Let's reboot the American Dream!

Three decades of Reaganomics has left half of our entire nation in poverty. Thanks to economic policies that only benefit the one percent, nearly one fifth of all Americans live below the federal poverty line, and another 32 percent are officially low-income. And, those statistics would be even worse if we weren't using an economic measure that is stuck in the 1950s. The federal poverty live was originally calculated based on the price of food six decades ago, but it hasn't kept up with real costs.

Just since Reagan took office, food prices have doubled, housing prices have gone up three-fold, medical expenses are six times higher, and college tuition costs eleven times what it did in the 1950s. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of three has to take in at least $48,000 dollars a year just to break even, but half of our country struggles to get by on far less than that. While those at the top rake in an ever-expanding share of all income, more than one third of our nation is working harder for less money. And, our out-dated poverty measure means that they aren't even eligible for a little financial assistance.

When we talk about making the rich pay their fair share, the right-wing screams of socialism and class warfare. Yet, they have no logical defense for an economic system that provides billions in tax breaks for the wealthy, but denies a living wage and a little help to the average working American. Reaganomics has devastated our middle class, stolen our retirements, and saddled our children with a trillion dollars in student loan debt. The only class warfare here is the one being waged by the rich against everyday Americans. The myth of trickle-down has been debunked, and the truth is that we need a new era of shared prosperity. It's time to take back our economy and reboot the American Dream.


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 7 weeks ago

Chuck, what Thom, Gary & I have been advocating is a system where welfare is no longer needed.

Welfare sucks. It's demeaning, disheartening and depressing, getting any kind of government assistence. The stigma unfairly attached to it doesn't help. Been there, done that. Not recently, thank goodness. But nothing would make me happier than to see welfare become obsolete; not because of poor people gettng screwed but because it simply isn't needed any longer. - AIW

ChicagoMatt 9 years 5 weeks ago

"Yet, they have no logical defense for an economic system that provides billions in tax breaks for the wealthy, but denies a living wage and a little help to the average working American."

Therein lies one of the main differences in thinking between a left and right-minded person. Not taking money from someone, to me, is not the same as giving money to someone else. The only problem I see with this statement is, why aren't the poor getting tax breaks too?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 5 weeks ago

chicagomatt -- the poor pay no income taxes.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 5 weeks ago

Matt, not taking money from someone can indeed be the same as giving money to someone else, when the money not taken is in the form of tax breaks for someone too rich to need them; tax breaks that wind up being financed via higher taxes on someone not so well off. In my book, that's tantamount to theft.

Meanwhile the only way to eliminate the need for welfare is to have a society with no rich and no poor! - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 5 weeks ago

AIW -- How many people do you think are reading blogs this old? I would like to put a finer point on what you said. I would say we could eliminate the need for welfare if our society had no super-rich or peolple in poverty. It seems the less inspirational for anyone to reply to any blog when one says things like "a 30 to 1 ratio of CEO to median worker is okay, but a 300 to 1 ratio will destroy an economy". I, however, was inspired to write this comment by something Richard Sullivan (ich denke) said on the Bill Maher show. Richard Sullivan is a gay repug that Bill often has on his show. Richard Sullivan said that liberals did not want equal opportunity they wanted equal outcomes.

Also, there is a non-linearity in what you say about taxes. The way the data seems to stack up is to have tax rates (like 92%) on the rich so that the lower incomes pay more in taxes (happily). Also, incidentally, the rich pay less in taxes. My explanation for this phenomenon is as follows. The rich see that 91% tax rate and look vigourously for a way to avoid it. The govt says I have a loophole for you; build a factory in the US and/or pay your workers more. In this scenario, long term greed starts to look better.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist
From Screwed:
"Once again, Thom Hartmann hits the bull’s eye with a much needed exposé of the so-called ‘free market.’ Anyone concerned about the future of our nation needs to read Screwed now."
Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network and author of A Time For Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen