The American Dream – what does it stand for today?

It seems to me that a few bankers have managed to hijack and contaminate the American Dream. To them it means looking after number one at the expense of others, which is as far from the true meaning as you can get. And the price for that is being paid by Middle America with their drastically reduced spending power.

Americans demanding big banks and Wall Street stop spending millions in taxpayer dollars to lobby against financial reform.
Americans demanding big banks and Wall Street stop spending millions in taxpayer dollars to lobby against financial reform.


How long will it take before those millions of middle Americans hit by the crisis get their spending power back? And what will happen to the US economy in the meantime?

Let’s face it ,we need to get Middle America up and running again since middle class spending power is the backbone of an economy. You only need to look at Africa in the past to see what happens without it. But now with African middle classes growing, and spending more, their economies are improving.

Can not understand how those US bankers can live with themselves. Not least since many of them attend church on a regular basis. The bible obviously doesn’t have any influence on them but neither, it seems, has the materialistic point of view of wanting their children to grow up in a thriving economy. Instead short term thinking seems to have completely taken over their entire lives.

“We need to put an end to misleading and dishonest practices of banks and institutions regarding credit and debit cards or mortgage, auto and payday loans. Americans don’t choose to be victimized by mysterious fees, changing terms, and pages and pages of fine print”, president Obama said recently. And he is right since much of the blame for this recession can be put on “the irresponsibility of large financial institutions on Wall Street that gambled on risky loans and complex financial products, seeking short-term profits and big bonuses with little regard for long-term consequences.

And since neither going to church nor materialistic common sense seem to have any impact on Wall Street, I unfortunately believe the only way to change their behaviour is to legislate. To avoid a repeat of last year’s meltdown that put the US economy on the brink of collapse, the House of Representatives approval last Friday of the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression is most likely a step in the right direction?

It’s lamentable that the only way of stopping Wall Street looking after number one at the expense of others seems to be legislation But systematic risks in the economy and dangerous financial products need to be policed somehow. And to get the middle classes up and running again a financial watchdog agency is most likely essential.

One American commenting on Reuters spoke for many Americans when he said: “A Consumer Financial Protection Agency is just the start of the regulatory oversight this country needs to put in place to get Wall Street back under control. The recent behavior and excesses of Wall Street are an embarassment and shame on this country. Anyone working for an investment/banking firm who has benefitted either directly or indirectly from the Big Bail and who is making over $500,000 this year needs to be turned out of their homes, their homes and possessions sold or donated and tax them at the rate the Europeans are taxing their financial criminals this year. Wall Street has become a blight and cancer on the landscape and needs to be brought under control. Middle America is no longer buying their schtick. Even their bought and paid for minions in the US Congress are finding it impossible to peddle their lies. “

As far as I’m concerned innovation and development should be encouraged as well as driving the economy forward into another exciting new decade of success. But risky schemes that threaten the entire economy should not.

Since Wall Street doesn’t seem to learn from their mistakes, change and move on, something needs to be done to protect the middle classes. Otherwise we will have to be content with their spending power being reduced on a continuos basis while their counterparts in Asia and the Middle East increasingly spend more and more money. Doesn’t Wall Street understand that such a development will long term be the end of the American dream? And, worse from their point of view, make sure that “Wall Street” moves to the other side of the world, leaving most US bankers behind.

(Photo: Flickr – SEIU International)


6 thoughts on “The American Dream – what does it stand for today?

  1. Catarina, well said!
    As a second generation American I agree things are out of control on Wall Street. I do not believe that more regulation will solve the problem, the over and under regulation see-saw never seems to make anything better. In fact anytime the government sticks their hands into anything it seems to get worse long before it gets better. I believe it is very hard to kill the American dream; it is bigger than us all.
    As fare as Wall Street go’s, the middle class funded their rise and will in the end will watch as they fall, I see Middle America moving away from the fancy sales pitches and the promise of a quick buck. I see us funding the future, more green initiatives and renewable energy. We see ourselves evolving and making our way out of this time and place into a stronger nation.

    Catarina, keep the article coming good stuff!

    1. Bob I hope you are right. Not so sure though. But somehow you Americans have to get together and get Wall Street under control because if not ,their behavior will speed up the end of the US as an empire. And America will bring Europe with it.

  2. I agree that the banking system needs to be completely overhauled.

    I continue to be amazed by the banks' claim that they need to pay massive bonuses again this year in order to retain talent. What talent? These are the same grasping, unscrupulous people that caused the bubble in the first place… They should be encouraged to leave (by paying them less!), not to stay.

    Those receiving the obscenely large bonuses for selling what they knew to be dangerously insecure assets (no matter how they named them), should be required to repay what was received from this source over the past, say, 5 years in order that they, too, feel some of the pain.

    It's time to reignite the sense of community spirit that made countries great, and move away from the sense of "Me" that is moving us steadily towards collapse as the rights of every individual increasingly supersede those of society.

  3. It has been proved again-2 that total FREE MARKET is utopia like SOCIALISM as the accountability to Public totally finishes.The Monopolistic situation & greed has rocked the whole world because there were no timely checks. It is impossible to believe that rot happened overnight & none inside banks ever had a Inkling to it. This shows GANGING.

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