The Betrayal of the American Dream

Monday, July 30, 2012

Investigative reporters Donald L. Barlett and James Steele talk about why they believe that the American middle class has been systematically impoverished and its prospects thwarted in favor of a new ruling elite. The Betrayal of the American Dream make the case that for more than 30 years, government and big business in America have conspired to roll back the American dream, and what was once accessible to much of the population is increasingly open only to a privileged few.


Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

Comments [31]

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Sep. 15 2012 10:52 AM

What I heard...
The rich donate to legislators therefore they write rules that benefit themselves.

How I'd fix it...
Close the loopholes...Get corporate tax collections back up to 5-6% of GDP.

Raise the capital gains rate (or substantially lower the types of income that qualify as capital gains.) Carried interesst, direct investment in foreign manufacturing or multinationals that hide income from the IRS should not be eligible.

Shield personal savings from taxes until withdrawn. [Just like we used to do before Reagan changed the rules.]

Take FICA withholding on 3x or 4x median income but LOWER the rates back to pre-Greenspan Commission levels.

Jul. 30 2012 11:27 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Apparently, jgarbuz, all you have to say is...NOTHING. Because you're a nonresponsive loser. But God bless YOU.

Jul. 30 2012 02:18 PM

joe from nearby: The "General Welfare" clause means to the benefit of everyone (that's why it is "general welfare," not "specific welfare"), not just the benefit of some at the expense of others—i.e., corporate welfare and social welfare. Forcibly taking money (i.e., taxation) from some people to give to others is not "charity"—nor is it very good economics for both the people you are taking from nor the people you are giving it to—in the long run. Just because the idiots in the black robes on the Supremely-stupid Court have misinterpreted this for the past century doesn't change the fact.

Sorry to disappoint you.

Jul. 30 2012 02:10 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

to Fuva

I'm just so lucky that I was able to escape to the local library from black and hispanic hoodlums trying to always take my lunch money, and thus able to read Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto so that I could understand people like you. I was also lucky to live on a kibbutz in Israel to see socialism at work :)

All I have to say is, God Bless America.

Jul. 30 2012 02:09 PM
Matt O from Mattituck, NY

If every American were to spend only 20 minutes each year listening to public radio, I would recommend it be this segment ... excellent piece on a topic that (based on the other comments here) has been well guarded by layers upon layers of rugs ...

Jul. 30 2012 02:07 PM
UncleMarty from Queens

Thank you thank you thank you for the American Dream discussion!!! Hope to hear you more on WNYC .. Lenny L is great but never as hard hitting as you proved to be ... too much effort toward "balance" when the only thing on the scales is lies and truth .... Kudos

Jul. 30 2012 02:05 PM

james, you wrote: "How old are these guys, they sound like leftover socialists from the 30's. Everyone on this show sounds like tired leftists. How about some other points of view? This is like a circle jerk of woe..."

I agree 100%. They believe lies such as "World War II got us out of the Depression" and "The New Deal saved the economy."

So long as people don't bother to understand even basic economics, the Banksters, the favored multinational corporations (like GE, Mobil, Big Pharma, and the Health Insurance cartel), and the military-industrial complex will continue to make money off of the economic ignorance of the sheeple through the Big Business/Big Government crony capitalism business as usual policies that have been around for the last 70 years.

Jul. 30 2012 02:04 PM
fuva from harlemworld

The problem, jgarbuz, is your apparently absolute obliviousness to the abundance of "special favors" driving this unsustainable economic trajectory. Citizens like you require a deconstruction of monetary wealth, so you might better understand its workings in this country.

Jul. 30 2012 02:01 PM
joe from nearby

@jgarbuz from Queens-

The Constitution also contains the "General Welfare Clause" (notice the word "welfare"), in addition to many other powers.

Sorry to disappoint you.

Jul. 30 2012 02:01 PM
Marie from Brooklyn

Thank you for this. I didnt' KNOW so much of this - about just how little multinationals are paying in taxes.

Telling us the basics is very important.

Jul. 30 2012 01:58 PM

Great segment.

This sickens me. Our politicians are disgusting traitors of the middle class.

Jul. 30 2012 01:57 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Fuva

Yes, I have become a strong believer in the status quo. I was and remain a strong supporter of civil and basic rights for all, and against special favors for anyone. I also believe in a minimal safety net for those who just cannot save themselves.

But that is all our Constitution promises: FREEDOM. Life, Liberty and right to Pursue happiness, whatever that means. Nothing more than that.

Jul. 30 2012 01:55 PM
Bob from Westchester, NY

Re tax on dividends -- The reasoning behind the lower rates (which I don't agree with) is that the the income has already been taxed at the corporate level, so to tax the owners/stockholders on their dividend/profit is double taxation, e.g., Romney's "Corporations are people too, my friend" statement. This is a wonderful intellectual argument by conservatives, but has little relation to the real world -- to the regular person who owns some stock, a dividend is the same as bank interest which is taxed at the highest level. (Of course, this assumes that banks will ever start paying interest on savings accounts again!)

Jul. 30 2012 01:54 PM

Antonio Fernandez from Westfield, NJ, you wrote: "I can't believe they haven't brought this up."

