With unemployment too high, economic growth too low, and the gap between the rich and poor widening, the American Dream is hurting. Adding to the gloom is the polarization in Washington, where even a simple task like raising the country’s debt ceiling nearly led to economic cataclysm this summer.
It is the primary liberal argument that America’s primary economic problem is growing income inequality. For three decades, in this view, the rich have grown richer while middle-class incomes have stagnated.
State governments across the United States are just a few months into their fiscal years and already many fear that tax revenues are running short of forecasts. This is getting to be an annual ritual. Officials in New York, California, Florida and Washington this year have all expressed concerns about the outlook.
In the run-up to the 2012 elections, the federal government is ordering that 248 counties and other political jurisdictions provide bilingual ballots to Hispanics and other minorities who speak little or no English.
December marks the fourth anniversary of the start of the Great Recession. The nation has become a different place during that period: Poverty has worsened, young Americans are being hit hard by unemployment, and government debt has skyrocketed.
Bob Baschoff used to work for a bank, commanding a corner office and a six-figure salary that allowed his family to enjoy a comfortable life in the wealthy lakefront village of Lake Bluff. All of that is gone now.
In his jobs speech earlier this month, President Barack Obama spoke eloquently of a time when Americans felt that hard work invariably paid off. We "believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share."