August 2nd, 2010
11:36 AM ET

What happened to the American dream?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/02/t1.obama.flag.jpg width=300 height=169]
Jamal Simmons
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Jamal Simmons, a former adviser to the Democratic National Committee and several Democratic candidates.

Pundits and politicians alike opine that Washington has not been focused enough on jobs, and President Obama sought to expand the jobs agenda Thursday at the National Urban League in a speech on education.

The president is right to do so, but he needs to communicate with the American public in an inspirational way about how Americans can create a better future.

In the national immigration debate, the president offers a "pathway to citizenship" for those here illegally. It is time he also offered a "pathway for citizens" to reclaim the American Dream.

Americans are clearly distressed about an unemployment rate that hovers just below 10 percent, but our anxiety is not just about jobs. In a Xavier University poll, 60 percent of respondents said it has become harder to reach the American Dream than it was for their parents' generation, and two-thirds said it will be even harder for their children.

Another 58 percent believe that America is now in decline. If the greatness of America is like sand slipping through our collective fingers at the beach, voters might be angry because Washington doesn't seem too focused on stopping it.

The national anxieties are clear. Income disparity is growing, and in addition to the millions of jobs the U.S. has lost, schools are woefully under-preparing American children for global competition.

We spend too much money buying oil from too many places that cause us too much trouble, and our dependence on it is poisoning our environment.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Allen III

    While I voted for President Obama, I have lost some of my original faith I had in him. The reason is that he has continued to allow this control over America to continue by Corporate America. Regulations badly needed for the greedy and unethical financial sector are finally being implemented but the way this tragic BP oil spill has been handled by this administration has infuriated me! It seems like he handles dealing with corporations like that with kid gloves! These corporations need to be slugged, and slugged hard! When are you going to get this dear President?

    August 3, 2010 at 4:39 am |
  2. Ruben

    If you send the mexicans back then whos going to pick the vegs. No white person will go out and pick.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  3. Jim

    Congress put a stop to it when they ended Homesteading -They could have decreased the acerage down to say 5-10 acres.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  4. naqib

    The Dems won congress in 2006... prior to that the American Dream was alive and kicking...

    Pretty much a nightmare now

    August 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  5. Augsbee

    Jamal, the problem is that way too many in D.C. and in the media don't want to recognize that businesses are in a panic waiting for President Obama's next move on taxes, that panic keeps businesses from hiring, expanding, developing. It matters not what any of you say, the panic we businesses feel on taxes is not going away, we feel they are out to get us. DC & the media fail to understand all the expenses incurred by a business and the hard work that goes into bringing in the bacon on a weekly basis to the business to pay for all expenses and when accounts receivables are down the expenses have to be paid by the owner/owners. So, as owners we always have to keep our money ready to cover the business expenses. It is not easy for owners of a barber shop, dry cleaners, auto repair shop, veterinarian, flower shop, grocery shop, hair salon, sewing factory, hardware store, air conditioner repair shop, plumber, website design studio, auto dealerships, deli, pharmacy, lighting store, furniture store, parts shop, roofers, etc... to be in panic with changes to taxes.

    August 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  6. April

    The American dream shifted from personal to corporate. Corporations saw the people flock to stores and buy stuff – they simply responded! Now it's all corporate control and you, the people, have a bigger problem than before. Greed, on any side, does not have the ability to sustain life.

    August 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm |