying ?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  252. Jan

    The American Dream of working for 50 years, raising your children, and looking forward to "retirement" and "the Golden Years" is nothing more than a "dream". To find yourself at the age of 68 having to find a part time job at minimum wage to supplement your social security and pension in order to survive is pathetic..doesn't anyone in Washington get it?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  253. Jim Crabtree

    The American dream is a thing of the past. There was a time when people came to this country to be Americans and accept this country as their home. It was built on values established by our fore fathers. Now people slip into country to take advantage of benefits of which they are not entitled. They don't want to give up their home country so we have diffferent groups wanting to change our country into the one they left. What's wrong with being an American and accept our way of life. You're only entitled to what you earn. If we kicked the 21 million people in this country illegally maybe social security,and medicare wouldn't be in the shape they are today. Want to make a change then put congress under social security and medicare then see how quick things change.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  254. John

    Wait a sec? Big Government isn't working? "Change"? We'll I'm ready for one!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  255. Greg, Ontario

    It's changing because Americans are starting to understand that they are not the omnipotent and glorious gift to the world that they use to think they were. If you are lucky they are seeing how they are being jerked around by the nose by the media.
    You guys like to report "Friday the White House said deficits would climb to $9 trillion over the next ten years bringing the total national debt to $20 trillion a decade from now....blah blah" But you neglect to report where you would be if that old fart and the GOP had been elected. Didn't he take a surplus from Clinton and change it into trillions of unnecessary debt? Why doesn't that get any air time?
    Never forget Jack it was your generation that started America down the slippery slope of deficit spending so get off your high horse and start helping fix the dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  256. Ron

    Changing – the American Dream is GONE in my opinion.

    My generation and those after me will work harder for less than our parents did! I know I do.

    I love reading about the money our government is dumping into our financial system which they call "Stimulus". Who really thinks this is working??? Has anyone seen employment raising? It might help keep a few people who are already employed in their job, or save a company who has already shown they can't survive on their own.

    The problem here is we do not produce anything of desire in this country any longer, for a long time really for that matter. We have become a technology driven society and production is heavily controlled by the Asian nations. Even Apple Inc. an American based company whos products seem to be flooding our society outsources mainly all of its electronic manufacturing accross seas.

    The Best part is we give billions of dollars to companies like AIG who have failed the basic principals of buisness by failing to stay profitable. Where in another company or companies that may be able to do a better job are not allowed access to the business that should free up by the failure of dying companies like AIG.

    Where are all the jobs suppose to come from that will help us get back on track when we support companies that have already shown they can not survive without government help. How does the Housing market rebound if there are no jobs for people to earn enough to afford the same.

    I don't just blame our govenment – it comes down to "US" the American people. We run the companies that are moving the jobs overseas, we outsource labor to other contries because they work for less money, we exploit the Wellfare, Social Security, and Medicare Systems for the easy money. It's the "American Way"

    So buy a lottery ticket – the new "American Dream"

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  257. Creative Developments

    The American Dream hasn’t changed. Let’s relax everybody. Every generation American ingenuity reboots our economy and propels us back to the top. We just need to figure out what is our next great accomplishment.

    I’m betting along with Obama that it is new energy. If America leads in this effort, the world will soon turn to us for their energy and not the middle east.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  258. Jim Nolan

    The American Dream hasn't ended. In fac, it's more of a dream now than it ever has been. You're dreaming for sure if you think anyone but the rich will survive the next ten years.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  259. Edward

    Over the last 40 years, politicans have not truly engaged in effective bipartisian discussions to address our present problems. They saw these problems coming decades ago and decided to put them off for some reason or another. Now, President Obama is attempting to address these issues (e.g., healthcare cost, poor performing schools, social security, & energy), but they could be too far out of control. Unfotunately, many politicans are still playing political games or acting like children, instead of stepping up to the plate to fix these issues. Americans have to truly look themselves in the mirror and make some sacrifices and changes to improve the conditions for our children and grandchildren. Help us God.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  260. Mac

    I am a 70 year od man on SS and never have i seen America that I knew gone so wrong. We can give millions of dollars to foriegn aid, AIG,General Motors and everyone else but we can't take care of Seniors. Congrees both dem and rep. suck to big interests. Mac

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  261. Arthur, Huntsville, Texas

    The American dream has not changed Jack. Capitalism has. Capitalism and the free market was supposed to have been the best system that would have changed the world. The US of A was its biggest champion and that gave rise to the American Dream. And for a while, Jack, it worked. But we did not factor in the "Greed" that would result out of capitalism and the inherent human nature. What you see now is the demise of "Capitalism", just like Communism or Socialism it is failing, and failing bad. So with its failure goes the American dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  262. Fran

    My American Dream is to keep my job so I have health coverage. I'd like to do something else, but what parent can risk it?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  263. Pat Croom

    I am disabled and have been for years. I have my degree in Business Management and I have not been able to work since getting my degree in 1990. I think it is a shame that our President and his croanies will not give the eldery and disabled a cost-of-living raise. I don't care how little it is. I am paying out each month $50 for my drug coverage, $98.40 for Medicare and $192 for my supplemental insurance. I hsve severe R/A and several other ailments; several joint replacements; 2 back surgeries; a total so far 31 surgeries and others to follow. Just how much does my little social security check cover?

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  264. Right Leaning Independent

    This is simple to understand. The elected folks in Washington are more concerned about taking care of their priorities rather than making decisions based on what is good for America. How can people that are supposed to be so smart not understand that you can not spend more than you take in? We should have term limits for these morons and we should have a balanced budget amendment that requires dollar in for dollar spent!! We already have seen what has happened to our banks, financial institutions and homeowners that outspent their income. And for those that whine about Bush's spending, we were screaming than too! Where were you? Were you ok with it? If so, you are part of the problem. If you were against his spending but you support Obama spending us into oblivion, than you are a hypocrite!!!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  265. Luke

    I don't think the American dream is changing. I think what has changed is that the sense of entitlement of many americans diminishes the value of the american dream.

    I propose the phrase american dream be officially changed to american lifestyle.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  266. Bill - St Louis MO

    The so-called American dream has lived it's course, the world is always evolving, in every conceivable way. As an author wrote a few years back, the world is a level playing field. Big assist going to the Internet, the fact that we are no longer the only one with nuclear weapons (remember when the military goal was "deterrence? And it worked, true?) People need to accept the reality(s) of this ever changing world. Let the past go, and attempt to prepare for the future, if so desired. Be realistic.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  267. joe

    You're right that it is a "dream". All the promises are intangible and when it come for my turn for my government to take care of me w SS & Medicare, nothing will be there but empty promises

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  268. Thomas

    The American Dream is just that, a dream. A strong work ethic used to be enough to earn a decent living. Not anymore.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  269. Mark Robinson

    The American dream has been slowly dying for decades. It received the death blow when we elected Obama and his free spending democrats into office. They have added more to our debt in just six months than all previous administrations did in four years. That includes Bush. They outspent eight years of war with one wasted stimulus package. This administration will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible and our biggest mistake. Annapolis, MD

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  270. Mark


    You are dead on with jobs that have been lost overseas and the fact that they will not return. Again dead on that the manufacturing sector is the economic engine

    We do cash cor clunkers to stimulate Obama motors....how about cash to corporations for HIB and the other loopholes that American companies have used to allow the outsourcing to India. Let's take it back...offfer $4500 afor an american worker that is unemployed back top this clunkers that are exporting these jobs. Put sharp input taxation requirements on goods coming from India, China, etc....that could up it to $10K and a merican job to these companies.

    I talked with three Indian companies today....could not understand a word they were saying.

    As for Wallmart...let's not forget that they grew in the early 90's that their slogan was buy American....what is it now...export another American job..?

