Our nation is entering a new year with rapidly declining optimism that the American dream is more than just a pipe dream. A December New York Times poll revealed that while 64% of the respondents remain confident in their ability to succeed, that proportion is the lowest recorded over the past two decades.
More than 80% held a positive view as recently as 2011 and 2000. Even during the depth of the 2009 financial crisis 72% of Americans believed they could get ahead through hard work. While the new survey indicates that a bare majority — 52% — said that the country’s economic system is fair and gives everyone the opportunity to succeed, 60% reported that their household incomes have stagnated. And 54% blamed government over-regulation for interfering with economic growth.
Yet paradoxically, even as we tend to trust government — irrespective of party dominance — less and less, we somehow continue to grant it more and more control over our lives, choices, and fortunes.
The examples are endless. Choices and economies afforded by free market capitalism are being supplanted by preferential taxpayer and ratepayer subsidized crony capitalist deals premised upon leveling the playing field for otherwise non-competitive but politically-ordained Green energy charities.
Incentives and rewards for risk-willing private entrepreneurs are disparaged by messages that “you didn’t build that”; and that “some people receive more rewards than they fairly deserve.” Exceptionalism and income inequality are then represented as problems government should correct. This concept, after all, isn’t new. As Karl Marx, advocated, “From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.”
American exceptionalism and prosperity are being discredited on the international sphere as well, with the same proposed wealth redistribution remedy. The President has committed payment of billions of dollars to less developed countries in retribution for alleged climate damage caused by our CO2 emissions.
Never mind that contrary to alarmist predictions of failed UN climate models global mean temperatures have been flat over the past 18 years and counting despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Nor has the rise of oceans accelerated since the end of the last Little Ice Age in the mid-19th century. Incidentally, that was before the Industrial Revolution brought smoke stacks and SUVs onto the planetary stage.
Nevertheless, the EPA’s regulatory war on coal premised upon the same nonsense is accelerating with great fervor and fanfare. At the same time that many prominent scientists predict a prolonged period of global cooling, new regulations are expected to force coal plant closures which may boost utility prices for grids serving one-third of the U.S. population by as much as 25%. Such added cost burdens will weigh heaviest upon economically disadvantaged residents in the predominately liberal Midwest and Northeast during cold winter months.
We are witnessing a dramatic shift away from governance by three co-equal federal branches wisely established by our founding fathers to dictates of an all-powerful executive office and its surrogate alphabet departments and agencies. Apart from fundamental constitutional infringements the consequences are staggering.
After finally discovering what was inside those thousands of pages of Obamacare legislation we are finding much not to like in that package of goodies. On top of that, we, the gullible public, are ridiculed by the plan’s chief architect as being to be too stupid to know better.
We are also being lied to with impunity about other issues. Yes, our government did transfer guns to Mexican drug cartels which murdered U.S. border agents. No, the deadly terror attack on our Benghazi consulate was not a spontaneous mob event prompted by an offensive video. “What at this point does it really matter?” Well maybe because the person who asked obviously wants to become our next Commander in Chief.
Meanwhile, as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran continue to expand their offensive arsenals, U.S. missile defense and nuclear strike capabilities are being systematically dismantled. Recent U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that North Korea and Iran will be able to launch long-range space-orbiting nuclear warhead missiles capable of reaching America within 2 years.
Much closer to home we discover that patriotic law-abiding citizens and groups are also being targeted by agencies entrusted to protect our security and interests. It is chilling to learn of politically motivated IRS rejections of conservative non-profit applicants, of the Justice Department spying on journalists, and of the NSA spying upon virtually everyone.
Such abuses of public trust violate constitutional principles, values, and protections that have shaped our nation’s greatness. A place where exceptionalism is celebrated and rewarded; where reliance upon risk-willing entrepreneurs with good free market ideas — not government — drives progress; and where unparalleled life-enriching opportunities exist for those willing to earn them. That dream, a place called America, remains very real.
A version of this article appeared at: Newsmax