How To Turn The American Dream Into A Nightmare
Religion & Liberty Online

How To Turn The American Dream Into A Nightmare

If one decides to destroy the American Dream, there are a few steps that would be necessary.

    1. Put Big Government in charge. The average American can’t figure out his or her own dreams, let alone what it would take to make them a reality.
    2. Tell Americans that without the government, the American Dream is hopeless.
    3. Produce a lengthy document about the American Dream. Leave out the word “freedom,” let alone the idea of freedom.
    4. Let people know that “freedom” (without actually using the word) is quite harmful. Don’t worry, thought, Big Government will protect you.

If you think this sounds like China’s Little Red Book and not an American tale, you’re close to the mark. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote about in a piece called “How to revive the American dream,”.”

Michael Osburn of the The Seattle Times isn’t buying it. He sees shades of China too; not the China of today, where capitalism is making steady inroads and people are creating wealth.

The Warren and de Blasio answer for strengthening the American middle class would move us toward the old Chinese economic model. They propose having the government dictate wages, overtime, vacation and leave policies, child-care requirements, and how much men and women are paid. They would dictate tuition levels for colleges. While decrying cronyism, they want a central government empowered to decide which companies are “fair,” and only those would receive funding for research and development. According to them, rather than allowing a business to succeed — or fail — on its own merits, government should pick the winners and bail them out with the public’s money when they fail.

They oppose free markets. Instead, they’d create “fair rules” in the marketplace. Let’s cut through the code words here. They don’t want you to be free to make economic decisions. Instead, they want the power to decide what is “fair” for you. Nowhere in their list of new government services and controls is any mention of a cost to us.

The change called for here is necessary because (according to Warren and de Blasio) America no longer invests in our children. Where is the evidence for that? They further claim that “policies” that build the middle class are no longer part of American investment? What policies are those? Are they policies like free health care, food stamps, and Social Security? If so, it is clear we cannot spend our way into creating a middle class.

The government is not in the business of producing wealth, and if they are, they are doing an incredibly bad job. Osburn:

If Warren and de Blasio limited their argument to the need for government assistance to help the poorest and weakest in our society, there wouldn’t be a debate. I would agree with that. But that is not their claim. They claim that a massive expansion of federal power would help the families in the middle. Their prescription requires middle America to surrender freedom. In exchange, they say government control would improve our situation in life more than exercising our own freedom will.

Anytime the government says you need to give up freedom in order to get something in return, you should be quite skeptical. In this case, you should very loudly and with great emphasis say, “Go away! Go away and leave my freedom alone!”

Read “How big government kills the American dream” at The Seattle Times.

Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.