Q&A with Fareed Zakaria: Spending cuts aren't the answer
U.S. President Barack Obama will stay at Buckingham Palace as a guest of the Queen on his state visit to Britain.
May 25th, 2011
04:59 PM ET

Q&A with Fareed Zakaria: Spending cuts aren't the answer

As President Obama tours Europe this week, he'll find a continent suffering from slow growth and high unemployment. He'll also see the consequences of dramatic spending cuts. The argument behind these cuts is that they would generate investor confidence and, in turn, economic growth.  So far, the cuts have largely just produced pain, explains Fareed Zakaria. I sat down with him to discuss this and what lessons President Obama should learn from his Europe trip.

Amar C. Bakshi: Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, When Austerity Fails , arguing that sharp government cuts in spending didn’t work so well in Europe – they didn’t significantly improve economic growth or increase employment. What do you make of this?

Fareed Zakaria: We’ve conflated two different problems. There is the problem of the deficit, which in many European countries was astronomical and had to be dealt with. And there is the problem of growth and employment.

In the case of Greece, the debt was just so huge that not to deal with it would make it impossible for Greece to borrow money. The Germans would be pouring aid into a bottomless hole. So you had to deal with getting the fiscal balance sheet in order in some of these countries.

But people have been making the almost magical argument in other countries that by getting your budget deficit in order you will create growth, jobs and economic vitality in the short-term.

In the long run, obviously, you can make that case. Having your fiscal house in order and having a more manageable macro-economic future is going to be very useful in creating growth.

But in the short run spending cuts take money out of the economy. In a very weak economy, when you say “cut government spending,” what you mean is you’re laying off school teachers and you’re de-funding various programs that put money into the economy. This means you have more unemployed people that then draw unemployment benefits and don’t pay taxes. This creates a cycle with a very pernicious short-term effect.

Lots of people imagine that the effect of engaging in these draconian cuts would just create so much business confidence that it would turn things around. Again, in the long run, that’s probably a reasonable argument. But in the short run, businesses aren't investing because they see very little demand if people are not buying things. When you lay off people you don’t create more demand; you create less demand.

This is a classic case of conflating two different issues.

How would you have advised policymakers in Europe?

You had to do something about the fiscal situation. It would probably have been smarter to do some kind of restructuring or default early on so that you could get this problem out of the way.

Europeans are now prolonging the pain. This is something we do in democracies. It’s easier to prolong the pain than to force very, very sharp shocks to the system. What this means is you could end up with a very long period of very, very slow growth in Europe. In some cases like Greece it still probably won't be able to avoid either a massive infusion of new aid or a default.

What does this teach America?

In the U.S. case, the situation is somewhat similar. There are two separate issues we’re dealing with. One is the debt issue and the deficit issue. Clearly, we have a problem at two levels.

First, there is the entitlement spending problem. This is a real and huge issue. Without dealing with Medicare, the United States simply does not have a bright financial future. The number of people on Medicare and Social Security is going to double in the next 10 years. You have to deal with it.

Second, there is the problem of creeping government spending. If you look at what the government spent even on discretionary spending 10 years ago and now you know it’s up substantially. From 2000-2010, discretionary spending increased by around 6% per year on average in real terms.

Take the California budget as an example. Californians have resisted any kind of tax increases. But there’s spending in California has consistently just gone up. See George Will’s column on it . In the past six years in California, per capita government spending, adjusted for inflation, has increased nearly 20%. This is a common problem across states.

So there is that problem; then there is the problem of a weak economy now. In the short run you’re trying to create jobs. In that context, dramatic cuts in government spending further depress the economy. They put more people on unemployment insurance, which means fewer taxpayers and fewer secondary and tertiary jobs created by the service sector. There will be fewer coffee houses to service the fewer people who have jobs.

Now I share their goals on the deficit 100-percent, but what many people on the right don’t seem to realize is that in the short-term if you engage in dramatic deficit cutting you will actually end up with a worse deficit because you will have fewer tax revenues.

The big number in these situations is always the tax revenue number. How much money do you get in? There’s a limit to how much you can cut any one year in spending. If your revenues keep falling, you’re going to be in a tough spot.

So what should the U.S. be doing?

Learn from the European situation. It tells you exactly what we should be doing. In the short-run, we should be totally focused on the issue of employment. We should be viewing the fact that we have these unbelievably low interest rates as an opportunity to lock in these rates, borrow money, rebuild the infrastructure, invest in long-term growth and simultaneously work on a plan for the middle and long-term which takes entitlement spending into account and sets up spending caps. These caps need to really say that if spending is going to go up over inflation, we have to cut from somewhere else, raise special revenues or have some kind of process by which increases don’t happen on auto-pilot.

The markets are much more interested in America’s long-term trajectory than they are in feeling that there is an acute short-term crisis. Look at the evidence – the markets continue to lend the United States money at the lowest interest rates in history and at the lowest rates in the world. The evidence does not point to a huge financial crisis now. But the evidence is clearly that there is going to be one if we don’t deal with the medium and long-term issues.

You laid out five steps to promoting job growth in America in your TIME essay last week – (1) create high-end, complex manufacturing jobs, (2) invest in worker retraining, (3) double-down on growth sectors like health and entertainment, (4) help spur small business growth and (5) invest significant amounts of money in infrastructure through a national bank that allows the private sector to participate. Is the political climate right for these things to happen?

These measures are actually not as controversial as you might think. A number of them are not very expensive, either. For instance, look at the issue of helping small businesses. A lot of that is rationalizing the patent process – deregulating, limiting and rationalizing regulations and eliminating various kinds of burdens that small businesses face.

Another measure we can take is immigration reform, which should allow more skilled immigrants into the U.S. This would cost the United States nothing and would actually benefit it immediately by generating additional tax revenues.

Then there is investing in infrastructure to create jobs in construction and housing. The infrastructure bank that I propose actually means the hit to the American Treasury would be minimal. A lot of it would be paid for by the private sector and would be bond financed.

The funny thing is we have an incredibly statist way of building infrastructure in this country. If you go to India the roads are being built almost entirely with private sector money and by the private sector. If you look at many, many countries in Europe that’s how they’re doing it. But we have a quasi-socialist attitude towards infrastructure - it has to be completely run, owned and operated by the government. So this is an area where we should actually be letting the market in more. That would make it much less expensive.

Now worker retraining would be very expensive. There’s no question about that. And that’s a case where we just have to ask ourselves: Do we really think that 45-year-old steel workers and auto parts manufacturers are going to find jobs easily that pay anything like what they have been making? Or do they need very significant retraining?

I would argue, again, look at the evidence. These people have spent 20–25 years working in manufacturing jobs that are just disappearing. They’re not going to come back. Between robots and Chinese and Indians, these jobs have gone.

If you think it’s going to be that easy for a 45-year-old to simply acquire new skills without any kind of retraining, I think you’re being naïve and overly optimistic. These people will either become limo drivers to investment bankers at a quarter of what they used to make or they’re going to need some help.  Spending cuts won't magically solve their problem.


soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. James B Robinson

    Excellent piece, thanks.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      True, America can borrow cheap money on the international market. This could help fund all the projects Fareed mentioned. As long as the fiscal house not in order, where does the government get its revenues to pay the interests, let alone to pay the loans back.
      The Americans have the advantage that their mentality is less sclerotic than that of their fellow Europeans, who are wary of their rights and less of their obligations. That the Americans would be better in the long run, has to do with their tenets of pioneerism. A "true" American is moreready to take risks, solve their problems and get on with their lives. Though unconsidered moves sometimes lead to undesirable consequences. Yet doing nothing like what the Europeans are doing, is not right neither.

      May 26, 2011 at 5:26 am | Reply
      • Onegood1

        resonableman
        just looked up Koch Brothers because I didn't know who they are. Apprently reasonable debate is beyond your handle. As most other US citizens, they want everything but don't want to pay for it, just finance it. Time will tell the truth. The interest will crush us. See ya!

        May 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
      • MIkeinLR

        The big money is in entitlements and defense. Gates is cutting defense spending although we have to hope he doesn't do to the military what Carter did and completely demoralize them. Entitlements are going to be the political football of the democrats. They care more about power than they do the good of the country. Of course, in the end, it will be the electorate that will determine what happens through the ballot box. Unfortunately the electorate is ignorant and too lazy to educate themselves on the facts.

        May 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
      • ED_p

        We have seen what government spending of 4 trillion dollars of our children's children money can do. Just line the pockets of those who got us into this mess. If we can't do productive things, mostly non government,we will never rise again. No company bailed out will ever be a productive contributor again. The only training needed now is how to get your government benefits.

        May 27, 2011 at 6:57 am |
      • Dr. Matthew Enzer

        The problem can be solved with education.
        Use the power of the internet to educate and retrain our people.
        Look at GREAT COURSES and the KHAN ACADEMY.
        We can have the most highly educated and trained workforce at very little cost

        May 28, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Onegood1

      So wrong. So wrong.
      Spending cuts are the only real answer. Mild tax increase may help a little. The budget must be balanced. Unless you want to enslave future generations to unlimited debt, and carve out bigger and bigger portions of the budget for interest expense to service this debt. Really, get a grip on reality people.
      For a delightful presentation on this see: http://www.youtube.com/embed/VtVbUmcQSuk

      May 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Reply
      • resonableman

        Thank you Koch Brothers, next phone call please?

        May 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
      • jim matulis

        never has the price of oil remained so high & so long......if you think a return of $20/bbls possible & the economys going to improve...good-luck....`tween Chinas money $ Arabs oil..better get used to your new masters

        May 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Billy

      Yes, import some cheap illegal aliens and make them US citizens. The one's that work will work for dirt cheap and not be able to aford the goods manufactured in the US. They will also push more costly US citizens out of the their jobs reducing the amount of taxes collected by the Feds and States. The one's the wont work will draw more out of the entitlement programs of US than being drawn now. I can understand how that can be a win-win situation.

      May 27, 2011 at 5:02 am | Reply
      • Jason

        My friend, I can guarantee you he's not talking about seasonal farm workers. Highly skilled foreign workers should be invited with open arms and fewer restrictions – I promise you, they aren't taking American jobs, they earn roughly the same wages, and they are definitely paying taxes- most of them work in the tech sector. This is absolutely win-win.

        May 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • zakariajoker

      A most ridiculous article !!
      Don't spend the money you don't have.
      And don't scare people with " it will lay off teachers if you curb spending..."

      Sorry Zakaria we can start with laying you off first. Will that do?

      Ofcourse that would be a good start.

      May 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • Que pas a marico

      Of course you will feel pain. It's about how much

      May 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Mark Anthony

      Stupid piece arguing against cutting spending when we are $14 trillion in the hole and spending $2 billion a day we don't have. You think raising taxes is the answer? Why don't we just all give the government all our money? They are soooo good with it. This really is the Communist News Network.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  2. Mile High Pro

    This is the dumbest article I have read from a smart person in a long time. There are just too many points that are flat wrong. So many, I feel like the shark that just came upon a huge school of mackerel. Can't pick just one!

    May 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • AstroTurf

      I tend to agree with Mr. Zakaria. Mile High Pro, can you elaborate so that I can think about where Mr. Zakaria is wrong? I'm willing to consider other points of view, but cannot without elaboration. Thanks.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Reply
      • Onegood1

        Yes. Another good overall presentation about the US debt, its history and present ramifications can be found at http://www.iousathemovie.com/

        May 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Dayv B.

      Please give examples of why he is wrong? Wht he said doesn't please me but i don't disagree with him. A basic tenant of debate is to give facts to support your contrary position. You just disagree without a counterarguement. what do you mean by your statements?

      May 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply
      • Larry

        He means that what what Fareed says is at odds with what the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Republican leaders have been telling him. These people are ideologues. Facts, logic, and evidence are all trumped by their faith in their ideology.

        May 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Mark C

      "Too many points that are wrong" is m0ron for "I don't like what he said but I haven't go the brains to make an argument against any of it."

      May 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      There's a difference between being wrong and disagreeing with the proponents of your ideology such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck or your favorite Republican. Anyone can say "he's wrong." If you can't offer a valid counter argument, which we both know you can't, it's because your beliefs come from someone else. Having not studied the issues yourself and arrived at your own conclusions you can't explain the reasoning behind what you believe because don't know the reasoning behind what you believe.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
      • Samster

        YOU'RE WRONG

        May 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Lol k.

      larry: "He means that what what Fareed says is at odds with what the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Republican leaders have been telling him. These people are ideologues. Facts, logic, and evidence are all trumped by their faith in their ideology."

      Brilliant rebuttal. Ad hominems centered around the arrogant (and circular) belief that you're right and everyone is wrong. And how do you know they're wrong? Why, because you're right and they aren't!

      Drop the name Glenn Beck, bring up fancy words like "ideologue", assume your opposition is wrong, and go on believing what you believed as dogmatically as you did before.

      "Facts, logic, evidence"

      Things, I'm afraid, you failed to point to in claiming yourself the intellectual superior.

      How ironic.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:21 am | Reply
      • FKell

        Lol k., he didn't add facts and logic to his comment because the facts were in the article that he was agreeing with. When you rebut the facts and logic in someone's article in a comment, then you should be listing facts and argument/logic behind your reason that you disagree. That is something that too many people have forgotten how to do. The real reason so many people hate the health care reform was because their party wasn't the one that introduced it. The national healthcare reform is modeled almost exactly on the same reform performed BY REPUBLICANS in 2006 in Massachusetts.

        The reason Obama and Democrats modeled it almost EXACTLY like that? Because it worked!!! And Republicans were pissed as hell because the Democrats stole their great idea and introduced it. And because the Democrats introduced it, it was wrong, because the Republicans didn't introduce it... because we can't actually let the other party do anything that might work because you lose the next election that way. So you brand it as evil, and make as big a stink as you can. And you rant and rave, and point fingers, and say "death panels". Even if it is an outright lie, you still say and do it. Just to paint it as something evil so you can win an election that will happen before the effects can be felt or seen, and then you might get a chance to add your changes to it and then claim victory because you made changes to a bill which then was very successful in doing what it was originally designed to do, because the model for success had already been proven correct in Massachusetts.

        May 26, 2011 at 1:11 am |
      • ddave

        Fair point Lol k. No one should respect these ad hominem arguments, no matter what side of the political fence you are on. However, I think the point was made in reference to Fareed's original argument and the fact that certain detractors don't reasonably address those points.

        May 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Mark Anthony

      So true. Let's start simple. We are $14 trillion in the hole and he can't think of one thing to cut from our spending? Loser.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  3. raja

    Whole problem seem to be medicare spending in the future. Why don't we do some thing that retain medicare and govt have to spend less for it. Like where does money goes for treatment of senior person ? can't we do some thing so that only a few money need for that. Curb on the fees for treatment for hospitals for senior only or some thing like that. I know its easier to say but I thing solution is there.

    May 25, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
    • Tim Elston

      Yes, it's the price of health care that's the root problem. Excess spending is a symptom of that. Rather than cut medical benefits until only the rich can afford health care, why not change the insurance system that incentivizes health care prices to increase at rates well beyond the rate of salary increases? Why are health care prices rising so fast? It's not because that rate of increase is rational vis-a-viz wealth; it's because it is rational vis-a-vis a system that hides payment in increasing national debt. It seems cheap to pay only $1000 out-of-pocket for a total bill of $30,000 that the insurance company pays for. And it's easy for medical providers to increase prices when it seems cheap. But if price increases continue to rise, as encouraged by that system, more than the rate of salary increases (which feed national tax revenues), then health care prices will eventually bankrupt the country by way of bankrupting individuals and businesses. Change the system so that it arrests health care price increase rates.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:42 am | Reply
      • Bryan S

        Really? It is that easy for medical providers to charge whatever they want? You don't think the insurance companies push back?

        May 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Jason

      Here's the problem, simply: Some one has to pay for care. You can say "well just pay less to hospitals for care to seniors" but that hospital's costs haven't gone down any, and at some point you're paying them less than they have coming in. So if they have the option, they'll just stop taking senior citizens as patients. So instead you make it a law that they MUST accept senior citizens. Okay, well now the majority of the patients who walk through the door are seniors who cost them money. So they either go out of business, or they pass that cost on to some one else. So they pass it onto their younger customers, and now medical care costs 2-3 times as much for those people, because they're not just paying for their own care, they're paying for part of 5 other people's care.

      This cost in turn gets passed on to the insurance companies, who in turn pass it into their customers (individuals or group health insurance plans, same deal either way) and on top of that they collect a healthy profit, because that's why insurance companies exist. So now the cost to consumer is 3-4 times what it should be, or in the case of employers, they're paying more than ever to employ people, and those people aren't even happy about it because it's not going to better care or better pay or anything else, all that money's just going to pay for seniors.

      This is already what happens, by the way, due to emergency rooms, and the laws that state that emergency rooms must treat any life threatening injury or disease regardless of insurance of credit history. People go to emergency rooms, get expensive treatment, and then can't or won't pay. What is the hospital going to do? They pass it up the line. Pretty soon people see other people getting "free" treatment, and their premiums going up, and they too decide to let their insurance lapse. Why pay a bunch of money for a policy that has a bunch of exemptions and stipulations? If something ever goes truly wrong, you just go to the emergency room.

      The bottom line is that some one is going to pay for that health care, and the more you try to pass it off, the more expensive it's going to be. The solution is to look at all the reasons that health care costs are increasing dramatically, and address the cost of health care in a comprehensive way. Medicare wouldn't be a crisis if health care costs weren't rising at 2-3 times that of the tax base. Any plan that doesn't address the COSTS (not just what's paid out by government, but what's being paid, period) isn't really worth a hill of beans.

      May 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Reply
      • krobsever

        Exactly, one way to curtail some of the bloat is to allow cheaper medical solutions to be used. The idea that everyone should receive the best most high tech treatment is ridiculous when it can't be afforded, and insane when there are other options that can produce good results at nowhere near the same cost.

        May 27, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  4. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    GOP solution = Whip the Old, Sick, Poor, and Unemployed until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, and Employed. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green. A self sustaining system.

    May 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Reply
    • Mark Anthony

      50% of Americans pay no taxes and 40% of Americans collect welfare from the government. This country is failing and it's people like you, who want to create more losers, that is helping it down the path to ruin. Get off the couch and earn your own living and stop thinking that I should pay for your stuff. No one is paying for mine, and they never have nor will.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  5. Evan

    Boohoo people are hurt by spending cuts, well guess what – too bad. I don't go out and work everyday so that the government can subsidize every person holding their hand out for subsidies. Zakaria has simply become another "intellectual" touting how government can solve all the worlds problems, but never stops to focus on the ramifications which such policies have. I am for individual choice and free markets, those who oppose such things – no matter how eloquently they phrase their words – are not for freedom.

    May 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      You completely missed his point. It's not that people will be hurt by spending cuts, but that the economy will be hurt and once you take into account the lost tax revenues and increased spending on unemployment benefits you're big spending cuts won't actually lower the deficit very much. He explained this is pretty simple terms, which you probably would have understood were you not too brainwashed to consider anything that doesn't match what the talking heads on the right are telling you.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Reply
      • Bill

        So the economy will be hurt by spending cuts? Don't you think the economy is being destroyed by this debt? The problem is not a revenue problem. The govt. is taking in almost more than ever. The problem is spending too much.

        May 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • aric

      May you and your loved ones remain healthy and employed my friend. Be thankful that you've never (I assume) had to ask for help. Until you do, enjoy looking down on them. And by the way I work my butt off and have paid into social security for over a decade for the current recipients and know I will never see a penny of it when I hit that age. But I'm not loosing sleep over it because I'm blessed with a job. Apparently so do you so may I suggest a nice deep breath.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Reply
      • Larry

        Social Security isn't designed for you to get back money you put into it. Your benefits will be funded by current worker contributions just as your contributions have funded benefits for your parents or grandparents.

        May 26, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Lol k.

      larry: "but that the economy will be hurt and once you take into account the lost tax revenues and increased spending on unemployment benefits you're big spending cuts won't actually lower the deficit very much."

      Another swing and a miss for Larry. How sad.

      There are two problems with your assumptions: 1) the government doesn't have the money to support the programs that are run now. Consequently, the money that is put into the economy can't be put and re-put into the economy, and has to be taken back at some point.

      2) What tax revenue are you talking about? Even if the government were to give out every dime it had, unless it's taxing 100% of the money it gives out, it will never get that money back. And unless the government is investing in businesses and *gasp* corporations, the investment it makes will be virtually meaningless. Hence, there's a loss of revenue by spending, but an increase in revenue by saving.

      It's quite simple really. So simple that your simple stupidity made you miss it.

      Alas.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:26 am | Reply
      • Chris R

        I know this may seem shocking to you but your critique made absolutely no sense at all. First off, spending on infrastructure actually generate income by making it easier for businesses and individuals to make money. For example, the national highway system was a massive economic boon the country as a whole. Who built it? The government. The money that was spent didn't fall into a black hole – the money was a wise investment that paid off handsomely. Same thing goes with other major government infrastructure projects (hoover dam, flood control, etc), the space program, basic R&D investment (who do you think started the Internet?) and so forth. Government spending can and does create income and wealth opportunities for businesses. This created wealth turns into increased revenue for the government.

        On the other part you are right, the government is spending more than it takes in. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't know if you know anything about how businesses work but it's very common for them to take out loans to grow and support their business. One could argue that these businesses are spending more money than they have but it a necessary part of the business process for almost all business. The question is if what the government is doing is sustainable. If we make the assumption that the recession will last forever then it doesn't make sense. If we go with the idea that the economy will grow and that this money is helping the economy grow then it's worthwhile.

        May 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
      • Walken

        Well said Chris.

        May 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • bill

      I think the point Zakaria was making was that the overall effect of drastic spending cuts right now would abnormally effect the overall system to a greater detriment than a more controlled, slower approach. That's not an "anti-freedom" position, but a logistically and rationally safer one that would reduce the shock to the overall system. The reduction of spending across the board right now, specifically at the rate the far right appears to want, would effectively raise the unemployment rolls as businesses that depend upon governmental grants, tax breaks, subsidies, etc., would not have the wherewithal to sustain their own positions. This is the problem that gets lost in the discussion, I'm afraid. I don't condone the situation we're currently in, and the blame for it has a culpability tree that includes both sides of the aisle (with lobbying efforts and campaign finance issues as one of the primary causes, but that's for another discussion), but the remedy, in my humble opinion, cannot rest on a "free market"-cut-everything attitude without seriously dire consequences. I realize things are dire today, as well, but a methodical approach, and one that can be set in place and followed to the tee, would be preferable. Unfortunately, we have two parties in control right now with divergent positions (at least in this area) with one advocating shrinking government drastically today, and the other appearing to continue things status quo; yea.

      May 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  6. Peter

    It is hard to believe that Obama could learn from Europe, o even from his own advisors here in the U.S.
    Even Gordon Brown, who was then heralded a great financial wizard by the government of the day failed to see the "goings on" in the Stock Exchange and the Banking Industry.
    No one in the banking Industry has been prosecuted... for the resulting pain and suffering which they have caused to peoples around the world, due to their financial mis-dealings.
    Utterly shameful ...

    May 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Prosecuted for what?

      May 26, 2011 at 12:18 am | Reply
      • Jeff

        For one Joe Cassano of AIG could be prosecuted for knowingly selling a defective product, namely the CDOs he knew were crap.
        Then there is Angelo Mozilo for creating a dirty bomb out of the mortgage industry that was guaranteed to go off after he had made a ton of money. Call it economic sabotage.
        John Thain for spending millions on refrubishing his office while Marrill Lynch burned to the ground (criminal negligence.)
        Ken Lewis for purposely allowing BofA to ingest billions in toxic assets from Countrywide and Marrill so the Fed would have to bail him out (collusion to commit fraud of a government agency, extortion.)
        Senators Gramm, Leach, and Bliley for writing legislation that weakend the Glass-Steagall Act. (collusion with private banks, criminal negligence.)
        The heads of the remaining 10 national banks that now run close to 80% of all banking in the US for not lending out the capitial injections they received as part of TARP (breach of contract, fraud.)
        I can keep going if you like 🙂

        May 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I wouldn't say that they didn't see it, I think they willingly put blinders on for a variety of reason.

      1) You can't preach negative, that is a career limiting or ending move. There were plenty of people that were preaching restraint and change, krugman for example. But the general attitude was that these people had no credibility. Even within my own little world, IT within the financial industry, I saw the writing on the wall. But I had to shut up about it at work or my job would have been ended. (It is strange that even during the supposed boom times, the financial world still had regular layoffs due to 'changing business conditions')

      2) Even if you were realistic, companies tend to have to follow the jones. If you have say 10 investment banks, and 9 of them are doing something that in the long term is bad, what do you think is going to happen to the 10th? they will end up going out of business because everyone is going to move their business to the other banks. The bank I worked for didn't get involved in the Enron debacle, however, it was explained to me quite clearly, the only reason they didn't get involved was because they didn't have an in, and if they did have that, they would have been just as involved as the other banks, and not to have any illusions about the honesty or business fortitude about the bank I work for.

