Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The American dream

From page A4 | January 08, 2014 | 15 Comments

For President Obama the American dream seems to be to take from those who have spent their lives working, saving and paying taxes and giving their money to those who are merely whining. This means doubling Medicare payments for those above a certain income level. It means giving Obama phones — free cell phones with 250 minutes — to millions, including the homeless. It means taking away health care from 6 million who bought the insurance policies on the open market. It means charging the young and healthy more than the old and chronically ill. It means raising the cost for seniors on the Medicare Advantage plan and trying to eliminate their plan altogether.

For Democratic pollster Jim Moore it means building a winery on his Camino property without having to pay impact fees.

For Bill Center it’s no more subdivisions, no matter how well designed they are and how near to the core of facilities.

For Jack Sweeney it’s more commute buses and maybe a light rail extension to El Dorado Hills.

For Supervisor Ray Nutting it’s ripping up the railroad tracks west of Shingle Springs to make a hiking trail. Who needs light rail?

William Damon, an education professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, identified who originated the term, the American dream:

“But as James Truslow Adams in his 1931 history ‘The Epic of America’ wrote, it was ‘not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.’ It was the freedom to seek and pursue one’s own path. Most important, it was freedom to follow one’s conscience without constraints from government authorities.”

Immigrants past and present know exactly what the American dream is, starting with those Americans who emigrated to California and Oregon Territory by wagon train, or by ship and continuing with those who flooded Ellis Island in the 19th and 20th centuries and those who crossed our southern border. Or those who arrived from India, China or Japan. These are the people who have kept the frontier spirit alive. These are the people daring enough to come to a new land and learn a new language and become part of a new culture.

We know they are ambitious and wish to make a good living. Some do very well. But the real attraction of the American dream is not free cell phones, wider highways, better transportation or free contraceptives. As one youthful immigrant from India told Damon: “I think  that it comes back to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the fact that if you really have a dream and you work hard, you can achieve it.”

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 15 comments

  • James E.January 07, 2014 - 11:31 am

    The American dream existed until January 2009. It was then that House and Senate leaders (plus Newt) met and agree they would vote NO on everything the president supported. Goodbye American dream.

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  • In EldoradoJanuary 07, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Great article Mountain Demo. The American Dream is not completely dead, our Royal family who resides in the White House stills gets to live it even if others don't. After 2 weeks in Hawaii and at an added cost of $800,000.00 King Obama has now let Queen Michelle spend a couple extra lavish days in there as his personal birthday present to her. Problem is, he's not paying for the added $800,000.00 cost of Air Force 1, we the taxpayer's are. Air Force 1 has become Michelle's personal taxi how many times now over the last 5 years???. The House and Senate leaders should be saying NO, matter of fact, they should be saying HELL NO to everything the King wants. Keep those NO's coming, Good job!.

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  • MartinJanuary 08, 2014 - 8:17 am

    A perfect example of the Ant and the Grasshopper: The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.. CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green ...' Occupy the Anthill stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the SEIU group singing, We shall overcome. Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper's sake, while he damns the ants. President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush 43, President Bush 41, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight…. Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share. Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper. The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again. The grasshopper is found dead in a Drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful neighborhood. The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it. MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2014 and 2016.

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  • EvelynJanuary 08, 2014 - 8:28 am


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  • cookie65January 08, 2014 - 9:13 am

    Après moi, le déluge

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  • PollockerJanuary 08, 2014 - 9:15 am

    I totally agree with you, Martin. Does anyone actually believe we are supposed to have equal outcomes without equal work? On a personal level, every other one of my many siblings (ages 45-62) is middle-class and have always been employed. The other half are druggies/drunks who have rarely worked, have multiple illegitimate (all low income, of course) children (who, guess what, also have illegitimate children), and who live off the American taxpayer. And yes, they do have Obama phones AND smart phones! Do I feel sorry for them and think they need even more rescuing? Hell no. Our lousy parents and my sibs' repeated stupid choices as adults has caused them to be low-income disasters. Does this make me a selfish conservative Republican? I don't think so. Like many conservatives, I'm generous with my time and my money, which I work hard to earn. But am I interested in paying more? No.............

