(Nov. 27, 2023)  Far too many Americans have become spoiled, ungrateful, whiny wretches.

That’s the proper conclusion from a Wall Street Journal poll showing that barely more than a third of Americans believe “the American Dream — that if you work hard you’ll get ahead — still holds true.” Compared to the 36% who say it still holds true, 45% said it once was true but not anymore, and 18% said it never held true.

Only the 36% have it right. The rest are – to put it bluntly – pathetic defeatists. Likewise for the 50% who say life for ordinary Americans is worse than it was 50 years ago, against only 30% who say it is better.

The 50% in that latter question are woefully but not innocently ignorant. There is no good excuse, in a free society, for utter lack of historical perspective, and no excuse in such a prosperous society for such pessimism. Set aside the horrific levels of national debt which, thanks to Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden and to compliant Congresses, truly are cause for dejection and concern. By every other measure and by every bit of commonsensical observation, opportunities are greater and lifestyles are easier in the U.S. than ever before.

Just look at the statistics (going back not quite 50 years, because some of the indices go back only to the mid-1970s, or between 43 and 47 years ago – but that’s close enough for comparison’s sake). Today we whine about the inflation rate having reached 8% in 2022 while unemployment was a historically tiny 3.5% and the U.S. Prime interest rate was 7.5%. (The latter two numbers have risen only slightly this year, while inflation has been cut in half.) Compare that to the end of 1980, when unemployment (7.2%) was twice as high, inflation was near 13%, and the Prime rate was an astonishing 21.5%.

Obviously, household economies are far better now than then. [The full column, with many more statistics and observations, is at this link.]


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