Is The American Dream Dead?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tom Chatham via,

The American dream is not a thing in physical terms but an idea that lives or dies with certain beliefs in society. Can it die? Yes it can if those beliefs are purged from the conscience of society. This is what Jefferson meant by watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots from time to time.

Many people bemoan the loss of the high paying jobs and the mansions and swimming pools we all want to have. They look around them and see their dreams of easy living collapsing and the debt piling up about to drown them. They see life becoming harder every day and society becoming more dangerous.

The American dream is not about houses, swimming pools, expensive vacations or fancy cars. These are all benefits of that dream. They are the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. The American dream is about the freedom to earn those things if you are smart enough and work hard enough.

The American dream is about freedom. The ability to live the way you desire and to be all you can be in society. It is the freedom to build and accumulate and make something of yourself. It is the freedom to go from rags to riches in one generation because of your will and abilities. It is the freedom to own your own property and use it to better your position in society.

The American dream is about the freedom to walk into a clearing with a hoe and shovel and build a farm. It is about the freedom to walk into a stand of timber with nothing but an axe and an idea and build a town. It is about the freedom to design a new machine from your imagination and build a factory to use it.

For the dream to die freedom must also die. As long as you have the freedom to do your best the dream is always possible. The slow loss of personal freedom over the past century has led to the diminishing of the possible. We no longer see the possibilities because that ability is being taken away from us. Tyranny is the lack of possibilities forced on the population. You can no longer be all you can be because you are constrained by others that want to limit those possibilities.

When your freedom is constrained by those that are willing to use force to limit those possibilities, you must defend that freedom with force to preserve it. That is when the tree of liberty gets watered. That is when the dream is reborn to flourish once again.

The American dream can die but only when we fail to water it and let it die. If Americans want to eat cake then they first must bake it. Only then will they be able to treat themselves to the icing on it that we all love so much.

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algol_dog's picture

The American dream will surely die if Sanders gets in. Once the populist gets use to sucking the sugar tit of socialism, the Country will never go back. 

38BWD22's picture



Yes.  Freedom & responsability are key.  Much as I like Bern beating Shillary!TM in NH, he could kill the Dream with his Socialist nostrums.

Four (more?) years of Socialism would probably do it.

"Adios America."

NoDebt's picture

Guys, I don't know if you will see the following fact as a comfort or a nightmare but here goes:

90% of what government does is run by the "Deep State".  It is not answerable to anyone, least of all elected politicians.

You are voting, at best, to play in the margins of the reamaining 10%.


LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) NoDebt Feb 9, 2016 10:57 PM

You can't have a massive, all powerful, government if people/businesses are allowed to prosper and be successful.  Therefore, this government strangles people and businesses until they fail, many becoming dependent on government.

COSMOS's picture

Its not the socialism that is doing us in its the MILITARISM.

The Military gets all the social spending.  Put your blame in the right place Dochen.

And really thinking about it the American Dream is going on nice and strong, its all about subjuagting another country under the yoke of the dollar. That Transpacific trade deal is going along nicely and so have regime changes except in SYria.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) COSMOS Feb 10, 2016 1:15 AM

"The Military gets all the social spending.  Put your blame in the right place..."

Please present your nubers that prove that the military gets "all the social spending."

Mine are from the IRS:  The mIlitary gets roughly 20% of the federal budget.  Military gets a tiny portion of state budgets and zero percent of local government budgets.  Social spending (wealth transfers to people who want other people's money - the FSA) get roughly 66% of the federla budget.  State and local budgets have high social spending numbers as well.

Last time I checked 66% was over three times greater than 20%.  If I'm not mistaken this is still true.  Therefore the FSA, budget-wise, is a problem that is more than three times greater in magnitude than the military.

Put your blame in the right place.


12357111317's picture

The IRS collects money. The IRS does not spend money. Congress spends money.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are not in the Federal Budget.  They are in their own budgets.

States and Municipalities spend most of their money on infrastructure, police and fire protection, and schools.

giovanni_f's picture

About who collects the money and how exactly it is stolen from us are central topics for government parasites and the politicians living in symbiosis with them - but these are not even side issues in the context of this discussion. The American dream was a dream and a reality only to the extent of the residual self image being unaware of its body being plugged into the power plant circuitry. For billions of people on this planet the american dream continues to be a nightmare. However, looking at American dream resorts such as Detroit, Baltimore, Newark, e.g., it sure appears that the incubus inflicted on others finally comes home to roost.

And now back to TV, you obese motherfuckers.


ali_baba's picture

Man zerohedge was down for a while yesterday. I'm just glad it's back up cause I was missing my 'blame everyone but the joo' fix.
I start getting very hateful towards joos when I'm without someone to deflect all the shit going on in the real world.

Ghordius's picture

+1 from there: "...they don't want a population of Citizens capable of critical thinking..."

critical thinking starts with the careful separation of facts, opinions and beliefs

intelligence is optional, up to a certain point. then intelligence is, in a nutshell, just the capability of entertaining simultanously a number of ideas that still conflict with each other

if you are just engaged in critical thinking and keep to facts, first and above all... you don't even need to be smart, and you don't even need to be judgemental

take the critical thinking away.... and it's all opinions and beliefs


847328_3527's picture

Job cuts soar 218% in January


Job cuts soared 218% in January, according to career placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Layoffs were particularly heavy for people working at energy and retail companies.

12357111317's picture

Guess we need an Expatriate Chinese day.  And a French and British Empires day.  My personal favorite is Columbus Day - the day glorifying Spain's holocaust of way WAY WAY more than 6 million Native Americans, and Spain's introduction also of black slavery to the Americas.  Plenty of sh*t then, and just as much now.

Slomotrainwreck's picture

37% of government revenue comes from individual income tax. Corporate is around 10%. Of course on the debit side, there's the $17T owed to the fed.

detached.amusement's picture

lol, "owed to the fed."  prove that's constitutional!

Ghordius's picture

"Please present your numbers that prove that the military gets "all the social spending." "

the numbers themselves are easily available, but they are often meaningless if not put in context and proportions

COSMOS makes a case that the US is spending way too much for the military while some Americans are heard moaning that it's spending too much for social issues

the rough proportions are that the US spends as much for military as the whole rest of the world. if you break that further down, the EU28 spend three times as much as Russia, the EUR19 double the amount of Russia

meanwhile, the EU28 spend as much for social issues as the rest of the world taken together. you see the parallels?

COSMOS has a point, regardless on how you judge it, a completely different affair altogether, and you address it with strange splits about federal/local budgets. fail

COSMOS's point might be more easily accessible if stated in this way: that the US throws roughly some 600 billions per year out of the window for militarism that could stay in your pockets... or be spent for social issues

yes, you are right, the US social spending numbers are way greater then the military spending numbers. take 2014 as example (only federal spending), Social Security is roughly 850 billions. Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and subsidies 830 billions. Safety net programs, the core of social spending, 370 billions. interest on debt (in 2014 it was 13T) was 229 billions

COSMOS might make the point that there is a difference between money put in pockets of pensioners (SS), money spent for medical bills of people, money spent on the poor, money spent on debt interest and... money spent for the most expensive military program the planet ever witnessed, fuelling the biggest MIC evah

in this context: China started in December with the shedding of FX reserves in the tune of 100 billion dollars... per month. those are US Treasuries that have to be bought by someone. possibly by some serious financial elbow twisting

if this goes on this year, this way, it would be a stupendous amount of 1'200 billions (half of their reserves). put this in context with federal tax income of 3'000 billion and total spending of 3'500 billion

meanwhile, Putin is running circles around this with his (increased) 70 billions per year. and bombarding Aleppo this very moment, which the collateral damage of creating more refugees, which then cause more divisions among european countries, and make Turkey's, Lebanon's and Jordan's situation more difficult

throwing money at problems is easy... until it isn't anymore


LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Ghordius Feb 10, 2016 6:05 AM

Thinking people make the case that paying people to NOT work at a rate of over three times the rate of paying the military to do R&D, design/build expensive stuff, then blow things up is the problem with any economy that attempts to do it.

Sure, slash the military.  But slash the FSA even more. Able bodied people must work for their food and shelter rather than insisting that a government point their guns at their neighbors, demanding that their neighbors pay for them to sit on their asses.


MasterControl's picture

So your saying get rid of the military and then everything will be fine.

Dr. Engali's picture

I do not understand why people don't get this point. As long as they play by their rules nothing will change and it will continue to get worse for the sheep. Nothing short of bloody revolution will change things and even then a new crop of corrupt miscreants will rise to the top and the process will repeat itself.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I turned on the radio last night in my car as I was hanging out with my dog while Mrs. Rand went into the store.  I heard the end of what was clearly a fairly lengthy discussion of whether Manning is the best QB ever.

stacking12321's picture

haha, you have a dog and a wife! figures.

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife


WezTheJuic's picture

What do you think is being applied right now?


The bigger question is, as I would also ask towards those many.


"Are you done?"

PhoQ's picture

I submit that the US officially recognized the death of 'The American Dream' when nearly every state realized that they needed to have a government operated lottery.

This told the plebes that although they no longer have much hope of applying themselves and creating a better life, they still have a chance by applying themselves to the serious pursuit of the golden lotto ticket.

Everybody needs a dream. So if we can no longer dream about raising ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we can now dream about raising ourselves up by the bootstraps of millions of other innumerate boobs buying their own share of the new 'American Dream.'

ebworthen's picture

Agreed, not to mention that the American Dream is already dead.

What wood pile has this guy Chatham been sleeping under?

And kids, it doesn't matter who you vote for.

Trump/Sanders 2016!!!

Cliff Claven Cheers's picture

Bullshit.  Debt is an asset and the more assets you have the better off you are, just ask Yellen & and the honorable Pete Stark.



Pete Stark Blows Up Over National Debt

monk27's picture

Nice one ! Not only the American Dream is dead, it's already stinking...

HardAssets's picture

The American Dream isn't dead . . . because the human dream of Freedom will never die. It is part of human nature that the deluded 'puppet masters' will never erase. (Their fantasy is to actually destroy this human characteristic at the physical/medical level.)

38BWD22's picture




I respectfully disagree.  IMO, it makes a big differences is Hillary is elected vs. Trump.

spartadiah43's picture

i will not allow any one or anything to kill the dream , fuck those losers who think that by imploding this nation it will kill the dream , this nation has never been the dream , it has been in the deepest parts of who i am and what i am about , those men and women who gave their al lto help create this nation would be ashamed to see us giving up just because the odds seem to be against us , long live the dream and fuck the scum who are trying to snuff it out ,

True Blue's picture

Always cut the cards.

Affecting %10 is still better than nothing...

HopefulCynic's picture

Clueless all of you the American Dream is a DREAM not reality it never was. The US was hijacked in the Federalist Papers and before the signing of the Constitution. You are all delusional it is time to give you a wake up call, forgrt about dreams, and if you have a dream that you want it to become a reality, the USA must first fall completely, don't worry it is going to be sooner than you realise it :)

CC Lemon's picture

The "dream" did exist for a short time. After wwII when all the world's factories were destroyed and all you had to do was work a factory job and own your own home in a nice neighborhood, and do OK on a single income.

But that was a one off event, never to happen again. Kind of a growth spurt during puberty. The  U.S. is in late middle age, fat as fuck and has about eighteen kinds of cancer.

And the house is being invaded by cockroaches, rats and bedbugs, and buying pesticides is illegal.

We are so fucked.

PacOps's picture

I feel & think we are already past the tipping point. Willing to be wrong but its past chain pullin time.