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  • PatriceJanuary 08, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    There is not a child born that is "illegitimate." Out of wedlock, yes, illegitimate, no.

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  • kggJanuary 08, 2014 - 9:30 am

    the mt. dem writes: "It means giving Obama phones — free cell phones with 250 minutes — to millions, including the homeless." kgg writes: check out for the truth regarding cell phones for poor folks. it corrects the lie that is included in the article - the fact is that this program was started under the administration of ronald reagan, and enlarged under the administrations of bill clinton and george w. bush. the mit. dem writes: "It means taking away health care from 6 million who bought the insurance policies on the open market." kgg writes: another lie - the insurance has been changed, not taken away. and by the way, in another article in this edition, your publisher wrote that 5 million people lost health care. better get your lies straignt.

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  • PollockerJanuary 08, 2014 - 10:36 am

    Wrong! What do you call it when the insurance you liked and wanted to keep is cancelled ONLY because it didn't comply with new government standards? Then you're told you can get reinsured, but oh man, it's going to cost you a lot more unless you're poor enough to get subsidies or go on Medicaid? OR, wow, the president is so generous and allows you to instead get an awful catastrophic plan instead of the plan you wanted? You don't call that losing your coverage? They were not replaced. They were booted and told to go on a new plan, usually for more money. Did the millions who have already lost their plans simply get a new plan at the same price? No. (And please don't say they were offered better plans at a better price! In whose opinion?) Millions HAVE lost their plans. Tens of millions more will lose their plans with their employers in 2014 because those plans do not comply with Obamacare! People will have to choose new plans (at a higher cost) or go on an exchange. How can that possibly be OK? Where in the world do you get your information?

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  • MartinJanuary 08, 2014 - 11:06 am

    Another problem with our system is unemployment insurance compensation. Extended compensation is a job killer not a job maker. I have a younger friend that was on extended unemployment compensation for a total of 90 plus weeks; as soon as he lost it he found a job. So don’t tell me that people that want to work will run out and find another job as soon as they lose their job, it don’t happen especially if their job didn’t pay big bucks they will take what they can get and do jobs on the side for cash as needed for extra income. Why work if you can survive on handouts??? This isn’t an isolated case most of the low income people that went on extended compensation used it all as if it were paid vacation time.

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  • Harley RyanJanuary 08, 2014 - 3:31 pm

    Sounds to me like the author of this editorial is the whiner. You need to understand that some problems require proactive government leadership. You can either sit around and complain about more and more homeless people popping up, or you can at least try a pilot program that will get them off the streets. Most of them are where they are because of addiction. Provide treatment and housing and something as simple as a cell phone and maybe, just maybe, some of them will be able to see the light and apply for a fast food job and pay into the system. You can either sit around and complain, or spend what amounts to a drop in the bucket to at least try to show these people the way.

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  • MartinJanuary 08, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    You don't have a large enough bucket; place a bucket under a leaky faucet and see how fast it fills up.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 08, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    California Homeless Crisis Grows As State Is Reluctant To Use Powerful Law "...Green, 57, started feeding homeless people ..." At Sac City Council meeting.."She complained that the city, which used to budget almost a million dollars for homeless programs, spent $800,000 on a 56-foot 10,000-pound aluminum rabbit artwork that greets travelers at Sacramento International Airport." Leap the bunny s link next post.

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  • Fran DuchampJanuary 08, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    Bunny's big leap brings buzz to Sacramento airport most artists I know would have rather seen the money go to a program for the homeless...I guess it depends on what you believe.

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  • Harley RyanJanuary 10, 2014 - 9:39 am

    I actually disagree with you on that Fran. That bunny may seem pricey, but compared to the overall amount spent on the airport, it's nothing. One of the things Sac has struggled with is it's rep as a cowtown...The bunny may seem trivial, but it gets people talking and money flowing. Appearance is important. With that said, there are plenty of places to trim the BS out of the budget and fund programs for homeless. I'd much rather live in a bunny town, than a cowtown. JK

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