Karen De Coster | Takimag | March 12, 2009
Under discussion: Meltdown: A Free Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, Thomas E. Woods Jr., Regnery (2009), 194 pages.
Reality often bites, but news this fall of collapsing asset values and housing prices hit a baffled American public like a bombshell. After all, for years, so many Americans had been basking in the glow of their 401Ks and home-equity loans and generally enjoying the most prosperous years of their lives. Playing the stock market. Buying up Dream Houses with no money down. Going on fantasy vacations. Wasn’t that the American Dream? What the hell happened!?!
The term “American dream” was coined by author James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book, The Epic of America. He wrote: “It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
Reading that, it’s clear that the modern interpretation has strayed far from the original meaning. In fact, the “American Dream” represents something more than the cars and big money that Adams warned about. Central planners and social engineers misappropriated the term a long time ago, and put it into use as a slogan to convey a sense of entitlement and equality as they began to shape and subsidize the home ownership nation that first got started with the creation of Fannie Mae in 1938. Continue reading ‘The House Poor’