A.J. DiCintio
Living in a dream
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By A.J. DiCintio
November 20, 2010

There is something rotten in the state of America:

. . . Accounting for inflation, wages earned by ordinary American families have been stagnant for the last decade. Moreover, there's not much these families can do to increase their incomes. As Chris Farrell (Bloomberg/Businessweek) points out, compared to 38% in 1968, 70% of married women ages 25 to 54 with children now work outside the home, with both breadwinners putting in about 20% more time on the job than their parents did.

. . . Unemployment is cemented at 9.6%. Include the underemployed and the figure, according to Gallup, becomes 18%.

. . . To stimulate job growth, the unaccountable Fed, a mighty abuser, since late '08, of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's overheated presses, has concocted the euphemism "quantitative easing" as a pretext for continuing to print dollars full steam ahead.

. . . As the Fed continues low interest rate policies whose first purpose is to fatten the balance sheets of the most irresponsible banks, prices and sales of new and existing homes continue to fall, with 25% of mortgages underwater and foreclosures occurring at a record pace.

. . . The federal deficit for FY '11 will again be in the $1.4 trillion range, sending the federal government's "total debt outstanding" to nearly $14 trillion or 100% of GDP and thus inching America the Land of Opportunity ever closer to America the Banana Republic — despite "A New Era of Responsibility," the stunningly ironic, shamelessly insulting subtitle of Barack Obama's FY '10 budget.

. . . For calendar 2010, the American-worker-harming U.S. trade deficit will reach $500 billion, the lion's share of the amount constituting de facto "nation building" in China.

Now, the questions that arise regarding this rottenness are "why?" and "how"?

The answer to both is this:

For thirty years, we've been living in a trilogy of dreams woven from flimsy, toxic threads spun from the foolish minds of true believing ideologues.

First, the dream that real, lasting prosperity can be built on the foundation of easy money.

Easy money that could make Wall Street and America rich if only Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, et al. would free vanilla banks from the restraints of the Glass-Steagall Act and allow them to police themselves.

Easy money that could create a beautiful "ownership society" if only the likes of Clinton, GW Bush, and Barney Frank would force "too big to fail" banks and other lenders to grant "sub-prime" mortgages to home buyers destined to default.

Easy money that could guarantee long-term prosperity if only the Federal Reserve would implement low interest rate policies that stimulate appetites for second mortgages and other forms of debt, while assuring the nation it's not a problem if, from 1980-2007, total household indebtedness balloons 200% while average household income increases 36%.

Easy money that could make the USA bigger, better, and stronger if only the House of Representatives, where, according to the Constitution, "All Bills for raising [and appropriating] Revenue shall originate," would madly chant "Yes, we can!" as it spends trillions upon trillions of borrowed dollars.

Second, the dream that dogmatically accepts the goodness of "free" trade.

Yes, the dreamers of this dream have huffed and puffed themselves proud about how their darling creates a burgeoning number of good jobs.

However, American workers have known for decades that free trade isn't fair trade.

Therefore, they know the truths exposed by a recent Business Insider article posted at Yahoo Finance: for example, that many autos, including those with American nameplates, are assembled — just as many auto parts are manufactured — "offshore" and that not a single television or cell phone is made in America.

Moreover, they know that low cost, cheap, and sometimes deadly products being dumped into the U.S. serve only to enrich the rich and allow politicians to hide the truth about the slow, steady decline of the middle class.

Third, the dream that argues (sometimes viciously) for open borders.

Specifically, this dream somehow compels its dreamers to believe that every year the nation desperately needs hundreds of thousands of new, completely unskilled workers to supplement the unskilled immigrants already here, including 12 million mostly unskilled illegals.

Yet honest entrepreneurs, financial experts, and economists who don't try to hide the differences between the U.S. of 1910 and 2010 tell us that to maintain the health of its economy in an increasingly competitive world, the country needs not a continuous flood of unskilled immigrants but controlled immigration that brings an appropriate number of skilled, English language proficient immigrants to its workforce.

Even Timothy Noah (Slate) is somewhat honest in his multi-part "The United States of Inequality" when he concludes that "Immigration has probably helped create income inequality," though he insists it isn't the "star of the [inequality] show."

Well, perhaps not the star. But one cannot help noticing this liberal doesn't discuss the specific effects immigrants (including illegals) have had on wages of the blue collar workers he purports to love.

Nor does he tell us how many unskilled immigrants the nation can absorb without exacerbating the income inequality he deplores.

The trilogy illuminated, this question arises:

Who will lead the charge to reject false and lying dreams in favor of policies that insure the continuance of the traditional American Dream?

Well, it won't be Democratic politicians who would sell out their mothers for a vote.

It won't be Republican politicians who sell out to moguls who crave a new world order.

Nor will it be our supposed betters of the Political Class, such as Federal Reserve Ph.D.'s who compose tracts with titles such as "Estimating the Cross-Sectional Distribution of Price Stickiness from Aggregate Data."

Not to despair, however; for as the Founders knew, there does exist a hard working, common sense, wise, tough-minded group that can accomplish the task.

Whether or not "We the People" get the job done will say everything about our nation's future.

© A.J. DiCintio

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.

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