Home | About | Donate

American Dream in Freefall: It's This Bad

American Dream in Freefall: It's This Bad

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Whither the American Dream?

It may not be totally dead, but a new study suggests that it is certainly on life support.

Published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal Science, the team of researchers led by Raj Chetty and David Grusky of Stanford University used data from federal income tax returns and U.S. Census and Current Population Surveys to look at trends of this "absolute mobility," or earning more than one's parents.


And all Americans who do not occupy the 1% category, Congress, the Executive, or SCOTUS may be facing early deaths when the anarchists within move to cripple the ACA, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security along with handing our environment over to the corporate polluters. No clean water, no clean air, no soil to grow crops, crops genetically modified to mess with human DNA at one point, dead oceans, and catastrophic loss of species worldwide = DEATH and destruction. Dreams will be reserved for the “government clinic for assisted suicide” (Soylent Green).


Good grief- I hope your life is not THAT bad!

I’d recommend that large swaths of the world’s population begin reckoning with the permanence of the phenomenon this article describes.

Current use of natural resources is unsustainable…current economic growth is unsustainable…people are going to have to do with less of pretty much everything.

Many of us don’t earn what our parents did or have what our parents had. Consider that a preview of coming attractions.


It doesn’t help that central banks including the Fed have been printing trillions to buy assets, propping up stocks along the way. Injecting all this money drives the price of their assets up and the value of our money down. Consider that 40 yrs ago the national average wage was $7-8,000, which bought 122 oz. of gold. Recently the national average was about $48,000, which buys 38 oz. at current prices.


My life is fine…it is my son’s future I am concerned about. He is facing employment and environmental challenges that I did not “dream” of at his age and I was a “flower child.” Suicide is rising precipitously:

Add to that figure that an average of 45,000 Americans die each year due to NOT having access to health care due to financial constraints or where they live.

And this administration’s sabre rattling just may well be our nation (and the planet’s) undoing.

That is the reality.


“I ran to the sea it was boiling”


Sorry about your son. I went through the sixities and early seventies as well. I have to remember- are you an economist or a scientist? I have gone through some uncertainties myself over a relatively long life. Suicide is rising- you are right, and it is rising in the seniors as well as young people. Then the msm and government just gloss over it so that people feel even more isolated. I was reading ( or at least had a chance to skim) an article in Boston magazine when I went to an appointment the other day, It was titled “From We to Me” something like that. The gist was that “we” used to be in communities where people adjusted to each other including the public schools. Now, people here that some people’s kids are so “special” and unique" that only a special school can be good enoughfor them. We are not even talking about Sped here. The rate of depression is sad in college kids not only because of debt but because some of these “unique” kids cannot adjust to the real world so they become isolated and angry. Bullying? I seem to remember my parents saying “assert yourself”. Now, due to being politically correct and social media all of that some kids cannot handle themselves being a bully or being a victim. So much has gotten out of control. It seems that a lot of this started in the eighties when jobs were outsourced, and there was the trickle down. What happened to us as a society?


Gold won’t do you much good when you’re out of clean, fresh water.


That is what they are hoping so that there will be more for them and the Ivankas of the world.

1 Like

That’s right. Hey, I remember when we drank right from the faucets- none of this designer water for us.

1 Like

While those of us born in the '40s may have earned more than our parents, one thing disappeared that a lot of them had – pensions. Retirement for many reasons for many of us is far less secure than it was for many of our parents.

All of this is even more precarious for our children and grandchildren.


You are correct. However, my point addresses the economic situation described in the article. One can drill a much deeper well with 122 oz. than with 38 oz.

1 Like

And it’s all due to greed. It’s okay to want more, but not at the expense of others.


It started in many ways far earlier than the '80s. The political counter movement to the New Deal began immediately, back in the '30s. The “intellectual” counter movement began with Ayn Rand, von Mises and Hayak. The economic counter movement began to change the direction of our society and community in 1973, due in part, I’m guessing, to Detente and the opening of China – as fear of labor going radical disappeared.

When I was at the U of Wisconsin in the '60s, my tuition was $112.00 a semester. Fees were another $18.00. Books usually came to around $50.00 a semester, for an annual total of about $300.00. I could earn that in a month at a summer job at one of the local factories/fabricators in town. My freshman year was tuition-free due to a legislative scholarship. I paid only for books and fees. Many my high school classmates got the same deal. All that began to disappear in the '70s. In Wisconsin, the end came with GOP ascension to legislative control and Tommy Thompson as governor. Tuition climbed; scholarships disappeared.

The local economy dwindled as “free trade” sent jobs overseas. Almost all of the factories and fabs, most of the companies, themselves, are gone. Jobs no longer reward workers for their contribution to their employers’ profitability.

None of this was an accident nor natural nor divine intervention. It was policy – crude, rude and socially far too acceptable at the time. But not any more.


Yes, you are right. I went to a state U (SUNY) also, and paid more than you, but I believe the whole deal with the dorm, meals etc. was a couple of thousand a year if that. Now, fuggaboutit if you know what I mean. Back then, you are right - people did not necessarily have to take out crippling loans. What was your field by the way? Today’s society is only meant for the upper class. A few months ago, I heard a commentator state that if one graduated from college, one was rich. Well, I do not know about you but…! Also, the outsourcing of jobs which lead to the downfall of communties does not concern the high and mighty one bit. After all, they are not loyal to the US the country that made them rich in the first place.

1 Like

I never understood the American Dream as “each generation earnng more if they played by the rules”.

To me the American Dream was about a society where we all worked together, the government worked for the good of the people, and we all had better lives for it.

That’s the vision that was sold to us right after WW2. It wasn’t this individualized notion that each one of us could “do better” but the collective vision of a society that cared and worked together.

The “fuck you I got mine” vision that’s been sold for the last several decades is anathema to our society. And the American Dream the way I heard it.


That’s the way I heard the “dream” also- it’s not a dream to the one per cent. Also, what an empty feeling society that is with F U I got mine. US is way down on the happy meter.

1 Like

EXACTLY! Thank you for the absolutely crystal clear capture of how we got to where we are today!

I think that living in poverty commits people to long term misery. What do you think about people having the choice to pass away if they cannot change their fates?

1 Like