      Don't have any illusions, the banks are looking out only for themselves, and the next quarters profits, and if they have to sell out their own grandmother to do it, they will, let alone selling out the rest of us.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  7. Red

    "But in the short run spending cuts take money out of the economy. In a very weak economy, when you say “cut government spending,” what you mean is you’re laying off school teachers and you’re de-funding various programs that put money into the economy"

    When I say 'cut government spending' I mean, cut our huge military presence around the world, and our absurd foreign aid program among other wastes. That could be a start. The claim that cutting government spending has to be 'laying off school teachers' shows that Zakaria is all for the status quo and wants to continue the same failed government policies inspired by the military-industrial complex that got us into the mess we are in now.

    "Between robots and Chinese and Indians, these jobs have gone."

    Zakaria and his globalist friends promote free trade like there is no tomorrow. It is promoted in collegiate level economic curriculum as a policy with no downside, and the same is promoted in the news. Here, however, Zakaria is basically conceeding that "free trade" agreements are taking american jobs and dismissing it as inevitable, rather than critically assessing the situation. The job of the manufacturing-working 45 year old is apparently a lost cause to Zakaria, while he makes the claim that any cuts in government spending would have to include 'laying off school teachers.'

    May 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      "When I say 'cut government spending' I mean, cut our huge military presence around the world"

      I'm all for it, but I don't see it happening. Americans are easily frightened sheep. For over 60 years not we've been told there are barbarians at the gate waiting to take away our freedoms and destroy our way of life if we spend less on defense, and most Americans have believed it.

      "and our absurd foreign aid program among other wastes."

      Unless you can tell me which countries get aid, how much they get, how it's spent, the reason for it and why you think we're not getting a good value for it I see no reason to value your opinion on this. We spend about as much on foreign aid as we do on pet food annually.

      "The claim that cutting government spending has to be 'laying off school teachers' shows that Zakaria is all for the status quo and wants to continue the same failed government policies inspired by the military-industrial complex that got us into the mess we are in now."

      Wrong. It shows he's realistic. He wasn't advocating that, he was saying that's what it means in practice.

      "Here, however, Zakaria is basically conceeding that "free trade" agreements are taking american jobs and dismissing it as inevitable, rather than critically assessing the situation. The job of the manufacturing-working 45 year old is apparently a lost cause to Zakaria"

      What's your alternative?

      May 26, 2011 at 12:15 am | Reply
    • Lol k.

      larry: "I'm all for it, but I don't see it happening. Americans are easily frightened sheep. For over 60 years not we've been told there are barbarians at the gate waiting to take away our freedoms and destroy our way of life if we spend less on defense, and most Americans have believed it."

      Interesting. The government has to spend (see your previous posts) or else it will, inexplicably, lose revenue. But when it spends on the military, the reverse is true - it actually loses money.

      What qualitative difference is there between spending money on American soldiers and military supply companies, and spending money on American workers and roadway projects?

      You don't like one but you do like the other?

      "The vast majority of government feeds into our economy. Drastic cuts in spending would mean pulling that money out of the economy. That will put far more people out of work than just some federal employees. It will also cost contractor jobs. Vendors who supply software, computers, desks, pencils, and so on to those people will see a reduction in their business as well."

      You're missing the point. If the spending is necessary, it can stay. If it isn't, it should go, and tax refunds should be given out accordingly. And because people statistically save only a certain amount, their free pay day (their tax refund) will end up buying useless things like t.v.'s, vacations, etc. The money, then, will still go into the economy and to businesses of all kinds.

      "I'm amazed at the degree to which people on the right can read well-written English and fail to comprehend what it's saying."

      Ah yes. Disparage your opposition. They're all morons. Not one of them has a brain, not one of them can have a legitimate disagreement with you.

      You're pitiful, really.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:31 am | Reply
  8. DB

    Does Dems have any plan to reform entitlements. As fas infrastracture, what ever happen to shovel ready jobs that were monitior by "Nobody mess with Joe the clown Biden" Looks whats happening around Obamacare, everyone is getting waiver and plan in in full effect. This administration's policy is not allowing private sector growth.

    May 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      You obviously have nothing intelligent to contribute. Everyone is getting waivers? Hardly. Who in his right mind thinks less than 0.1% is "everybody?"

      May 26, 2011 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Jonathan

      DB, and if you were to actually look at the waivers, you will find that they are not what you seem to think they are.

      A waiver will only be issued in one of two circumstances.

      1) If the applicant has created a program that meets all of the legal requirements of the Health Care reform bill but has a different administration. An example of that would be the big 3 auto union health care plans.

      2) there are minor deviances from the health care reform bill but for contractual reasons, cannot be opened up, and the contract in question is EXPIRING in a reasonable period of time. So if you have a contract signed and it is expiring in a year or two, an exemption will be issued for the life of the contract. When the new contract is signed, full compliance is required.

      It would help if you actually looked at the situation in depth rather than shovel more partisan lies and crap down peoples throats. It just proves how much you buy into Fox news.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  9. Mr. Davidson

    always the seminal politician Bama can pander to the Afros and spout smatterings of MLK ,turn around and embrace Anglo Euro higharchy,where he actually is most comfortable,shmooze wit the Jews and say bienvenidos amigos all in the same breath.Now that the CIA snuff flicks have lost the glow we need to get occupied again Maestro pleaze.

    May 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  10. 1ofTheFallen

    Were to begin because there are so many issues wrong in this article. FIRST: Zakaria your smart but need a class in economics. SECOND: Europe has institued many austerity programs by implementing deep spending cuts. THIRD: The most people laid off will be government workers and sure well get less revenue taxes but we will save far far more by not having to pay these high salaries and benefits now and down the road. FOURTH: We cannot jump start our economy since we have the highest corporate tax in the world. So why would manufactuers relocate jobs here unless we deal with increasing import taxes. Let's be honest a hugh import tax might mean less sells of American goods over seas but our import imbalance is so out of wack between how much we buy from overseas compared to how much we sell that a hugh import tax would actually generate far more American jobs than we would lose due to less sales overseas. FIFTH: Intel recently announced that it cost over a billion dollars more to build a factory in the US due to goverment redtape than it does to build a factory overseas so there is a big incentive to build factories overseas?
    SIXTH: Our politicans are idiots – READ Reckless Endangerment about how our own government stole billions in taxpayer dollars to subsidise Freddie Mac in order to get millions back in bribes Dems and Repubs (Barney Frank , Tim Geitner to name two). The CEO of Freddie Jim Johnson would show up on Capital Hill with millions in checks on a regual basis to bribe our great lawmakers. WE ARE THE MODERN ROME – Being destroyed from within.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      "Zakaria your smart but need a class in economics."

      This is not something wrong in the article.

      "The most people laid off will be government workers"

      You obviously have no idea how this all works. The vast majority of government spending is not for government worker salaries. The government buys goods and services from the private sector. Government employees buy goods and services from the private sector. The government funds a wide range of programs in education, research, community support programs, and so on. Virtually all money spent on entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to the private sector.

      I'm amazed at the degree to which people on the right can read well-written English and fail to comprehend what it's saying. The vast majority of government feeds into our economy. Drastic cuts in spending would mean pulling that money out of the economy. That will put far more people out of work than just some federal employees. It will also cost contractor jobs. Vendors who supply software, computers, desks, pencils, and so on to those people will see a reduction in their business as well.

      "and sure well get less revenue taxes but we will save far far more by not having to pay these high salaries and benefits now and down the road."

      Wrong. Everyone who loses his job, be he a government employee or someone two or three tiers down, stops paying income tax and payroll taxes. He'll cut his spending on goods and services, paying less in sales taxes and excise taxes like the gas tax. Government spending will increase to pay him unemployment benefits. Half of these people on average will lose their health insurance. Government spending on Medicaid will increase. The net deficit reduction after taking these other factors into account will be only a fraction of your big spending cuts.

      What Fareed understands, and you don't, is that the best way to reduce the deficit is to grow the economy. More people working, people earning more money, reduced spending on benefits for the unemployed. Once the unemployment rate comes down then it's safe to cut spending because the people who lose their jobs can find new ones, which is not the case when the unemployment rate is 9%, as it is now.

      "We cannot jump start our economy since we have the highest corporate tax in the world."

      Our corporate tax rate is not holding our economy back. It's causing some companies to use strategies to avoid paying income taxes here, but it's not holding the economy back.

      As for import tariffs, a trade war is not in our best interest. We are part of a global economy. Your isolationist approach would not be good for the country in today's world.

      "Our politicans are idiots"

      Actually, they feel compelled to pander to their constituents, and those are the real idiots.

      "READ Reckless Endangerment about how our own government stole billions in taxpayer dollars to subsidise Freddie Mac"

      Not true.

      "The CEO of Freddie Jim Johnson would show up on Capital Hill with millions in checks on a regual basis to bribe our great lawmakers."

      Don't believe everything you read.

      "Intel recently announced that it cost over a billion dollars more to build a factory in the US due to goverment redtape than it does to build a factory overseas so there is a big incentive to build factories overseas?"

      It's not "red tape," and it's not the cost of building a factory. It's the cost of building and operating it for ten years. It's mostly taxes, but a few other things as well such as lower labor costs. Some of these other countries are aggressively working to attract companies like Intel, offering no taxes for five years, big tax credits for research, and other benefits. What I find interesting is that everyone here seems to agree that we need to lower the corporate tax rate, and yet it isn't happening.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Reply
      • TS

        Regarding lower silicon sector factory costs overseas: it's primarily not taxes or labor costs. A large company like Intel is quite adept at lowering its tax rate below the nominal corporate tax rate, and most of these factories are highly automated with labor costs low relative to the enormously expensive equipment costs. Semiconductor manufacturing processes use and produce extremely toxic materials. Building and operating these factories in some countries is significantly less expensive because they do not need to be as careful regarding safety issues for the workers or the surrounding community. In the report issued by Intel describing the costs, they lump "environmental compliance" in with other government mandated expenses and taxes in their conclusion, but in the detail breakdown it is actually a primary cost in the United States. They are regarding it a "tax" that they are prevented from poisoning Americans. Moving businesses overseas due to this issue is a complicated ethical and economic issue.

        May 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  11. erich2112x

    We have nothing to learn from the Old world. Lets break off from them completely. 🙂

    May 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Your comment only reveals your ignorance about the "old world."

      May 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  12. Jon

    why would anyone in their right mind listen to zakaria? He is a shill for obama and to say anything other than what he did would put him in obama 's doghouse. I prefer to listen to UNBIASED economists. I notice zakaria said nothing of medicaid, which is the fastest growing entitlement. Zakaria is in bed with obama so I would take what he says with a giant grain of salt. As for his analysis of the MIddle East, let's just say that he clearly wants one side to prevail and never shows any even handedness. When you are asked to consult Obama you KNOW you're not going to get a fair reading of the situation. All these liberal talking heads just keep repeating the same dem talking points...arab spring, arab spring, arab spring....and to be honest, it is completely disconnected with reality. There is NO arab spring. Its a buzzword created in WH focus groups to support a liberal democratic agenda which is in turn supported by the media who collude with the WH daily. My guess is the arab upheaval is more closely associated with an impending winter storm. Remember, "democracy" is more than just a vote...but once the people choose to vote in the likes of the muslim brotherhood, the media who love to use the cliche "arab spring", will soon be ruuning for cover.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Classic ad hominem argument.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • ddave

      Jon, I think that you are completely off base in your characterization of Zakaria as a liberal, Obama shrill. You obviously have not read his larger body of work. Even in this article there are sentiments that most conservatives would wholeheartedly endorse, such as his call for a de-regulation process to encourage small business investment. And in case you hadn't read, he completely disagreed with Obama as to military intervention in the case of Libya. Please get your facts straight! Otherwise we can only dismiss your thoughts as a pathetic and ignorant attempt to disparage a highly regarded and serious (doesn't mean that you necessarily agree with him) political analyst.

      May 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • Jon

        Dave,

        And what does zakaria say about raising taxes? Right....he wants obama to raise taxes...which will be a killer of small and medium sized businesses. How many times have we heard him spout the party line about "millionaires and billionaires? Does anyone ever stop to think that in this so called class of rich folks are the 200k incomes mostly derived from small business owners...these are people who have families, some with 3 and 4 kids, and 200 grand is NOT a millionaire or billionaire by any means! Yes, tax the billionaires, but not the family making 200 grand and who are the engine of the economy. You tax them and you kill the so called recovery. I would suggest you stop supporting this liberal elite class whose tiny brained ivy league advisors sit in focus groups to come up with this garbage that the left wing media gobble up....its a disgrace.

        As for zakaria 's position on israel and the middle east, he is clearly another in the long line of PC culture morons that wants to blame israel for all the worlds woes...maybe its time to start blaming the moderate muslims who are too afraid to stand up to the jihadists ...these are muslims who are "moderate" sympathizers who in fact number in the hundreds of millions.....this aint no fringe and I have yet to hear zakaria call a spade a spade. If anything, it's israel's blood and treasure who pay dearly for america's and the EU's feckless wishy washy foreign policies.