    We need to relook at the whole concept of the US economic strategy for the global economy.....that is the real start of the changeover to a further and greater US economy....not to mention CIO pay and our attitude towards banks (AIG...et al)

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  271. Arthur in Chicago

    Hasn't changed Jack because to dream you have to be sleeping and we MUST be sleeping if we somehow think we can run these crazy deficits. Now its time to wake up. Prosperity from a credit card is not prosperity.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  272. Dennis North Carolina

    the American dream has declined since the early fifties. the republicans has been in control the majority of those years and we are over our heads in debt, our economy is in the tank and we have no morals. we the people have to take the blame because we put the people in office that have put us in this position and we the people need to come together to rebuild this country as our founding fathers did.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  273. Ron

    Our dream is diminishing by the day. Sure, some will (with hard work and luck) prosper and live the dreams we all once had. But, the typical American will soon have to accept survival itself as living "the dream." Until this country starts making "things" that the rest of the world will buy, then the dream will fade away. No country can survive as with a "consumer-only" economic policy. Our limited resources as a sole source of income will completely disappear in time. We had better wake up – and we had better do so very quickly.


    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  274. Ken, Long Beach, CA

    I have no dream anymore. I've lost my entire life savings, I've lost my job, just months from losing my house to foreclosure, and I have the banks sucking what money I have left out of my bank account as "fees".

    This is the accumulitive result of our nation be sold out by politicians. Yes, this includes the GOP, in fact, more so.

    Protectionism of corporations by politicians has been the status quo, and they can sit there with a straight face and tell us that they are doing it for our own good.

    We spend trillions on war and destruction, but we are too stupid to put together a healthcare system to take care of our own. We've even let our well being be owned by wall street and corporations.

    I've seen this coming for over 40 years. And now, everyone is acting surprised?

    If we have a revolution, you can believe that it will be just like what the europeans do, and get yes they do get results.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  275. j/NJ

    How is the American dream changing?

    Actually it is changing from dream to pipe dream or worse...the situation you describe is American capitalism and American puritanism run amok...needless to say the govt and the politicians who run it are directly responsible...rest assured things will only get worse in the years ahead...at minimum look for more regulation, more bureaucracy, more govt intrusion, fewer choices and services among other things...seems the only way out is a 2nd American revolution, contemporary society is paving the way, future generations will have to decide whether to alter a forecast that could not be more grim...

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  276. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    We elected a Democratic majority in the House and Senate as well as a Democrat for President and the so-called blue dog Democrats have hijacked the Democratic Platform and ceded control to the minority Republican ideologues. We elect Democrats but they cannot govern. Elections do not have consequences. I am still living the same nightmare of the past eight years of Republican rule.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  277. Carol

    Perhaps the American Dream was out of sinc with reality.

    Yes, we want to own a home, but should we try to purchase a home that is not within our finanical reach?
    Yes, we want the new car, but do we have to purchase a car outside of our finanical limits?
    Yes, we want the clothes, and trips, but maybe it would be more sensiable to purchase clothes from the local boutique and travel to some wonderful places closer to home, than to do into debit buying designer clothes and taking expensive trips we could not afford.
    We Americans have lost sight of living within our means.
    If one can afford it by all means, buy the biggest house, the finest car and travel to exotic places, but if one can't, live within one's means and work towards bigger and better.

    As you pointed out, we are in a recession, therefore, why should seniors get a cost of living increase, I work (and I am happy to have a job) and I did not get an increase last year and do not expect on this year.

    This is an opportunity for all Americans to step back and assess what is really important, what we really need and what we can honestly live without.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  278. B

    Jack, I'm sorry to have to say that the american dream does not exist anymore unless you work for the government or are an illegal immigrant. The american people have no say in anything except stand in line and wait your turn..

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  279. Patrick Brady


    There is no doubt that the next generation and future ones after that face the likely prospect of diminished lifestyles and job opportunities to say nothing of the skyrocketing costs of those benchmarks of the good life: a college education, nice home, flashy car and affordable health care.

    However, as reported in The New York Times and elsewhere, if Congress can pass new laws to close immoral tax haven loopholes and strenghthen the hands of the feds to crack down on Big Time Tax Cheats who are unlawfully hiding an estimated $10 trillion-plus in global "wealth management" in such off-shore tax havens as UBS ank, and other shady tax shelters, MAYBE, just MAYBE, we can cut our federal defecit and balance the budget, including paying for a PUBLIC HEATH CARE OPTION if not SINGLE-PAYER COVERAGE.

    The answers and money to our problems are out there. They just require the Media doing its due diligence to connect the dots and Congress finding its backbone instead of coddling the "Bankster class."

    Keeping them honest,


    Wilson, Wyoming

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  280. Kyle

    Now we have obama almost 3 years untill Ron Paul tries to fix this. Maybe we can get them to do some of the CHANGE Ron Paul talks about. Like addressing our huge trade deficit, odds are the taxpayer money to fix our "crumbling bridges and roads" is going to be built with chinese steel. Bummer, well just give the deficit to our kids like my dad did to me after the 80's.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  281. ken m.

    Jack, we have been led to , im very cinfussed wwho is running this country, was i dreaming when i heard our president when he said us on medicare and social security would not, i repeat not loose any of our bennifts, he knew some time ago he was going to do this to us, he said he was going to make some changes that would not effect us. mr. president you managed to hurt the poeple you prommissed you would not hurt, you LIED TO US.are you now going to use this money you took from us to pay for the health care program, thak from the poorest of the poor in thi country, now you won't have to raise the taxes of the rich.i bet the house abd senate will get there cost of staling raise, not man enought to tell us you go on vacation and have some one else tell us ,just maybe hillary was right. ken

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  282. Leigh

    It's changed into a nightmare. The cost of living keeps escalating, and income keeps declining. It keeps me up at night, I'm going to need to renew my xanax prescription. That is, if I don't lose my job and health insurance soon.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  283. todzilla52

    what dream??? after the demo's have picked everyone's pockets clean maybe then people will listen to the party of "no". you can only sell snakeoil for so long........

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  284. david doherty

    Changing! It's gone Jack. The only ones that are living the American dream are the ones that are screwing the rest of us while our goverment not only watches, but is there to lend a helping hand in case they start to Faultier. When I say helping hand, I guess what I really mean is that if they need more of our money the vault is always open!

    Dave from NH.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  285. Marcus in Los Angeles

    The American dream has always been to get ahead, to leave your children with a better future. But with so many people unemployed or under-employed today, I think most of us are simply dreaming of returning to the way things were. But of course we can't do that. Most of the jobs that have left won't come back, so we have to find a way to revitalize our economy by creating new jobs in new sectors.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  286. Jim L.

    Paul, your monologue fell short of some facts. In reality, the US debt doubled and reached it current trajectory during 2001 thru 2009 due to Bush's unfunded tax and Medicare policies, two recessions and unrestrained defense spending. Basically, there are two sides to pick from: those that want to preserve the status quo, and those that want to change it for the future. Either path we take, there will be pain in the short term, so I say lets get on-board and fix the broken health, social security and defense systems!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  287. frangka

    The american dream? you call it that way when past generations devoured the resources and left nothing to new generations. Now the new generations not only have to support them but have to work hard to get ahead, if possible. the "American dream" is a set of words illustrating the use and abuse of resources that new generations have to pay by getting credit. Then, others have their dream come true, because the new pay with credit while the creditors and old enjoy their american dream

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  288. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    The American dream is changing as Democrat control of government sends us towards socialism. The Democrats who promised to stop spending are off the wall with rubber stamping every program they can think of!! Obama has doubled troops in Afghanistan and plans for me!
    Afghan troops are twice as expensive( maybe three times) because of logistical constraints!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  289. melanie kaleky

    my american dream has become a nightmare. I worked hard for 45 years. now it is a struggle just trying to survive. My husband is 72 and has to work. it is just so UN-AMERICAN

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  290. Bud in Dallas

    If the American dream is to own an oversized house, maintain a 2:4 cars to human ratio per household and consume, consume and consume, then the dream is not sustainable.

    As the size of paychecks shrink, we have a serious opportunity to cut down on excesses and to lead more sensible lifestyles. Also local & federal governments have an opportunity to do a lot of good for the public. For starters, they can discourage automobile ownership by expanding public transportation or extend everyone basic insurance.

    Hopefully this difficult period injects a little bit of realism into this impractical dream. I think we all need to come down to earth.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  291. Andy in Anchorage

    Simple truth is until we are willing to do without big tvs, new cars and other luxuries, no jobs will return to the US and therefore taxes will not be raised to pay down deficits.

    Telling big stores that the only way you'll part with your money is if the majority of the whatever it is you want is made in the US will change things.

    Being willing to pay more for a smaller TV or more for a less equipped car is the only way jobs will return. We can't compete with slave labor otherwise, although it would be nice to see anyone in Congress put pressure on their corporate sponsors to bring jobs home even if it means being less profitable.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  292. Caleb K.

    While the American dream has always existed, it used to be more than just a dream. It was a reality. Throughout our country's history, people have come to the U.S. to succeed and create a great life for their family. But in today's America, that seems less likely to happen. How can people achieve the American dream if there are no jobs available, no loans to receive, and multiple government restrictions on what entrepreneurs can and can't do in the business field? Now, the phrase "The American Dream" has a literal meaning, because that's all it is. Sadly, it's just a dream.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  293. Dusty

    One word, "Credit. "

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  294. Jack Armstrong

    Mr. Cafferty: Generally I disagree with most of what you say – today however- was a major exception.

    You described perfectly the situation the US is in today.

    To answer your question – how is the American dream changing?:

    We have given up on our ability to succeed without help from someone – generally the government.

    We have allowed our government representatives to take the easy way out – forget principle and vote however they feel will help insure their re-election.

    We have disavowed responsibility for our borders and the rule of law regarding people who cross our borders.

    Patriotism and love of country is looked at scorn by many of our citizens – particularly if they are in education and entertainment – sadly two of our influential, to children, industries.

    Is there a way out of this – YES – but it will be ugly – probably a threat to our very existence.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  295. The Ghost of G Orwell

    The absence of the American dream is not a product of any given generation. The loss of this once esteemed goal was taken away by both major political parties. Baby Boomers did not pass the legislation that has brought the country to the brink of insolvency. Our government is broken and the current keeper only wishes to break it even more. Why? to cultivate a voting block that will rely on handouts of any kind.

    Once permanently oppressed all will take whatever they can get and do their part by voting in the powerful for that guarantee. Both parties are worthless. Focus your anger toward the political system and the elite that are in a hurry to take your ambitions for themselves, and leave you with what they think will be in their best interests (not yours) as they shape a nation for permanent dependency.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  296. Tom G

    We were sold down the river by the Harvard MBA, who are the ones that said, lets let them make that overseas, its cheaper and we can make a bigger profit (bonus) today. When the steel, clothing, shoes, toy, auto, electronics...etc. industries all go overseas, we can be a service economy. There will be hi tech jobs for all to grow rich.....oops! Guess what? If we dont make things we have nothing to sell, no jobs to do, and no money to buy from those who are making things to sell to us who have no jobs or money....

    August 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  297. Pamela

    What dream? This system was always ripping people off only these people didnt have the voice to say it to the masses.Now mainstream people are experiencing the joys of NAFTA,budget cuts, outsourcing jobs,and runaway spending on stupid wars. Enjoy!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  298. Dale

    As Merle Haggard said it best. "Like a snowball headed for Hell"!

    Fayetteville N.C.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  299. Herb Schmidt

    If a farmer puts the same amount of cows in a confined space as recently travelers were held in an aircraft for 10 hours without food or water animal activist would sue the living daylight.
    If our goverment allows this to happen to people, what level basic human care and compasion do our representatives have for us?
    How many more years will it take to get something as simple as a passengers bill of rights into law? With all the much larger problems this nation is faced with the American dream is long gone, dead and buried!

    August 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  300. Puller

    "Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"

    August 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |