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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:36 PM
Original message
Question: What's the New American Dream?
Obama is not campaigning on the promise of restoring the past American Dream. I think most people have accepted that the American Dream, as we've known it, no longer exists.

That is, people no longer can expect to work for one employer their entire careers, with that employer paying a single breadwinner enough to buy a house with a white picket fence, put the kids through college and pay for nice weddings, buy a whirlpool washer and a brand new car, go on vacations and nice dinners out on occasion, and have a pension for a comfortable dignified retirement.

People will call you a fool to expect all that, regardless of how you work.

That was the American Dream. But nobody expects that time to return, not even our most optimistic politicians are promising that. At best, they expect us to re-design the American Dream. I can do a Google search for "New American Dream" and find a lot of articles on the topic, but I wonder what it means to people in regular language?

What is the new American Dream, and how does it differ from the old one. How is it better or worse?

I think the new American Dream is leaving a lot of people out. In this new way of life, one has to do extra-ordinary things to obtain what people used to get through just going to work every day.
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Teaser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. porn
.
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RT Atlanta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. for me...
I'd just like to not live paycheck to paycheck - that's a nice "dream" to me.
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. Me too. This is worse than being homeless.
I've been homeless before and now I've got a halfway decent job, own hardly anything, yet I'm deeper in dept and feel more like a slave than I did then.

I know lots of people in the same situation who don't seem to care, and just think it's normal, but it bugs the heck out of me.

If more people cared, I wonder if things would be more likely to change.
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freesqueeze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
3. Owning about a half dozen senators
who you can manipulate like puppets whenever you want.



Now...that's living big!
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Vilis Veritas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
4. To end the nightmare...n/t
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LeftHander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
5. Winning the lottery....
that is the new dream. Most people know that so many hurdles have been put in the way that the only way to prosperity is a chance win in the MegaBucks or other similar lottery.
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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
6. A Democratic President and Congress! n.t
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. I hope you are right. It will still take awhile though.
Some have more time left than others to recover from what has happened.
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. To survive the next six months.
I don't think that was the old American dream, and I don't think there's a new American dream. I think the American dream is still the same. I think people want to be in control of their financial lives, live reasonably free of control by government or private entity, and be free to live their own lives.

The Republicans are the opposite of that. They want to force a narrow interpretation of their religion on everyone, they want government and peer pressure to enforce that interpretation, and they want your financial life to be completely dependent on that of your ancestors. If your parents were poor or oppressed, it should be harder for you to make it. If your parents weren't able to go to college, it should be harder for you. If your parents were rich, you should be given a free ride no matter how much of a fuck-up you are. The Bush family is the perfect vision for America--rich, stupid, and inept, but in charge.

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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. How can Democrats change things?
They can fix these problems by listenning to the American public, but it appears most the public has no clue what to do, or even that they can be fixed.

I'm guessing that reducing outsourcing and supporting unions probably are a couple major steps that would help.

Maybe I'm just too skeptical, maybe you'e right and businesses will one day offer what they used to....
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. This same thing was happening in 91-2, and Clinton fixed it.
The problem isn't business, it's the government side of the economy. Government policy affects the value of the dollar, the tax structure of the national economy, trade issues, our international marketability, the competitiveness and fairness of business within the nation, training of the workforce, and a lot of factors. A good government can steer the economy in the right direction. A bad government can fail in two ways--it can steer us in the wrong direction, or it can just fail to make adjustments necessary.

Clinton was brilliant with the economy. By shifting the tax burden back to those with money, he liberated the middle class, allowing them to start businesses that could compete in a more fair market. By his jobs training programs, he helped people get better jobs, but he also helped modernize the work force, so that labor was tooled for the modern economy, allowing businesses and individuals to flourish. Wages went up because there were more employers, which increased competition for labor. Business flourished because people had more money to spend from higher wages, and because increased competition really does stimulate business, as long as it is genuine competition, and not unbridled monopolistic control by a handful of corporations.

W and Reagan made the same mistake--they thought the economy was driven from the top. If you build a business, people will shop there, they thought. They didn't worry about where the people would get the money to shop there. Without an increase in wages, even if people shop at your new business, they are just shifting their money away from other business. The economy shifts, but doesn't grow. That's part of what we are seeing now.

This economy can be fixed. There are a lot red herrings that people focus on--outsourcing, NAFTA, all that--that are symptoms rather than causes of a bad economy. Not saying those issues don't need work, just that they are not the cause of the problem. The cause of the problem is a government that believes the economy functions without government guidance, and that believes all downturns in the economy are just the normal cycles of the economy, or worse, are the fault of consumers who just panic.

Republicans can't fix the economy because they don't understand it. A lot of Democrats have the same problem, but they are a lot closer than the Republicans. Some Democrats--Clinton, Gore, for instance--get it. Yeah, both of those were DLC, but they had the economy right, anyway. I can't tell about Obama--he plays his cards close to his vest. But he can't be worse than the Bush/Reagan gang.

It's not all broken, in other words. The economic base goes way deeper than what W could screw up in eight years. It's hurting, and it needs fixing, and it needs it now, but it's still alive. The American Dream is still alive. It just needs the right person to fix it.
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underseasurveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
8. At the very least
To not be starving living on the streets.
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Burma Jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
9. Winning the Lottery and not getting killed by someone with a darker complexion
At least that's what about half of the voting population seems to be thinking........

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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
10. My American Dream
begins with getting the corrupt GOP government out of office. Until then, we'll just have to settle for a declining standard of living.
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
11. Survival.
Having enough food that your kids aren't crying because they're hungry.
Not sleeping in an alley.
Being sadly grateful for the $6.75/hr dead-end job that you have, because the alternative is no job at all.
Keeping fifteen financial balls in the air, and PRAYING that nothing breaks, wears out, or gets ill before the end of the month.

The American dream is more like the American nightmare, now.
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. I prefer calling it a 'living hell' to nightmare. But I get your point. nt
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checks-n-balances Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. Democratic Party, returned to its true roots, in the WH and congressional majority
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 01:56 PM by checks-n-balances
and the GOP becoming small enough to drown in the bathtub, never again to resurface on the face of the earth.

After that, allow a plurality of parties that keep one another accountable.
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zippy890 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:16 PM
Response to Original message
13. getting by

lowering the bar on the American Dream expectations

Not a bad thing at all. next comes some painful internal re-assessments. I think we're decent people and we all want our kids and there kids live in a country we can all be proud of.

There's a glimmer of awakening that we're all individual lifestyle, government) basically part of a problem and we will need to make some changes.

:hi:
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. I'm not sure how the bar can be lowered
People talk about how high our expectations are, but many of the so-called luxuries are not as decadent as they seem. All the electronic gadgets, for instance, are just pieces of plastic that entertain us. We don't look poor only because our clothes are colorful and don't look like rags like peasants once wore. But these things arr only a result of automation and technology. They make us think we're doing well when we are still the same as indentured servants of lore.

It's the simple things that we are being denied, like a decent amount of time off from work, a dignified retirement, a small home without 4 lifetimes of debt, and education that can be obtained by anyone. And being able to get these basics without having to do super extraordinary things, or being perfect or without making any mistakes in life.

I know there are some extravagances, I'm sure those are what you meant, like people who always have to have the best car and the best house and the best vacation, etc. Yeah those I would consider the upper middle class and I think they are a drain. But I don't think they represent most of us.
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zippy890 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #19
30. agreed. and people are realizing these things

hunkering down mentality yet the seeds of doubt are being sown in people minds. About the fucked up government we've had for the last 7 years making things so much worse.

interesting to see this coming election, & then after that how people react.

Hunker mentality getting angry pissed off mentality.
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Allyoop Donating Member (147 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. Getting by
And the ability to get ahead! We lived a very simple life - no pre-packaged dinners, seldom ate out, etc.

The only things we bought that we couldn't pay for immediately were a car and (after 10 years together,

with 4 kids) a house. My husband was able to get his PhD during that time and things just kept

improving from then on. I went back to college when I was in my early 40s and had an excellent job for as

long as I wanted to work.

Granted, all this costs more now, but too many people seem to think they have to have lots

of stuff NOW whether they need it or not and can afford it or not. Debt is not a good thing!
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
18. Getting rich and livin' large.
I imagine the average Roman citizen had dreams of a big villa at capernaum, more slaves, and a luxury litter to be carried around in.

And, they probably believed they could achieve the epitome of success by "working hard and playing by the rules".

aka - suckers

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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Not sure I agree. I don't play by the rules out of Roman greed.
It's exactly the opposite, IMO, people circumvent the rules out of greed.

I play by the rules because I have a sense of fairness toward others. I know there is no guarantee I'll be treated fairly in return, but it still seems like the good way to approach life.

People often are slapped in the face by people they try to help, but I think if nobody cared about playing by the rules, the standard of living would immediately decline for everyone.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:10 PM
Response to Original message
22. Passing through airport security without having to take your shoes off? (nt)
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
23. to survive another couple of weeks withoug losing my home.
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Is this pertaining to a specific issue?
A lot of people are saying what they think the American Dream is by saying 'having XYZ'.

But (I'm just asking you out all the others) how is the American Dream "Me getting XYZ"? I mean, I could be in any country and get rich.

Is the Amreican Dream just 'me getting rich'?

I think that the American Dream would be a shared goal that is obtainable in some way that would be considered American.

Sorry to nitpick.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. I think the new American dream is to survive
the coming (already arrived) shitstorm
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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
24. maybe a life without debt?
...maybe just being able to own anything on your own, free and clear?

a home? (well, even a rental that won't get jacked up or pulled out from under you...)

being able to pay the electric/gas/phone bills, and still have enough left over to feed the kids...?

...hmmm...vacations, dinner out, etc...are a luxury

that nobody in the family gets a debilitating illness that leaves you worse than bankrupt?

how's that for starters?
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. I'm trying to obtain the 'how' moreso than the what
I asked it 3 times so I'm sure one of you will respond.

Is the American Dream just getting what you want? If so, does it still exist if only 1 out of a million get what they want.

Is the American Dream obtained by someone who exports slave labor, or sells drugs like they do in Columbia? Or is there a distinct way of obtaining success that makes it the American Dream?
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tismyself Donating Member (501 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #29
45. Do you remember
in the movie "The Big Chill" during the funeral scene when the preacher asked, "Are not the satisfactions of being a good man among our common men great enough to sustain us any more? Where did Alex's hope go? Maybe that is the small resolution we can take from here today. To try to regain that hope that must have eluded Alex."

I think about my grandparents and their generation - 2 of my grandparents are alive and in their 90's now. And for them, the satisfactions of being a good man were and are enough to sustain them. I watched that sense of satisfaction start slipping away in my parents generation, and now here in mine, it seems to be utterly gone.

I also think that the America my grandparents were young in has changed in that the world, the country, the place we have created is no longer supportive of such satisfactions. Yet, that is a chicken and egg scenario - which shift came first, the structural or the individual. Regardless, we have created a place that is very hard to walk through with grace.

Perhaps the "how" can be answered better once America re-establishes an identity for itself, for it is difficult to be a part of something greater than yourself when you have no idea what that something is. In other words, when we are trying to define the new American Dream, I think what needs to happen first is the definition of American.
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
25. Personal solvency and remaining healthy and ambulatory until death.
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. Yes, But I think the 'how' is the important part.
Whenever someone is successful, I don't think that means it's the American Dream.

If one person out of a million obtains success, does that mean the American Dream exists, just for that one person?
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
37. "Solvency" really does not mean success, it just means to be debt free.
I think being debt free and in good health is about as good as it gets these days. When I was a kid, back in the 1950s, the American Dream was becoming an entrepreneur and owning a rambling ranch home in the suburbs with a wife, two kids, a pedigreed dog, and a Cadillac.
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #37
41. Good point. Owing nobody would be a good one
Hmm. Never thought about it in such straightforward terms. One of those 'imagine' moments.

Yeah, just owing nobody anything. I could go for that!
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
32. to die quickly and cheaply
my family can't afford for me to be disabled and lingering for years, If I go quick and relatively painless, that's the best I can hope for. :hi:
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DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. I hear ya, man!
Both my parents died after lingering illnesses and I am a cancer survivor.
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Bobbie Jo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
33. A brand new car! (big enough to live in) nt
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
34. To never have to wake up.....
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fed_up_mother Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
35. Being covered by health insurance long enough to make it to Medicare
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salguine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
36. Seeing this whole administration (and its former officials as well) in
shackles and orange coveralls.
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taught_me_patience Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
38. My American Dream is to immigrate
to New Zealand.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
39. Staving off homelessness. nt
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DaveJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #39
42. I always thought of homelessness as a vacation
I've been homeless but I hate having to work for other people when I get nothing, and I mean nothing, in return for it except a place to sleep. I have my own work to do, which I can't do because I'm indentured.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. I've been homeless.
It sucks, especially when you have dependents. Happily, that was more than 20 years ago, and came to an end when I divorced the man who partied away the rent money.

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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
44. Mine.
I'm going to adapt my "what is middle class" post for this.

The American Dream starts with:

* having a secure job that will allow me:

* to save at least 10% of my income
* be able to pay all my bills on time
* afford to eat out at least once a week
* afford at least one out-of-state vacation every year
* afford to give friends and family birthday/holiday gifts at any place besides 99 cent store
* the opportunity to take on more financial responsibilities.


In addition:
* have representatives who can hear the voters and can be held accountable for when they don't
* be able to exercise my Constitutional rights without conditions, exceptions and misinterpretations from fanatical ideologues
* universal healthcare
* an educated populace that knows the history of their own damn country, respects science and understands the value of community
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Flying Dream Blues Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
46. Ummm...winning American Idol? Or at least being famous for my bad audition?


:sarcasm:
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