As you can see from my comment directly under yours ("d"), it's because they are—like the vast majority of people in the world—economically ignorant. And the Banksters want to keep it that way.

Jul. 30 2012 01:51 PM

Both the left and the right are responsible for the destruction of American middle class. The guests correctly identified corporate interest in globalization. Somehow they did not mention that liberals - Krugman and Co - argued for globalization as it would build up middle class in the Third World.

Environmentalist also liked outsourcing of manufacturing, since it would move polluting companies elsewhere.

Jul. 30 2012 01:49 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Jgarbuz is helpless, as usual...Sustenance is in jeopardy for millions, while CEOs -- many of whom inherited their access or otherwise benefited from unfairly unequal opportunity -- steadily increase the wage ratio without merit and, along with their income peers, stack chips that they nor their progeny will ever spend, even after investing in legislation that will further tip the scale. And jgarbuz can think of nothing to do but accept this status quo.

Jul. 30 2012 01:49 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Leo from Queens

No, I'm just not a person who blames my problems on others. I could, but I don't blame my problems on corporations, Jews, bankers, or anybody else. I blame them on my own shortcomings, whatever they may be. If I failed, it was because I wasn't smart enough, strong enough, clever enough, etc. Whatever it takes, I did not have it in sufficient supply. That's all.

Jul. 30 2012 01:48 PM

Aren't dividend also taxed at the corporate level?

Jul. 30 2012 01:48 PM

How old are these guys, they sound like leftover socialists from the 30's. Everyone on this show sounds like tired leftists. How about some other points of view? This is like a circle jerk of woe...

Jul. 30 2012 01:47 PM
Antonio Fernandez from Westfield, NJ

The enemy of the middle-class? It's the cronyism in government and especially in The Fed to suck the savings from the middle class directly to the banks that make up the Federal Reserve through inflation and taxation. I can't believe they haven't brought this up.

Jul. 30 2012 01:46 PM

Whenever I hear economically-ignorant people speak, such as these two "investigative" reporters, I am reminded of this quote:

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

Perhaps these "investigative" reporters should do some investigating into basic economics before they come to their conclusions about how to fix the problems that we now have in this country (and around the world, for that matter).

Also, for those of you who would like to find out why wages have stagnated for the past forty years, you can find the answer here:

Jul. 30 2012 01:46 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

There you go Oscar! You go that answer. The Jews and Israel control the world and America, and that is why you are in bad shape. It's not your fault. It's not America's fault. It's all because of the Jews! Thank you for your enlightened answers to life's difficult questions. When in doubt, blame the Jews.

Shows you how much we waste on trying to educate the uneducatable in our society. We should stop wasting money on trying to educate the retards.

Jul. 30 2012 01:46 PM
Leo from Queens

jgarbuz, I assume you are a corporation with a real heart and real children and real feelings.

Jul. 30 2012 01:43 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

For generations we preached to world they should get rid of fascism, communism, and socialism and adopt freedom and free trade instead.

And so when they did, and started to beat us at our own game, we start becoming cry babies, crying "No Fair." Americans became spoiled cry-babies. That's all there is to it, having expectations for goodies not promised in the Constitution. The only thing we are promised is FREEDOM. Nothing more.

Jul. 30 2012 01:42 PM
oscar from ny

Once again a scare tactic to the public...its so evident that israel has control of the us monetary system and they will succed to crumble this country to obtain soladitory control of it...these pharasees are the most avarice racist comunist of this century...they will push us with our own help.

Jul. 30 2012 01:41 PM

The middle class was a tool against communism during the cold war. The corps and the corp owned government just don’t see a need for a middle class

Jul. 30 2012 01:38 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

There will always be work for scribbling malcontents writing books telling us all how the sky is falling, provided we are sucker enough to keep buying their books.

Jul. 30 2012 01:34 PM
Leo from queens

Nothing wrong with the 401(k)s? !!!!

These plans take a lot of money in management fees and transaction fees so the returns on these investments are not returns that people can retire on. The perception that 401Ks are going to save the middle class in their retirements is a joke.

Just for this quarter, the contributions from me and my employer amounted to a bit over $4,000. The balance at the end of the quarter was $4,000 LOWER Than at the start of the quarter - In other words, my investments lost over $8,000 due to declines in the values as well as fees!

Jul. 30 2012 01:31 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The use of the term "betrayal" indicates the Bolshevik roots of the scribblers who write such nonsense.The truth is, the so-called "middle class" was a temporary post-WWII phenomenon that existed only for as long as Germany and Japan were flat on their backs, and Russia, China and India remained under Communist and Socialist control. Once our natural competitors arose from the rubble, and as soon as Communism fell out of use, our workers here began to feel competition as well more automation.

The "Middle Class" only existed from 1948 to 2008, a mere 60 years. A blip of history. We are now back down to the normal state of struggling for subsistance, which has been the normal state for most of human history and pre-history. We work to eat, if we are lucky to be healthy enough to work.

Jul. 30 2012 01:29 PM
joe from nearby

If "corporations are people," can Mitt be charged with murder?

Jul. 30 2012 01:23 PM

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