HopefulCynic's picture

Yes I think the population should have had this discussion in 1775, take every mason and ashkenazi lover out of the equation, this includes the oh so precious T. Jefferson and George Washington, who admitted at knowing that the Bavarian illuminatti (The Khazar created club in order to recruit powerfull goy) was in control of Masonry. The US has't had a single honorable day in its entire history, just: killing, thieving, slavery, maiming, etc...

spartadiah43's picture

people like you who think like you do should have been aborted long ago , you are a waste of human refuse and should have been lone ago had your ass tossed into a chipper and thrown to the dogs ,

shovelhead's picture

The dogs would walk away from that pile.

HopefulCynic's picture

Truth is uncomftrable and painful most of the time, I know, but it is better than living in an illusion. The more the truth hurts your sensibilities the more you will repudiate it and thsoe who say it. You talk about waste, and don't even relise it that illusions are the biggest waste. Go jump of a building, you will do the world a favour, just like if the Mayflower had sunk. 

Moustache Rides's picture

Are you saying it's time to flush this turd? ; )

obelisks's picture

oh come on!  what do you mean if Sanders gets in? The damage  has already well and truly been done under Obama. the positive attitudes required  to  reach people's dreams died ages ago.I  am not American but I lived and worked in  Los Angeles in 1979 and the attitudes then compared to now couldn't be more different. 

algol_dog's picture

"When the people find they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic."

                 _ Benjamin Franklin

Seek_Truth's picture

Ben was right.

But Jeff Spicoli interpreted it this way:

"What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto - we'll just be bogus too! Get it?"

acetinker's picture

Ya' know, I can't think of a single time the MSM had anything good to say about Sean Penn.  Maybe that means something.

Even more revealing is that you and I, even if backwardly, actually agree on something.

Or don't we?

Bobbyrib's picture

Yeah, but Algol_Dog seems to be for his own brand of government spending. He believes if Sanders gets in, the American dream is dead. The American dream is already dead and has been for years.

More to Ben Franklin's point when the corporations (not just TFA) learned they could voted themselves billions in benefits, the American dream died. $19,000,000,000,000 in debt and the American dream is alive? OK, yeah sure. It was dead at $8,000,000,000,000 (that was roughly $150,000 per TAX PAYER) and it's a gutted corpse at this point. At this point it is probably $150,000 per person and half the country pays no income tax.

Hell, GE did not pay any taxes a few years ago and was subsidized by government contracts.

algol_dog's picture

"We have two American flags always: One for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, anarchy."

                   Henry Miller _


                   Pick your poison ...

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

They will run out of other peoples money given our debt and unfunded liabilities.  The true definition of a false promise.

Memedada's picture

It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. 

Because the owners, the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now, the BIG owners! The Wealthy… the REAL owners! The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. 

Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want:

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that!

You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place! It's a big club, and you ain’t in it! You, and I, are not in the big club.

By the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means, continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about you….they don’t give a fuck about you… they don’t give a FUCK about you.

They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s’ being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” 

- George Carlin (one of the few Americans I’ve ever seen who ‘got it’)

I keep seeing ZH’er blaming ‘socialism’ for the ills of US today. There’s nothing socialist about being owned by big business – it’s called fascism. And I know a lot of corporate propagandist have attempted to describe fascism as a left-wing ideology. It’s obviously not, it’s the merging of corporate and state power. The state (as you know/see it) is basically just a façade of the real powers in US – the deep state – the owners. US INC. Fascism is natural outcome of unregulated capitalism – the (at first) slow accumulation of capital by private owners accelerates over time. Until all (as today) productivity gains ends in the hands of the 0,01%. And in the 0,01% there are no public figures and especially no servants (politicians). They have all got their power/capital through capitalism – and monopoly capitalism is still capitalism. Crony capitalism is still capitalism. The defining aspect being (as George Carlin knew) who owns the shit-show?  





Seek_Truth's picture

Nice rant.

Much more succinctly:

Edward Bernays (1891-1995).

Balfour Declaration, circa 1917.

Thanks for playing.