Watch LIVE

Real News' War Room: The 'American Dream' in the Age of Obama


In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama made his mark as a noted orator that many Americans saw as a political Rorschach to project their ideals of a post-partisan politico that would bring a positive "change" to the system. Nearly four years later, there is much gloomier mood amongst Americans in regards to politics and the American Dream.

A new poll from The Hill released Monday shows that nearly half of likely voters believe it is impossible for them to become wealthy in the course of their lifetime. In the cover story for TIME's annual "Making of America Issue" this year, Jon Meacham examines the history and current struggle of the American dream; writing:

The perennial conviction that those who work hard and play by the rules will be rewarded with a more comfortable present and a stronger future for their children faces assault from just about every direction. That great enemy of democratic capitalism, economic inequality, is real and growing. The unemployment rate is dispiritingly high. The nation's long-term fiscal health is at risk, and the American political system, the engine of what Thomas Jefferson called "the world's best hope," shows no sign of reaching solutions commensurate with the problems of the day.

On Friday President Obama echoed Democratic Massachusetts Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren's controversial 'There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own" remarks, telling a crowd in Roanoke, Virginia:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  [Emphasis added]

Going on to say:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

With this kind of rhetoric in the current economic and social climate, is there any chance for the survival and tolerance of an American Dream to achieve success and prosperity built on individual responsibility and perseverance? Or will conservatives have to give in to the ‘we’re all in it together’ and 'fairness' according to Barack Obama ideology that many allege smells of Statism and a form of class warfare?

Joined by special guest Matt Welch of Reason Magazine, the "Real News" panel Monday discussed the president's recent comments and the growlingly divergent views between conservatives and liberals on the American Dream.



Most recent
All Articles