American “Dream” Fast Becoming Fantasy

When we were last in the midst of deciding who our next President would be, the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, frequently quipped that President Obama would rather our economy in the U.S. be “more like Europe.”
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Of course, many saw this as a stinging retort. After all, Europeans are “socialists” in the view of the conservative right. To be sure, Europe is by no means perfect. After all, look at the current economic situation in Spain. However, our Miami consumer attorneys note a number of recent reports indicate we may have more to learn from Europe than we want to believe.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of this is the rapid decline of the American middle class. Postwar growth in this country has hinged on the strength and size of our middle class. However, this group can no longer tout itself as the world’s wealthiest.

The New York Times recently reported that other countries have made considerable gains on us in recent years. Over the last three decades, the lower and middle income earners in other countries have received substantially higher raises than those in the U.S.

Today, the poorest citizens in America are far less wealthy than the poor in European countries overall. Nearly 40 years ago, the exact opposite was true.

When polled, Americans seem partially aware. Sixty-percent of those questioned said they don’t believe the country is on the right track. Only 25 percent say they are satisfied with government. Forty-four percent self-identify as members of the middle class, while 40 percent self-identify as lower-class. That represents a 15 percent decrease from responses gleaned in 2008.

Among the younger generation, the percentage who place themselves in the lower class has doubled since 2008.

The American dream has long been an ideal that holds if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything. But lately, people are losing that dream. More frequently, people report that opportunities for advancing economically – both for themselves and their children – has significantly declined.

Consider that those between the ages of 55 and 64 are more likely to have a high school diploma than those currently in their 20s and 30s.

Perhaps the most unfortunate fact is that this path was one that was specifically chosen. We can directly attribute it to 40 years of economic scales that have been largely tilted in favor of the 1 percent. Along with that, we have somehow made obsolete the notion that government should in any way be responsible for job creation, economic growth or a secure social safety net. We paint the poor as “lazy.”

One of the reason we had it so good economically in the 1950s had to do with the fact that our leaders were quick to initiate emergency measures such as the New Deal and other programs that provide support for the poor and aging, good schools, job security for workers and investments in science, technology and infrastructure.

Today, we have a federal government filled with leaders content to sit on the sidelines. They painted as an “us-versus-them” mentality – pitting the interests of their wealthy campaign subsidizers with that of the average taxpayer. We have unemployment benefits that are significantly less generous. Same with our minimum wage, welfare support and food stamps. Protections for workers have been substantially weakened as anti-union hostility has risen. College tuition fees and student loan debt are soaring, making it difficult to move forward with life.

Combine this with the housing market woes, and it’s little wonder we’re still struggling.

If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

Additional Resources:
The American Dream is now just that for its middle classes – a dream, April 26, 2014, By Michael Cohen, The Observer
More Blog Entries:
Report: 25 Percent of Florida Foreclosures Have Equity, April 29, 2014, Miami Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Blog