        May 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  13. Peter Q Wolfe

    Actually the op article doesn't state that the government is the ultimate solution behind our problems rather to decrease some elements of the government to fuel economic growth is actually what is being said in the op. I mean look at the retooling of workers to a more flexible market place where the U.S needs to compete in a normal day to day flow rather than sadly thinking that we are in the 20th century whre supply-demand was artificially dictated by only the western hemisphere. Free markets have caught up with the American Dream and americans simply put don't like it.

    So, the private options put out there are to bring in more cheap migrant workers with vizas to do jobs that we are no willing to do cause of our standard of living is much higher in expectations for our people than most other counteries. We also have the idea in the article of having private businesses in a bank fashion invest in infrastructure like roads, bridges, damnes, etc as well just yet again not a government solution. Again the article wants to relieve small businesses from regulations on copyright patents, etc to innovate their businesses as well. Again none of these are government rater the retoolin of skills is with reduction of entitlement reform to include means testing can alievate thisburden. Another thing is that we could eliminate double dipping of all government employes on federal, state and local city governments to have it go thorughout the systme not for a few people.

    Finally, I'm not a partisan person myself cause I'm a moderate democratic political person myself. I think we could reduce unecessary spending on unwanted tests, antibiotics, an tort reform with competing across state lines can help. Perhaps lower doctors compensation pay with a emphasis on turning our doctor offices into nurses statiosn cause doctors sould only be the last resort towards health care. We could allow doctors overseas to come here more readily and inport more pharmacedicals from Canada, etc for cheaper prices. Another thing we can eliminate Sunshine deals bheind the door gambling rooms for the pharmacedical companies via third parties to mine informaiton about customers anonymously in the community to obtain health needs to sell more expensive pharmacedicals in the future to clients on government doles. Finally, we can cut military by 50%, eliminate teacher retirements in the states and federal employee rosters, Social Security to means testing and life expectency, cut all politicians health care and retirements including x-presidents, cut post office on saturdays and locations, cut some off of Medicaid nondisabled lazy individuals, and other otppionswithout drastically setting the system for total failure.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Reply
    • Jonathan

      1) Tort reform really won't solve anything. It hasn't in Texas. Bankruptcies of people that can't afford their medical bills has far more of an impact on insurance costs than what tort issues cause.

      2) Importing pharmaceuticals from Canada is NOT the solution. To answer why is to understand WHY drug prices are cheaper in Canada. It is because the provinces (not the federal government) negotiate a standard price for medications based on EXPECTED volume. With an overall population 1/10th that of the US, the amount of drugs allotted to Canada THROUGH US PHARMA MANUFACTURING, is limited to that of the canadian population with a little reserve. If all of a sudden the border is opened up to mass 'repatriation' of drugs into the US, then the drug companies are all of a sudden going to demand US prices. Remember, the drug companies are willing to negotiate those prices for two reasons, 1) the population is MUCH lower therefore the market really isn't critical to making a massive profit (think of it as the tail end of a manufacturing run) and 2) there is an expectation that there will be measures to prevent drugs from being exported. Another thing to note is that if exporting drugs does become an issue, an export ban will be implemented.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  14. Dick Hertz

    Cut the Illegal Aliens and their spawn from the budget. Then there would be plenty of money to go around for AMERICANS.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply
    • Larry

      Nonsense. I won't want them here anymore than you do, but you've obviously spent no time studying the issues we face.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:16 am | Reply
    • vdonquixote

      Would you care to share with us lowly folk with humble intellects exactly where the illegal aliens and their spawn are a drain on the budget?

      May 26, 2011 at 12:38 am | Reply
      • MICHAEL WHITE

        I will. First, illegal aliens are usually untrained, unskilled individuals. They don't get paid much for their unskilled labor and generally, it's under the table. If they get and illness or injury, they goto emergency rooms for treatment which goes unpaid. They have children here who then goto school and take up other financial assistance because their parents are usually too poor to provide everything and that comes from hard working, honest taxpayers. There are many illegal immigrants in prison here in the U.S. and that takes up taxpayer money as well. See, they input very little money of their own into the tax system. The rest is put up by honest, hard working U.S. citizens. That's the crime to me. Instead of inviting them here, the U.S. should be pressuring the countries they come from to fix their own economic problems so these people don't feel the need to illegally immigrate here.

        May 26, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Bruce

      When you are ready to pay twice as much for a loaf of bread and three times as much for a half-gallon of milk because of the increased labor costs in agriculture resulting from the loss of undocumented immigrant labor, then we'll get right on that for ya...

      May 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Mark Anthony

      Sorry, Larry, they cost at least $100 billion a year. But probably more.

      June 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  15. Brian

    "Between robots and Chinese and Indians, these jobs have gone.".........................................

    He speaks in vague generalities. The Chinese have many serious problems and could stumble before they overtake us. We are still exporting high tech manufactured products to China such as jumbo jets and nuclear reactors.

    May 26, 2011 at 1:08 am | Reply
    • Thatsnotrue:[

      Are you sure about that? Since the only factor which the US seems the excell in is war, and although the US creates a lot of wepeans......and creating wars. Why would China even have to buy your nuclear and wepeans, remember the Indians rejected the war plane deal...and Japan rejected your nuclear specialists. I'm pretty sure that they can create their own weapons and nuclear.
      & No, not every piece of tech is copied from the US, what do they have to copy from since well the education system is failing....so your last generation of scientists and engineers then?
      & Yes, thank you for acknowledging China's problems, now will you admit the many problems in the US?
      Please know some facts before you repond, the difference between China is the US is that we don't keep on pointing at other people's problems, we know that we have our own problems to deal with.

      May 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • ddave

      I think the point Zakaria was making is that automation processes in the US, and low-wage labor advantages overseas, have forever eliminated low-skill manufacturing jobs in the US. We simply can't plan a national economy by relying on these types of jobs to sustain us anymore.

      May 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  16. Onesmallvoice

    What they need to do is to quit listening to Barack Obama and cut their military spending and quit fighting for the right-wing thugs in Washington. They need to follow China's example and focus on their economies instead of the will of the right-wing thugs in Washington. Our military can do it's own killing without an help from Europe!

    May 26, 2011 at 1:26 am | Reply
  17. amarjit

    From day one of last election to Congress Republican & Tea Party targeted to abolish Obama care reforms which were for seniors, poor & destitute as well social security & unemployment of working class. It all smacks of their ant iWork force practices & extreme measures to reduce to poverty, deprive of healthcare & sustain social security on retirement or other benefits on lay off. At the same time GOP voted for continuance of Bush Cuts to rich & wealthy to boost Wall Street which sunk the housing market with peculations & banking as well customer bungling. Wall Street reforms were opposed & so the other regulations which could be witnessed on strong support on FOX News. Tea Party wanted WH & old America back. Responsible political leaders wanted WH to rename as Black House. It was not just while color, it was made symbol of peace as enshrined in constitution of America in Bill of Rights. It is just a disgrace that responsible politicians talk this way just because Black President made to WH on the voting of all races in America. This attitude is extremism not capitalistic, because capitalist need more harmonious & cordial environments & business relations to prosper in moderate & democratic in keeping with American traditions as well aspirations of those who wrote the holy book of American Constitution. Everyone should think judiciously & contribute effectively to reduce national debt by generating more income & revenue, reduction of spending & waste from non-essential sectors where development is not urgent or feasible with no compromise on essential of life. Targeting only healthcare & SSI is just hitting the people of America with political motive. As matter of policy, all people in America must have free/cost free healthcare in the interests of population conservation & development with healthy men, women & children & good care of veterans who swear to fight for American security in war & peace. War find can be charged proportionately from all earning people irrespective of individual or corporate sector for special national security to create security consciousness & appreciation by American people to accelerate debt payment & reduce hardship..

    May 26, 2011 at 1:38 am | Reply
  18. curzen

    we'll talk again once Greece is actually out of its mess

    May 26, 2011 at 2:00 am | Reply
  19. Rocky16

    I do not completely disagree with Fareed Zakaria, all he did was to divide the issue U.S. is facing now in to short term and long term. Coming to Deficit problem he pushed it to Long term issue and what he says is fixing the short term problems will automatically fix everything. Come on Fareed we are talking about 14 trillion dollar debt here, something should be done immediately here to fix the debt issue.

    May 26, 2011 at 2:06 am | Reply
  20. Peter Q Wolfe

    Let's talk long term debt okay? The big thing is to eliminate all icounteries trade deficets with the U.S.A today! We need to use a tarri on all chinese, korean, german and japanese products cause of theirinbalances with our trading policies. We need to give equally to competing nations with labor relations, environmental policies and militay support only to nations that have equal trading practices. We also need to tax the wealthy 250k by 5% to 10% to pay their fair share by supporting the global polie .k.a military war machie cause of protecting mining, super market, financial, enironmental, human capital and other corporate interest internationally for them.

    Today, we have met an empass in our country. Are we a producing or a consuming nation? Come on people do you want cheap chinese products or do you want to have a fruggle society to save money, regulate markets, and etc for the general welfare of our citizens? Seriously also we can look into making other counteries pay for patroling international waters more often cause th .S in affect subsedizes the world at th expense of our own citizens and this isn't right in my opinion. We also give generously to foreign aid that we can no longer afford to charitably give anymore. Another thing is that we need to look at all the health care indications of doubling in the past decade and what has contributed to them and how to stiffle them off and reduce them dramatically evnen if we have to ration health care like we did with gasoline and sugar in WWII. Back then nobody had health care and we continued boldly in time of need even though I must admit universal health care sounds interesting just no nation on Earth has done iit with having huge deficets, huge debts or over regulation.

    In conclusion, we are in a huge pickle in the U.S.A today. We have met an empass that we must decide to have personal rugged individualism or the collective socialist society like Europe. Are we another Europe or another future China? There is no middle line either folks for what we decide today will be our tomorrows generation for all our children.

    May 26, 2011 at 2:45 am | Reply
  21. isit2012yet?

    If you want to spur small businesses in the US then a tax increase as proposed by the dems and obama is not the way to go. Most small business are sbu chapter S corp which means the owners pay taxes per the personal income rate. We must redfine "rich" and income $250K is not rich for a small business. Raise the tax rate to 40% for individuals earning $4MM or more per year and that will not affect small business and they will begin hiring again. The US CofC says that the vast majority of jobs are created by small businesses and this is one way to get them hiring again. Secondly Medicare is not the problem, Medicaid is, and it has grown by more than 50% during Obamas first two years in office. The American taxpayers were promised by LBJ and Congress in the 60's that Medicaid would never cost more than $9BB per year and now over $500BB. This is a true entitlement and it must be cut to the bone. Another area to cut is Food Stamps and during the first two years of Obamas term the number of people on Food Stams has risend from 34Mm to 47MM or an increase of 39%. And unfortuantely a great deal of illegals are on Medicaid and Food STamps and we simply cannot afford these two programs as they now stand
    Medicare and SS are falsely called "entitlements" but folks people have paid into these programs in many cases for more than 50 years with the promise they would be there and we need to keep this promise to our seniors. Obama proposes a $500BB cut in Medicare if his healthcare program actually becomes law and that will have a devastating affect on our exisitng seniors plus the "baby boomers" as well.
    Socialism has never worked because it lets those that will not work live as good a life as those that do, and people that are able to work, must work and if they cannot earn $100K per year then they will need to learn to live a different life style and live within their means.
    That is also something the US govt must learn to do as well or we will all face an economic depression the likes of which the world has never seen. If that happens we will all be jobless, homeless, without food, shelter or healthcare. It is time to pay the piper

    May 26, 2011 at 3:00 am | Reply
    • Jonathan

      A small business that is making 250K of PROFIT (not Revenue) is not hurting. Sorry, that argument only makes sense to a republican who devotes his life to watching the Fox New (is it really news or propaganda) network. If you want to lower your tax burden, how about hiring someone. Oh wait, I forgot, the tax rate has NOTHING to do with whether I hire or not (as a business owner), it is business prospects that make that decision for me.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  22. AllyOop

    In America, politicians latch onto anything that with further their interests and run with it. They also think that when something is good, you can just multiply it 10, 100, 1000 times and the outcome will be 10, 100, 1000 times more positive. Not everything works that way. Nobody will sacrifice something they receive. Not my social program, cut his social program. Tea partiers, many that actually receive medicare and social security will never give up a cent. There are going to be millions of people that will get nothing or next to nothing when they reach retirement age (whatever that may be) even though they will contribute their hard-earned money just like everyone prior.

    Then there's this fear of Socialism. Of course socialist programs like medicare and social security are OK. For people with children they don't mind forcing others to pay for their kids. If an unemployed person is taxed out of their home so the school art program isn't cut, that's fine with them. Those programs are for the greater good, doncha know.

    For some reason they have no problem handing out billions of dollars in bailouts over and over again, subsidies, exclusive tax breaks to big spending supporters, passing detrimental laws at the behest of those same supporters, not enforcing anti-trust laws etc.

    Self-serving, short-sighted, paranoid, paternalistic, greedy and in the case of politicians, criminal, corrupt and dishonest. It's going to take more change than Obama and the same ilk of crooks in Washington are willing to provide.

    And yes, if politicians believe it will get them elected they would nuke the country without a second thought.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:22 am | Reply
  23. clark1b

    why are liberals so easily sold to the government? the US isn't a big workhouse run by politicians. Politicians tend toward greed and power just as much as big executives in big and small businesses. I pay for my family, and your family ... why don't you get to work and stop making me work so you don't have to work.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:25 am | Reply
  24. Anonymous Citizen
    Please keep this Cafferty File thread alive on GPS. May 23, 2011 Does the next generation have a shot at the American Dream? Posted: 06:00 PM ET FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty: We've got huge problems with money and debt in this country right now. Unemployment is still relatively high with good paying jobs continuing to be scarce. The housing market is still terrible. Home values are down on the year and a record number of properties are in foreclosure. Banks now own 872,000 homes, according to the New York Times. That’s twice as many as in 2007. And they are in the process of foreclosing on about a million more. Scary stuff. But despite all of this, most Americans believe the American Dream is alive and well, according to the Pew Economic Mobility Project. Sixty-eight percent of Americans say they have achieved or will achieve the American Dream. But the poll also found that less than one-third of Americans think their personal finances are excellent or good. That number has dropped steadily since the start of the recession and it doesn't bode well for their kids and their kids' kids. When asked if they thought their children will have a higher standard of living than they currently enjoy, fewer than half of Americans – only 47 percent – said yes. Just two years ago, 62 percent said their kids will be better off than they are. And these kids probably don't know what's in store for them. In a separate poll of kids aged 12 to 17 conducted by Junior Achievement and the Allstate Foundation, only 7 percent think they will be worse off financially than their parents.... 89 percent think they will be the same or better off. The eternal optimism of youth. Here’s my question to you: Does the next generation have a shot at the American Dream? Interested to know which ones made it on air? Mike in Dayton, Ohio: I'm sick of hearing about the next generation inheriting a deficit. My parents and grandparents survived the Great Depression and a world war, and they succeeded. If the next generation is willing to put down their smart phones, remove their headphones and quit waiting for their inheritance long enough to work for a living, they might just realize the American dream. David in Alexandria, Virginia: They do. But, only if they understand that achieving the American Dream is based on ambition, hard work, and personal accountability. I mean, if you're 16, ready to drop out of high school, convinced that ultimately the government is obligated to provide for all your wants and needs, some "rich guy" ought to pay for it, and that somehow all of this is someone else's fault – I recommend you aim for some other country's Dream. Mariah in South Carolina: I just graduated from law school with student loans and cannot find a job, nor can the majority of my classmates. Most of my generation is not getting married just out of undergraduate school like our parents did, so there is no one to split the bills with either. Tack on escalating gas and food prices and how are we supposed to take on mortgages as well? It scares me to death. I fear the answer to your question is no. Layne A. in Antioch, Illinois: You're in the news business, look around. Anyone who's being totally honest these days, knows this country is headed to "Third World" status. Future generations won't have time for "dreams"– it'll be all they can do to put food in their stomachs and find shelter from the elements. "The Dream" left with the current crop of greed mongers from Wall Street and Corporate America. Alex in Washington: Not if this generation focuses more on X-box and Facebook instead of applying themselves to doing well in school. R.: If the American Dream is to work for the Department of Motor Vehicles or sit on your backside and collect a government hand-out, then yes, the American Dream is alive and well. Filed under: United States 147 Comments | Permalink dystopiancircus May 23rd, 2011 1:31 pm ET Not a chance. Student loans, necessary higher taxes, rampant unemployment, inflation, globalization, peak oil, and the forthcoming results. I am twenty-six and we are the doomed generation. Russ in PA May 23rd, 2011 1:32 pm ET What is that dream? To spend and live as if you have no responsibility to take care of your own affairs? Or is to live as a free person, with the right to your own property and the fruit of your labor? Seems like the government wants to strip Americans of what is legally ours: the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... Ron Paul in 2012... Mary MacElveen May 23rd, 2011 1:39 pm ET No, the next generation will not have an American Dream thanks to the politicians who give away everything to the rich and corporations. We are now living in a corpocracy not a democracy. Ed from Texas May 23rd, 2011 1:39 pm ET Not as long as we continue to electe insane politicians and the Bush Tax Cuts are allowed to continue. Ed Texas John from Alabama May 23rd, 2011 1:41 pm ET Jack: The American Dream of hard work and home ownership are still alive in this nation's people. The bundling of financial instruments was a scheme of Moody and Goldman Sachs. This scheme has destoryed the housing market and lead this nation into a deep recession, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Schemes do not stop those who are willing to work for their dreams, but those who invent schemes to stop or temporarily block these dreams there is a fine place in hell for them. Remember, Jack, home is where your heart is. Conor in Chicago May 23rd, 2011 1:44 pm ET The American Dream died with Regan. Susan in Texas May 23rd, 2011 1:46 pm ET Jack, I do still believe in the American Dream, but you have to really want to succeed. I know there are so many hard working young people who have a shot at it, but it takes determination nowadays. The problem I have met so many young people who just DON'T have any desire to WORK. They seem to be lost. SAD. Jane (Minnesota) May 23rd, 2011 1:53 pm ET If things keep going the way they are right now – it will be very difficult for the new generation to live the American dream (the one most of us know, anyway) unles they are related to or good friends with at least one of the top 1% wealthy people, Jack. I'm very troubled watching so much power shift to so few. Bob Thomas May 23rd, 2011 1:54 pm ET What do you mean next genetation,I am still waiting for that dream. Jayne May 23rd, 2011 1:55 pm ET Does any generation have a shot at the American dream? If you aren't wealthy in this country it's very, very difficult given the rising cost of education, lack of decent paying jobs, patchwork healthcare and decreasing social services. I used to look at women with their infants and smile. Now I feel sad. Barbara Leavitt May 23rd, 2011 2:01 pm ET Right now that looks like a huge........maybe. It took years for our politicians to get us to where we are now and fixing it is going to take even more years. Frightening what they have done to this country and still refuse to work together to fix it. Both continue to play the blame game even though we, the American people have told them loud and clear we want actions.....not words.......not studies.....not blaming. So MAYBE the next generation has a shot. They've made it clear it won't happen for this generation. Henderson Nevada Ken in Seattle May 23rd, 2011 2:04 pm ET Only if our elected officials show some back bone and pass legislation which stops the financial raping and pillaging of America by financial institutions, Wall Street and hedge funds. Of course this would mean those officials would have to stop acting in their own self interest, and stop prostituting themselves to these pirates, and finally pass legislation which puts controls on the reprehensible activities which have ruined the lives of so many. The practices that have turned the American dream into a pipe dream for millions continue because our elected officials, of both parties, allow them to continue. Collectively, the a fore mentioned have cost millions their financial well being, and for million of others any hope of achieving it. This is nothing less than a crime against humanity. Carl May 23rd, 2011 2:11 pm ET Jack, With the worthless and corrupt leaders that we have now, always selling us out, no, is the answer, not a chance. We are truly in deep trouble. Tony from Torrington May 23rd, 2011 2:22 pm ET Only if the GOP takes back the Senate and the White House in 2012, and the adults take over the government once again. barbara in nc May 23rd, 2011 2:22 pm ET If we can keep the republicans from taking away womens' rights, voting rights, and all the money from the poor and middle class to give to the republican corporatists. Akra Don May 23rd, 2011 2:24 pm ET The only 'dream' the next generation will experience is of the nightmare variety. B. J. , Quincy,Ill May 23rd, 2011 2:28 pm ET Dream! What dream. There hasn't been a dream since Martin Luther King. Peg in NY May 23rd, 2011 2:34 pm ET As of this moment, it is looking fairly grim. I am not at all certain what the next generation thinks the American Dream is, anymore. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario May 23rd, 2011 2:35 pm ET The only "shot" the next generation will have will be in drowning their sorrows at the local bar. Joyce H May 23rd, 2011 2:35 pm ET The next generation will have a shot at the so-called "American Dream", if Americans learn to work together to solve our problems. We need to put all of our prejudices, hatreds, and mis-truths aside, and function as one America, instead of the divisive America we now have, which some people seem bent on having to further their own ambitions. The American Dream needs to be defined. Does it mean wealth for some, not for others? Does it mean freedom for some, and not for others? Does it mean opportunity for some, and not for others? This is not the dream that was envisioned by our forefathers? The American Dream should not be based on greed, which seems to be the present day norm. The next generation should be taught that it takes hard work, respect for others, determination, and perserverance to achieve the American Dream. It is not something that is just handed down. Ken from Pinon Hills. California May 23rd, 2011 2:40 pm ET The American dream has become an economic nightmare! The dream of a reasonably priced home evaporated when the Wall st. real estate giants invaded my neighborhood, and others a few years ago. One example, they inflated the price of my sixteen thousand dollar home to an eventual three hundred thousand dollar in little over a decade, an out of sight price for the young generation. The point is their is no gravity to prices of anything, and the sky seems to be the limit. The next generation faces economic slavery at the hands of the marketplace, the drudgery that has been cascading into our middle class. Jim S May 23rd, 2011 2:41 pm ET It doesn't look like it Jack. With the loss of American jobs overseas by the selfish corporations, run away health insurance costs, rising education costs, housing costs, and the cost of gasoline to mention a few, it's gonna be awfully hard. I have to wonder if a college education is worth it anymore when you come out owing $200,000 in this job market. Something has got to change or we're becoming a 3rd world country. David , Laguna Niguel CA May 23rd, 2011 2:42 pm ET Only if we ALL admit we have an addiction to debt and government entitlements, and we ALL agree to participate in the detox program. By ALL, I mean EVERYONE who lives in this country. Jackie Brown May 23rd, 2011 2:44 pm ET I believe the American Dream now is just to be able to survive the legacy of the American nightmare GW Bush left us with... We're doomed!!! Brad, Portland, OR May 23rd, 2011 2:51 pm ET With so-called free trade and outsourcing, all the manufacturing jobs are going to China and all the professional jobs, like computer programmers, are going to India. With nothing left in the US but flipping burgers, entertainment, and professional sports, NONE of us but the actors and professional athletes will be able to live the American Dream. Greg in Arkansas May 23rd, 2011 2:52 pm ET The American Dream has turned into nothing more than a fantasy for most people unless you are born into a family that benefits from corporate "profits" where you can make decisions like: Out-sourcing jobs to other states to eliminate union wages; Out-sourcing more jobs to other counties for cheaper labor or Hiring illegal workers willing to work for less pay than American workers....and.....while, blaming the illegal workers, the unions and the politicians for the problems, demand more tax breaks to create more jobs that can be.........yep, you guessed it.....out-sourced............ The new American Dream for a few is a nightmare for the rest of us.... Susan Frost May 23rd, 2011 2:53 pm ET Only if the Republicans all get raptured, otherwise the American middle class and the Constitution are toast. Susan Tuscaloosa AL Bill from Green Bay May 23rd, 2011 2:56 pm ET The NEXT generation? How about THIS generation. I have worked all my life, have a Bachelors degree and a bagful of certifications. I still RENT a home, have steep student loan payments, and at 50 wonder if I'm ever going to be able to retire. The American Dream for me is fading fast. However, the American Dream is definitely attainable. It's all about better decisions in youth and parents who will guide you to make intelligent decisions for your future. Rich McKinney, Texas May 23rd, 2011 2:57 pm ET It does not look like it Jack. America is broke and children that have not even been born yet will be left to pay it's debts if that is even possible. Being born into a society who's leaders can not manage it's finances nor afford to pay those it borrowed from does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling for the future of America. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania May 23rd, 2011 2:58 pm ET I think the American dream has died sometime ago. The only chance for living the American dream is if you are born wealthy. The only way things will improve for the average citizen would be if the rich and powerful, special interest groups, and high paid lobbyist allow it. I truly believe this at this time. I think that is why campaign promises are not kept and only made by both sides to get elected. The candidates running for office know full well that the people supplying them with money to run comes with strings attached. Those strings attached are not in the interest of the average citizen. James in Greenville, NC May 23rd, 2011 3:03 pm ET They have a shot but it is a long shot. We had it so good for so long that we thought it would never end. Younger Americans are going to have to learn to redefine happiness. Older Americans are going to have to go back to work. The only ones who will be happy will be those who have passed on beyond the grasp of the tax man. Lori – PA May 23rd, 2011 3:03 pm ET Jack, Given the current state of the economy, the job market, and the rising cost of gas, food, education, etc., I don't see how the next generation stands a chance at the American Dream. I'd like to thank the government, and the wealthy, for "killing off" the middle class. Bravo! Ed from California May 23rd, 2011 3:08 pm ET As long as they don't expect much!! As long as they're happy working in the Fast Food Industry, The Car Cleansing Industry, or perhaps, being a door greeter somewhere.....then, yeah, they'll have a good shot at the American Dream......poverty!!! Where are the JOBS!!! Mr. Boehner!!! Mr. Cantor!!! Mr. Hukabee!!! Mr. Trump!!! Mr. Pence!!! Mrs. Bachmann!!! Isn't that what you ran on, during this past election!!! So, where are they?? The "Rich" have theirs, and the, "trickle down" isn't so far, happening yet!!! So, where are the jobs???? John ................... Marlton, NJ May 23rd, 2011 3:08 pm ET Yes they will ...How long do you think the grown ups are going to allow this crap to keep going on? Dave May 23rd, 2011 3:09 pm ET Of course they have a shot. I never thought I would have as good as my parents, but in fact I have it better. Those who work hard and work smart will be just fine. Those that don't, wont. The American dream doesn't just fall in your lap. You have to work for it. That's how it has always been. Dave Seattle louie wingo port richey fl May 23rd, 2011 3:09 pm ET Yes, slim and none Phil, Georgia May 23rd, 2011 3:12 pm ET I hope so! With all of theses greedy businesses, oil, republicans; hopefully it will atleast be a middle class to strive for. The rich don't want you to have any rights and make all of the opportunities only for themselves...shipping jobs overseas, no collective barganing, scaming home loans while using our tax dollars. They have to get the greed beat out of them for our kids to have hope. If humans would just get sum above what they needed and then gave back, it wouldn't be any problems. Art Folden May 23rd, 2011 3:22 pm ET First the question needs to be asked: What IS the "American Dream"? bonnie from NJ May 23rd, 2011 3:24 pm ET There is no American dream anymore for middle (or what's left of them) or lower class. Between the deline of education, wages, job availability, affordable health care etc. etc. etc. in this country, you had better be born rich. It is only going to get worse, the deficit and budget balancing is going to come at the expense of any domestic programs that help the lower/middle class. There is nothing being done about bringing back decent paying jobs to this country, higher education costs will soon be completely out of range of affordability. There will be no help coming from our bought and paid for politicians by the rich/corporate America. It is a sad state of affairs. Sylvia from California May 23rd, 2011 3:24 pm ET Of course....However, the "American Dream" will be quite different. The population will shift to lower cost states with California left to the very wealthy and homeless. calaurore9 May 23rd, 2011 3:24 pm ET With a little luck, but mostly hard work, our son will begin his dream job in September. He graduated from NYU last week magna cum laude and earned his shot at the American Dream. Nice to know it's still possible. Carol in Northampton, MA Bill in New Mexico May 23rd, 2011 3:26 pm ET Nope! The problem that prevents the U.S. from restoring health to its economy is: Both the magnitude of the total debt and the annual budget deficit. The cure is big or significant budget cuts as well as significant tax increases. This will hurt the recovery or cause a recession. This "cure" will hurt and hurt a long time. The solution will therefore be very painful and will last through an election or two elections or even longer. Out of pain, the voters will vole out of office the brave legislaturers who enacted the "cure". The newly elected legislaturers will stop the cure by continuing the growth of debt. Yes, the U.S. Dream does not look recoverable. I think every State of the Union Address should include the Nationa Debt figure as well as the annual buget deficit. Rose May 23rd, 2011 3:31 pm ET The next generation will not have a shot unless the politicians start running the government "of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE" and not for the corporations, who are trying to bring back legalized slavery. Rose Nashville, TN JENNA ROSEVILLE CA May 23rd, 2011 3:37 pm ET Does the next generation have a shot at the American Dream? Isn't the real question Does THIS generation have a shot at the American Dream, Jack? Jenna Roseville CA francap May 23rd, 2011 3:39 pm ET Yes, of course. This is not doomsday. Remember– WW11, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the Salem Witch Burning, Slavery, the McCarthy Communist Witch Hunts, Richard Nixon, Child Labor, etc,etc,etc. Tina Tx May 23rd, 2011 3:42 pm ET Yes they do but they will have to tread more carefully than the boomers since my generation have alot of material junk but no monetary to sustain us in our waining years. The next generation will have to buy only what they need not what they want and they will go far. They could become the relucant generation and show those of us who were glutions how to do things right. I hope so. Things will rebound. They always do. I wish them luck. David Hamilton in Dayton, OH May 23rd, 2011 3:47 pm ET Absolutely. Serious problems, like the national debt or job creation, are simply political footballs that one or the other party keeps tossing about – usually for their own advantage. The US still rewards achievement, still encourages hard work – those things haven't changed. The path to the dream has changed a bit – better to be a computer programmer or web designer than a worker in a shoe factory. But " half a century ago, it was better to be looking for the American Dream in a manufacturing firm than, say, being a farmer. No one said finding the 'American Dream' was going to be easy? Larry from Georgetown, Tx May 23rd, 2011 3:51 pm ET What dream, it's all nightmares from here on end until China self-destructs but by then no one here will know how to work or spell their name with all of the cuts in education. Annie, Atlanta May 23rd, 2011 3:51 pm ET Sure, as long as the "American Dream" means work as hard as you can for as long as you can in order to help our elected officials make the rich richer. Sandstone. May 23rd, 2011 3:57 pm ET "There never was an American Dream! Just the illusions from your 'Hollywood' movies!! You! The USA used the weekness of two European wars, to try and get the upper hand. Yes they came from all over Europe to the USA and Canada with all kinds of idea's, and you were ready and willing to accept them! But now you're broke! Most of those idea's that came to North America (Inc Canada) jumped ship for the East China? India? Etc?? I guess I am lost on all the mistakes you have made. Obama was the final nail in the coffin!!" David of Alexandria VA May 23rd, 2011 3:58 pm ET They do. But, only if they understand that achieving the American Dream is based on ambition, hard work, and personal accountability. I mean, if you're 16, ready to drop out of high school, convinced that ultimately the government is obligated provide for all your wants and needs, some "rich guy" ought to pay for it, and that somehow all of this is someone else's fault – I recommend you aim for some other country's Dream. Mike S., Dayton Ohio May 23rd, 2011 4:01 pm ET I'm sick of hearing about the next generation inheriting a deficit. My parents and grandparents survived the great depression and a world war, and they succeeded. If the next generation is willing to put down their smart phones, remove their headphones and quit waiting for their inheritance long enough to work for a living, they might just realize the American dream. Larry,Springfield,Ohio May 23rd, 2011 4:08 pm ET Jack,only if we get rid of the American nightmare that now resides in the White House and the United States Senate! Pete from Georgia May 23rd, 2011 4:11 pm ET Absolutely. As soon as we rid America of government involvement in 80% of places they have deviously crept into, almost ruining free enterprise, the capitalist system, and personal liberties that used to make America great. Not to worry. Starting in Nov. 2012 a return to sanity will begin..................and not too soon. Layne Alleman May 23rd, 2011 4:18 pm ET Jack, You're in the news bis, look around, at current events, the lies of the government, Wall Street, ect., ect.,. Anyone who's being Totally honest these days, knows this country is headed to "Third World" status(if we haven't already gotten there). Future generations won't have time for "dreams", it'll be all they can do to put food in their stomachs and find shelter from the elements. "The Dream" left with the current crop of greed mongers of Wall Street and Corporate America, they're just trying to scoop up the last crumbs before leaving. Hang onto your hats boys and girls, there's a real rough road ahead. Layne A. Antioch, Il. CRAIG R. MCNEES May 23rd, 2011 4:19 pm ET tampa, fl let's see, our country has no energy policy other than to import more oil, our country refuses to stem the flow of immigration (legal & illegal) as they take more jobs than are being created, jobs continue to be escorted OUT of the USA by our politicians, those breaking our laws are not being prosecuted on all levels of our government, and now even the government is laying off. Come to Tampa and see people begging IN the streets all over town, almost at every intersection and tell me these people have the answer to getting that American Dream. I don't think so. Josh from New Orleans May 23rd, 2011 4:20 pm ET The rich and upper class have made the American Dream into a marketing campaign as they slowly take that dream away from the people who cannot afford it. How can I live my dream when I have to support the people who are already living theirs? Alex in Bremerton, WA May 23rd, 2011 4:27 pm ET Not if this generation focuses more on X-box and Facebook instead of applying themselves to doing well in school. David in Tampa May 23rd, 2011 4:29 pm ET Hell Jack, I'm 62 and most of my generation didn't have a shot at the American dream. Things are even worse now that many of the better paying blue collar jobs and a growing number of white collar jobs are going elsewhere. I just saw another bit of fantasy. Some politician launching a "truth" campaign. That has about as much chance of happening as the next generation realizing the "American Dream." sheila May 23rd, 2011 4:34 pm ET I feel sad for the young adults of our country. What kind of work is available for them so that they can obtain the American dream? Most of them are trying to survive and others are forced to live with their parents when they should be enjoying living independently. I see little or no change for them when so many in congress feel that the money and perks stay with the already uber-rich when there's been no evidence that it'll trickle down and jobs with a living wage will be created. John from Phoenix May 23rd, 2011 4:39 pm ET Yes, if you work for a government union. Otherwise only a lucky few will. Previous generations have squandered the American dream for most, lived themselves the life of Riley at taxpayer expense and to add insult to injury, they have stiffed future generations on the check, and left it for others to pay. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS. May 23rd, 2011 4:42 pm ET Jack you should rephrase that question. Does the next generation of other than the rich class have a shot at the American dream? The poor are just going to be poorer. The middle class are loosing thier place in line as middle class. The rich are feeding off the middle class and getting fatter. I'm afraid that all that will be left for comming generations is just that, a dream. Robby Bowling May 23rd, 2011 4:51 pm ET At the present rate were going no. To many crooked politicians & bankers. Too many moochers who are getting a free ride on the backs on too few of us working. Too many problems & too few solutions. Too many freedoms have been lost for too few a reason . Were too busy complaining without understanding. Too many want a free ride. lou May 23rd, 2011 4:55 pm ET They do, but it won't be our dream. Our generation dreamed of a little house with a white picket fence. Not these kids; their marrying later and having kids later. Their american dream isn't confined to a 1/2 acre lot in a mid priced neighborhood. They want the world and they'll get it with a future rich in technology and access to people and places we only read about growing up. As for the economics, Americans always seem to find a way to generate a living from the current trends of the time. Ed from MD May 23rd, 2011 4:58 pm ET No chance, by then the top 1% will own 99% of the property for carbon credit income. They won't want people breathing on it so people will be kept in prisons where their exhaust can be treated before entering the same atmosphere that the chipmunks and top 1% will breathe. HJ – Saint Paul, MN May 23rd, 2011 5:01 pm ET Of course. The money problem is only an issue because we refuse to solve it. The solution is quite doable. However, if we keep waiting to solve this, it will become more and more difficult. Dave in Arizona May 23rd, 2011 5:03 pm ET No. Corporations have stolen the American dream. All of our politicians are bought and paid for by lobbyists. No one represents we the people anymore. Our courts, which are supposed to be free of party lines are nothing more than political appointee hacks. The world is controlled by the rich, and we are so stupid that we keep electing them to high places. When is the last time you saw a poor politician. Sean May 23rd, 2011 5:11 pm ET If we can get debt and spending under control and let free markets do their thing, there is no doubt this generation will be better off. But the way things are going, we should look at the youth of Greece to get an understanding for what ours are in store for. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA May 23rd, 2011 5:14 pm ET Of course they do. There is always more and better stuff and the next generation, because it is smaller than the prior generation, will get more of the old stuff when the baby boomers die out. Steve, Clifton, VA May 23rd, 2011 5:16 pm ET Jack The American Dream, as we once knew it, is history. There was a significantly different definition of the American Dream for baby boomers than their predecessors who lived through the Great Depression. We are now in a period of "Share the Dream". That means the next generation will share in the American Dream of their parents and experience the redefined post 2008 recession American Dream some 20 plus years down the road. Gary – Woodhaven, Michigan May 23rd, 2011 5:18 pm ET The next generation is the American dream, more so than our generation. This problem is finally identified and brought to the surface, and in one way or the other will be remedied which will allow for future growth for all of today's youth. Scott in Bellingham May 23rd, 2011 5:19 pm ET First let me say every single child in a local school district qualifies for federally assisted school lunches. More than half of the graduating seniors in 3 local High Schools sleep somewhere else at night than in their own parents' home. I heard on the news that 40,000,000 Americans are on food stamps. Most less fortunate people are smiling loving people despite hardship. If you gave less fortunate people the question, "What is the American Dream?" how many do you think would know an answer? Rex in Portland, Oregon May 23rd, 2011 5:23 pm ET The "American Dream" – to be able to work hard and see benefits of that work – is as dead as the successes of the trickle-down economic theories of the 80s, 90s, 00s, and to date. An appropriate epitaph for "The American Dream": Here lies our dream, replaced by rich corporations, big business, and uncontrolled greed. Long live Reganism. James D. Van Zandt May 23rd, 2011 5:23 pm ET NO!!!! And i find it more disconcerting that Social Security doesnt rate a cost of living raise when our President Obama spends millions on his photo op trip to Ireland!!!!!! Katja in Bradenton, Florida May 23rd, 2011 5:24 pm ET Nope, they sure don't. The politicians in Washington and in the state capitals are helping to make life as difficult as possible for people who just want to live their own lives. They attack Medicaid and Planned Parenthood, rather than get off their collective butts and try to create jobs. Term limits is the key word. Ralph Spyer May 23rd, 2011 5:29 pm ET Unions gave us a 40hr work week, they fought and died for pension and welfair, a safe working environment . Well only 12% of Americans belong to a union and they are going after the teacher ,and state and city workers now. The best days of America are gone with the wind.What we have now are 12 million illegal who stand on a street corner and work for chump change Bobbi from L.A. May 23rd, 2011 5:33 pm ET Sure... as long as their parents are bankers, lawyers, and politicians who can afford to send them to private schools and colleges, and negotiate jobs for them once they graduate. That's what all this is coming down to, you know. The haves, and the have nots... It's the Republican way. Mr. D May 23rd, 2011 5:33 pm ET If a higher standard of living you mean more crap that we really don't need, they probably will be disappointed. That does not mean, however, that they will necessarily have a less enjoyable and produtive life. Sometimes less is more. Claudia, Houston, Tx May 23rd, 2011 5:37 pm ET We won't see the next generation doing back breaking hard labor work but they will be living the American Dream created by technology, they just have to be prepared. Jack – Lancaster, Ohio May 23rd, 2011 5:37 pm ET Mr. Cafferty: I think, the American dream no matter how it is defined and related to past descriptions of the "dream" has been severely reduced for the coming generations. At the same time I have told our youngsters they got their cars, their parties, their clothes, their sports, their electronics , they got everything but a functioning democracy. They are screwed (not the upper 5% of the wealthy) unless government is held accountable and prosecuted. Good luck! Randy May 23rd, 2011 5:42 pm ET No. With this form of (crony) capitalism the millionaires and billionaires get to have the American dream and steal a few more peoples' dreams while they're at it. The country went broke and the rich became filthy rich. dave in nashville May 23rd, 2011 5:43 pm ET Sure they do, just get a job with the federal government and rent a home, live the dream and put in 30 years or whatever to get full benefits until they die lie the rest of us. Rob in NC May 23rd, 2011 5:44 pm ET It is a dream after all. Everyone needs to be able to dream. Unfortunately, we currently live in an American Nightmare. Perhaps the "dream" of a government FOR the PEOPLE, by the people will become a reality again someday. Until that happens things aren't going to get much better. Rob in NC william waters May 23rd, 2011 5:49 pm ET When I think of the "American Dream", it meant owning a home and having a nice white picket fence in the front yard with 3 or 4 kids and a pet to play with. Walking to school, taking your lunch in a brown bag, and everyone sitting down to dinner as a family. Only the Father in the family worked and the mother was a full time homemaker....... The only difference now is, you can't buy a home for $ 12,000 anymore with a 7 year loan for $ 61/month. Most neighborhood associations won't allow fences in their front yards, and your dog had better be on a leash or its a lawsuit waiting to happen. And 2 kids are plenty, with a mom who works and gets home after dad does. Other than that, the American Dream is still alive, and pizza is still the number 1 choice for dinner..... Its not a dream anymore Jack, its called REALITY!!! bill/taylorsville, nc Gigi Oregon May 23rd, 2011 5:52 pm ET If the American dream is still there for the young people in the next twenty years their parents are going to have to wake up and change their life style. When corporate America can send their businesses over seas to be produced for more profit, and keep their money over there not to pay U.S. taxes...that is not hope for a brighter tomorrow for our children. When corrupt banking and mortgage lending is bailed out for paying to high of bonuses, the Tea party breaking/tearing down the teachers unions... that's not preparing the way for a brighter America for our youth. When our government officals/representatives fight among themselves and collect bribes from corporate American to keep business as usual...that is not encouraging our young people to develop a respectable life style. When our tax money is sent overseas to waring countries instead of building and keeping America strong...how does that make living in the United States a place to dream...for a better life. dave in nashville May 23rd, 2011 5:52 pm ET American Dream? Now we Americans want to usurp even dreams every person born has around the world? Enough of the fairy tale that we are the greatest nation, the greatest people, the answer to freedom for the world. Pretty obnoxious you ask me. Laura May 23rd, 2011 5:52 pm ET I do pray the kids are right on this one. Laura Hawthorne, Ca Tim Sit May 23rd, 2011 5:53 pm ET Are you kidding me? Did we put a single one of those greedy bankers in jail? No. In fact, NO ONE that was responsible for this current mess was ever so much as charged. Instead, they're getting bonuses, and put into positions of power over a dwindling middle class. So here's my question for you – how do we "recover" when there has been nothing done to curb the behavior responsible for this disaster? Katrina was a circumstance of nature. Wall street was a crime of choice. If we're unwilling to put a stop to this idiocy, then there is no possibility of recovery. The "future" is now, Jack, and it's not pretty. Tom, Montana May 23rd, 2011 5:59 pm ET A lot fewer of the next generation will have a shot at the American Dream. There will be fewer of them to feed the many aging babyboomers. They will be paying off huge national and foreign debts left by the babyboomers. They will be competing with ever more people willing to do the same job for much less in other countries. They will be in ever more fierce competition for dwindling resources. They will be faced with energy prices especially for oil, which will make today's prices look dirt cheap. For most of the next generation it's going to remain nothing but a dream. lynnej in nc May 23rd, 2011 6:03 pm ET Uh, no because there is really no such thing, especially now because they have student loans, they can't find a job, no health insurance and maybe no Medicaid in their old age. Oh wait, that is me now and I'm 45. If that is me now, what chance do those younger have? Not much. Matt from Munster, IN May 23rd, 2011 6:03 pm ET Sure my generation has a shot at the American Dream. All we have to do is overcome the continuing mediocrity of the nation's secondary education and the increase of tuition of our colleges and universities. Needless to say, the American Dream seems to be possible only for the select few who come from families that are financially well off. Tim in Monument Colorado May 23rd, 2011 6:04 pm ET My Mom and Dad never made more than $30k a year and we always owned a Home. I bought my 1st house at the age of 21 without going to college (not ideal). For me it was done by working 80-90 hours a week. I worked with people with multiple part time jobs and we made it work. The dream will not happen for the socially dependant. Look what happened when we tried. It requires a job to own a home! Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas May 23rd, 2011 6:05 pm ET Jack, the only thing our kid's have to look forward to is being our "janitor's" because they will be cleaning up the mess we've made and failed to fix. The American dream has died. We're now the minions of large corporations, big banks, and corrupt politicians who are bent on stripping our rights and our pocketbooks. Karl in Flint May 23rd, 2011 6:09 pm ET Looking at my own grandchildren here in Michigan of all places, they are doing fine. They are in school and working part time. They are saving for the future and have an optimistic outlook. All we need now is for the wealthy to get a conscience and support the system that made them, or their ancestors, rich and then all will benefit. Our biggest problem isn’t spending, it’s our tax code. Ken in NC May 23rd, 2011 6:10 pm ET Not as long as Republicans, Big Business and the Koch brothers have their hands on the crotch of the American economy choking it until it hurts. They are working on making the "American Work Force" a source of Slave Labor to their businesses and right now they are winning until the people have had enough and rebel against them. Trust me, they will. Maybe not in my lifetime but they will tire of being a Slave Labor Force to the money. Alex – Victoria, British Columbia May 23rd, 2011 6:16 pm ET No, not unless their American Dream is paying off the debts of previous generations, cowboy presidents who shoot first and borrow for it later and wall street wizards who peddle deception. The best this coming-of-age generation can hope for is to work hard, keep their heads above water, and do what they can to give their kids a shot at the dream. ted wa May 23rd, 2011 6:21 pm ET only if the dream doesn't include freedom! April, Iowa May 23rd, 2011 6:21 pm ET No, I don't think the next generation has a shot at the American Dream because we contine to pile on debt and the future generation won't have the means to pay for it. If the next generation has a shot at the American Dream then we have to stop spending more than we take in and start paying off the debt that has crept to record highs. We also have to make moves to save Social Security and the Welfare program. If we don't do these things then the next generation has no shot. Phil Boynton May 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm ET Jack, without a doubt. It is time for this nation to stop this belief that we're doomed to decline. America will endure and so too will the American Dream. For we need only to start believing in ourselves and our country once again. America will ride again. Jordan in Birmingham May 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm ET Not as long as the older generation refuses to pay into the system. With taxes at an all-time low and Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare for everyone currently under 55 not making many waves among seniors, I sense older voters aren't interested in maintaining the systems that aided them for future generations. Won't anyone think of the children? Eve Lemon May 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm ET Not if Americans keep electing the same crooks in Congress. Eve of Texas Arlene Bonneau May 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm ET No, I don't think so. It's getting harder to keep employment, and still with people losing homes and moving back in with parents or grandparents, it still is not easy. I fear not just for the next generation, but also for my grandchildrens generation. mark koenig May 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm ET Social mobility is now, has been, and will continue to be a myth. A few exceptions do not make a rule, and so one can point at exceptions to attempt to prove the reality of this myth, but if one looks to the actual statistics you will quickly find that the American Dream of social mobility does not exist in the awake life. Exceptions by definition are exceptional and thus outside the norm, if they were not exceptional it would just be how it is. In any economic structure certain exceptions can change their station by being exceptional in one way or another, but for the average joe social mobility is an unattainable goal. Your heart may disagree, but the statistics don't lie. Greg / New York – Upper West Side May 23rd, 2011 6:22 pm ET Yes, the next generation has a shot if they get a job at companies like Goldman Sachs, Apple, Google and Facebook. That means rolling up their sleeves and studying mathematics, the sciences and computer programming, so education is essential. We need to spend more on education and less on wars if our children are to live the american dream. Let's put our money and effort in the right places. Ed Fertik May 23rd, 2011 6:23 pm ET Thanks to Obama and his socialist agenda, the American dream for our youth is becoming the ability to live off others and to become dependent on big federal government instead of education, hard work and determination. New York Christina May 23rd, 2011 6:23 pm ET Have a chance? Yes. If they work hard, learn Mandarin, and look toward selling to China! I'm a D.A.R, btw, and a hard-worker. Never give up, kids. There is always a way! Joel Taylor May 23rd, 2011 6:23 pm ET Will the next generation be better off? Yes if they work in CHINA! Dominique, Cincinnati May 23rd, 2011 6:23 pm ET Of course we do!! My generation has been looked on as slackers and kids who depend on their parents way too much. But we have the potential, and resources to moove past this stereotype and shock the world. With things looming for us such as paying for Social Security, student loans, etc., we have many things to overcome. However, just as in the past, our generation will succeed just as the youth did after WWII, the Great Depression, and just as our parents have. We WILL achieve the American Dream DK in tennessee May 23rd, 2011 6:24 pm ET Absolutely! The American dream is still available to those who understand they have to work for it. If you want it, go get it! Michael May 23rd, 2011 6:24 pm ET No. The American Dream is a sham used by the capitalist system to put working people further into debt and make us slaves to the banks and corporations. If there's any hope for prosperity in the future, we'll need a revolutionized economic system, one that many are too stupid to understand. I'm only 17, but I know that this system just isn't working. Jon erlandson May 23rd, 2011 6:24 pm ET Yes,the American Dream is alive. Our best days are ahead of us. It will requires faith, hard work and a solid belief in "Yes We Can." Susan from Idaho May 23rd, 2011 6:24 pm ET If the American dream is to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness then of course. Some of the poorest among us are living just the way they want. Riches can sometimes spell nightmare. We can all do more with less. Scott – New York May 23rd, 2011 6:24 pm ET Yes, if they move to Canada. Sam, Palm Valley, FL May 23rd, 2011 6:25 pm ET As long as people can "dream" of a better life, they can effect a change for a better life. Blake May 23rd, 2011 6:25 pm ET Well Jack speaking as a member of the next generation i hope so but i would like to think of myself more as a realist as opposed to an optimist. With the trillions and trillions of dollars that MY generation will have to pay off it’s hard to believe that the American dream is the same as it once was. But part of what makes the United States great is its ability to adapt, and as an American I will do the same. Mike in Minneapolis May 23rd, 2011 6:25 pm ET I'm a Gen Xer. Since this recession began I was laid-off from a good job with great benefits and took a part time job at which I often work more then fifty hours a week. I buy my own medical insurance and contribute to my own IRA since I do not have access to a 401(k) plan. I also recently purchased a condo in – literally – the most desired part of town for a terrific price – and not from a bank. On that note, I have a job, medical insurance, a nice place to live and a plan for retirement. I think if Americans would model themselves more on the SIlent Generation (AKA the Greatest Generation), keep their mouths shut and ears and eyes open for their own personal brass ring, I think they will find the American dream intact. Rafael Minero May 23rd, 2011 6:25 pm ET Jack, the next generation does have a shot at the American Dream if the current generation finds pride in it's country again. Pomona, California Jenn May 23rd, 2011 6:26 pm ET Oh, please. My generation's chance at "The American Dream" died when corporate Baby Boomers began outsourcing jobs overseas to pad their own pockets during when we were still in diapers. Those same Boomers are now drawing off the Social Security MY generation is paying for. I firmly believe my generation will never even see our Social Security...sounds like a pretty bum deal to me. glenn May 23rd, 2011 6:27 pm ET Yes they do. But only if they stop working for other people. follow their dreams and become an entrepreneur. control their income take a chance Ed May 23rd, 2011 6:27 pm ET Possibly, but they may need to brush up an Portuguese and head to Brazil... Jeff in VA May 23rd, 2011 6:27 pm ET American Dream is a charade built on being in debt up to one's eyeballs. Hopefully the next generation won't make the same foolish mistakes of this generation. There are better ways of enjoying life than constant chase of material possessions. Mariah, SC May 23rd, 2011 6:27 pm ET I just graduated from law school with student loans and cannot find a job, nor can the majority of my classmates. Most of my generation is not getting married just out of undergraduate school like our parents did, so there is no one to split the bills with, either. Rack on escalating gas and food prices... How are we supposed to saddle on mortgages as well? It scares me to death. I fear the answer to your question is no. Cliff Glass – Rego Park, New York May 23rd, 2011 6:28 pm ET Only if Americans begin to realize – with apologies to borrowing from a Sheryl Crow lyric – It's not having what you want , It's wanting what you've got Mike in Dearborn MI May 23rd, 2011 6:28 pm ET I can't tell you if my kids or my kids' kids will have the same opportunities to chart their own course in life, ie the so-called American Dream, but I can tell you that I'm very worried. The reoccurring legislative gridlock and hyper-partisanship of the last couple decades, save for about a month after 9/11, has left many major problems to fester. Robert Ernster May 23rd, 2011 6:29 pm ET If they vote against the republican money-grubbers they do. Dmari Von Lintel May 23rd, 2011 6:30 pm ET We can never lose our optimism & our hope to better ourselves! Maybe we just need to adapt our own version of the "Dream", but we MUST hold the spirit & belief that wherever we are... we can do better! Okey May 23rd, 2011 6:31 pm ET Definitely the next generation has a shot at the American dream. The truth is that one needs to look and work harder than usual, as the American dream is now a World dream. Success is definitely achievable as far as one is prepared, educationally, focused and determined to compete in a world where we no longer have national companies but Global ones. We will compete for for everything henceforth and no politician regardless of what they say, can change that. America needs to be prepared, China topping science and maths globally and the republicans stating that they want to cut education is not a recipe for ensuring the next generation achieves the American dream. Cody King May 23rd, 2011 6:32 pm ET Jack, You so often remind me of the negative populism that once gripped the American South a century ago. As a senior in college, I acknowledge the difficulties that lay before those of us who are about to enter the job market, however, where there is difficulty and a challenge, there also lies great opportunity and future prosperity. My generation will redefine the "American Dream", it shouldn't be what it was for our parents and grandparents. We aren't the Me Generation, we're the We Generation, and I for one, hope that the excess and obsession with materialism is transformed into a new era of shared commitment to education, discovery, and humanity. The age of industrialism is over and the Information Age has arrived Jack; we're simply enduring the growing pains that outskirt a period of great enlightenment. Greg Schuter May 23rd, 2011 6:32 pm ET No. The politicians and ruling elite know the truth – its called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. theorycraft May 23rd, 2011 6:32 pm ET America is in no trouble right now, whether the next generation realizes their American dream is up to them. My generation was heavily influenced by the Vietnam War and anti-establishment but as America falls in the ranks, I see kids take up education and strive harder for their futures. This issue is cyclical and will fix itself. If you stray from the noise, you will find that America is still the land of innovation, creativity, and the international center for new ideas; those who want to succeed, still succeed in America. And as we hammer it into their heads that China is going to rule the world, the next generation will find more opportunities where they think they can make a difference and contribute to society – and they will naturally follow their passion. DK in tennessee May 23rd, 2011 6:33 pm ET Absolutely! The American dream is still available to those who understand they have to work for it. Peter Bonafonte, Tarrytown, N.Y. May 23rd, 2011 6:33 pm ET I think it depends on which side of the economic divide you sit. If you're in top top 5% I believe your American Dream is assured. If not you can live out the American Dream vicariously thru reality TV. Remember "Life Styles Of The Rich And famose"? gary cameron May 23rd, 2011 6:33 pm ET the "american dream"? really? the american dream has been destroyed, it was once a possibility that any american citizen could achieve. But the moment that corporations became persons, that possibility began to dissipate and now totally destroyed. Bill, RNBA May 23rd, 2011 6:34 pm ET No problem...As a group the US can adapt : We all went unleaded & that was a huge change after which we now all drive unleaded cars. We just need to change our focus to the new job market's needs...Computer Sciences etc., , Healthcare is always in need...The Trades will pick up soon w/ all the infrastructure repair coming down the pike. Justin May 23rd, 2011 6:34 pm ET There may be a chance. The economy is starting to recover also we need to improve the education in America this is one of the issue that America had a problem with the high school drop out we should stop that and the the percentage of the education in the U.S. is 68%, we should have up to 77% as before. Kids can have a shot in there American dream with good education. Peter Moriarty May 23rd, 2011 6:34 pm ET I started with nothing, but this country used to provide opportunities for those that were willing to work hard. With a good education and hard work I achieved what might be called the American Dream. We are now experiencing the Obama-lead nightmare that penalizes those who achieve and subsidizes those who do not contribute. It will be much more difficult for my children to achieve the American Dream. George May 23rd, 2011 6:34 pm ET If the country keeps on it's present path the only people who will have a shot at the American dream are people in other countries. America's now second to last when it comes to investing in itself in just about every way imaginable education,manufacturing,public works ect ect ect you name it. It's time to stop nation building..........OTHER NATIONS. George Chester,Ct. David Scott Doherty May 23rd, 2011 6:36 pm ET A shot at the American dream, are you kidding me! In my view they'll be luck to get a full tank of gas, that will be the new American dream. Things are going to get a whole lot uglier. dave from NH. Nickie P. May 23rd, 2011 6:36 pm ET I think so. But the thing you have to remember is that it's not strictly the "American" Dream anymore, because the world is so connected. It's more...the "Freedom" Dream. It's the dream of anyone who hopes to make a difference and change the world. It's the dream of anyone who hopes to change themselves. I'm eighteen, and just about to graduate highschool. I know things are tough, but I live on a farm in a small town in Ohio, and my mom lost her job two years ago. I was raised on tough. And honestly, I can still see the bright, hopeful future in front of me when I remember to look. Life is tough. Freedom, and those who believe in it, is tougher. J. Emunson May 23rd, 2011 6:36 pm ET Jack: No, the next generation of the middle class and lower classes will not have a chance at the American Dream. It is unfortunate that our elected representatives and senators are not working for the people... only the very rich and large corporations. Until we can throw out the WA lobbiest and penalize corporations for shipping jobs overseas....the situation will not change. thom richer May 23rd, 2011 6:37 pm ET Not a chance. Worker's rights, benefits, and retirements are quickly being taken away and denied. The next generation of workers are being led down a dead end street by corporate America. Leading them to believe that they will be taken care of financially to cover medical, living, and retirement expenses without SS, retirement and medical/Medicare benefits. They are to trust their employers blindly knowing full well they will not receive a fair and living wage to ensure their and their family's financial security. Those rights so needed by workers that set America apart from other country's labor forces like, unions, the right to strike, longevity, arbitration, and respect for what a worker does, are all but dead. Capitalism is all about profits, not about worker's welfare and rights. Profits at any cost. To believe that a company will provide workers with security without these labor rights is as naive as naive can be. Thom Richer Negaunee, MI Julius of Alaska May 23rd, 2011 6:39 pm ET Endurance has always been a key trait when describing "America", "American" and "The American Dream". It is silly but yes, I do buy into the American propaganda that this nation pumps out. I do look around me with cynicism but with an optimistic view that America will endure the worse and come out stronger, maybe even wiser. As parents, educators and role models come together America CAN inform our children to do the unthinkable. I dare say that America has a chance at a bright future. Aaron May 23rd, 2011 6:41 pm ET Entitlements grew out of control and set the expectation that people will be 'taken care of' by the government which is so wrong. The next generation will have to clean up the mess that the Boomers created. We should be investing in the future more with infrastructure, jobs and innovation investment instead of giving out free medications to old people. Dennis May 23rd, 2011 6:50 pm ET Hey Jack – I'm sure that your parents during the great depression thought that things would not get better either – BUT IT DID GET BETTER! Americans need to realize that we have just been through a Great Recession – and we are coming out of it – And things ARE getting better! The Economy is gradually getting better – OVER 2 million jobs have been CREATED under President Obama . That is a good thing! It is sure better than the almost collapse of the economy, and lose of jobs that happened under President Bush! Evidence shows that jobs are being created again – here in America!. And President Obama is going to be one of the first Presidents who actually puts in place a plan to REDUCE the National debt by $4 Trillion dollars. So YES, things will Continue to get better for America! Bev May 23rd, 2011 6:53 pm ET American dream huh American NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jimmy May 23rd, 2011 6:54 pm ET sure... if they want to move to Canada.... Lester M May 23rd, 2011 6:57 pm ET The American Dream is always alive. Each generation comes into adulthood with its own set of challenges, including external factors such as the country and global economy, growing and shrinking industries, and national security thrusts. In spite of that, some will create opportunities, some will find jobs, and some will give up hope. The naysayers who say that the American Dream is dead need to tune out the negativity from certain media sources, and encourage our next generation to be the innovators that have ALWAYS been the fuel behind the American Dream – since the inception of our country. Comments have been closed for this article
    May 26, 2011 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • Anonymous Citizen

      I missed this one due to a power outage but I think the two topics merge logically and I have a few bits to contribute...

      May 26, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply
  25. Anonymous Citizen

    Today's secret word is SUITS.

    May 26, 2011 at 9:53 am | Reply
  26. mike

    Zakaria would be a fantastic WH advisor. The guy is one of the most clear-minded individuals in the political discourse.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • abby

      I concur. I've been saying that for a long time.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Joe

      He already is. He said it on Cooper's show and then backtracked the next day because why THE HECK SHOULD A REPORTER BE A PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR. Man you libs are scary.

      May 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  27. dan

    The GOP and Tea partiers kept saying that it is a spending issue and yet they themselves refused to cut military spending, international free money "aid" to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Military spending alone is alreadfy by the billions plus another billion of free money to none foreign govenments. The Iraq war was suppossed to be the answer to US financial problem, because the war venture failed it resulted in the USA going into serious debt problem. The reason the Iraq war failed was and is because 55+% of Americans refused to support the war. So now, the financers of that war has decided that they need to recover their loses by going after that 55+% Americans that did not support the war that is why the GOP and Tea partiers fiscal plan are all about cutting services and funding to the poor and the middle class. The rich don't need those services they can easily pay their own way, these poor and middle class are consider expendable and are a liabilities to balance the budget, it is unfortunate that the USA put foreigners first before their own Americans. WE must remember, China's financial growth came from the generosity of the USA, the USA is actually barrowing money from China that was theirs on the first place. China seem to be smarter they don't give money away for free.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:28 am | Reply
  28. abby

    I have a suggestion for the Obama administration - listen to Zakaria - one of the smartest people around and he has a lot of common sense....

    May 26, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  29. Ninad

    The very step US government needs to do is cut military expenses and stupid foreign aid to other countries. That would save a lot of money, which can be invested back into the US economy.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  30. Anonymous Citizen

    Crack open your history books and look for the concept of a dollar a day wage.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Reply
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