virtual work

Restoring the American Dream

November 30, 2010

Restoring the American Dream from an Outside In Perspective

The American Dream has held powerful romantic energy for people all over the world, even as the dream began to fade here at home.  So you gain some powerful insights from the perspective of a man who began by looking in the window.  Like the young lovers in SlumDog Millionaire, America still stirs fantasy and desire in dreamers around the world.  But, when you take off the Emperor’s clothes, what is under the American Dream 2010?  “You might think of Coca-Cola as the quintessentially American company.  But nearly 80% of its revenue comes from outside the U.S., and an even greater percentage of its employees are in foreign countries.”  Zakaria goes on to correctly point out that technology has finally taken over the service sector of our economy.  The job sector that is shrinking is white collar sales and management, the bread and butter of the middle class.

Zakaria suggests honest and painful solutions, and demands we acknowledge we borrowed our way into prosperity at the personal, state and federal level.  He recommends several hard steps:

  1. Shift from consumption to investment.
  2. Training and education.
  3. Fiscal sanity.
  4. Benchmarking against what other countries are doing.

Most notably Zakaria points out the White Elephant in the political room.  The American Political system is broken; “it is an 18th Century system determined to check and balance the power of a monarchy.”  And the tax code “is a monstrosity, cumbersome and inefficient.”…”It represents the deep, institutionalized corruption at the heart of the American political process.” So we need a game changer.  We could just succumb to the overwhelming forces that sink empires, or pull an “Apple,” go somewhere new and unexpected.  Redesign America to be the sleek and dynamic global force that gets to be a World Leader.

Even Ronald Reagan supported the flat tax.  In the early 1990s, Rep. Dick Armey proposed a flat tax.  He would have junked the Internal Revenue Code and replaced it with a system designed to raise revenue in a much less destructive fashion. The core principles were to tax income at one low rate, to eliminate double taxation of saving and investment, and to wipe out the special preferences, credits, exemptions, deductions, and other loopholes that caused complexity, distortions, and corruption.

The flat tax never made it through Congress, but it’s been adopted by more than a dozen other countries since 1994.  But, what would we do without the annual visit of our friend TurboTax.  It speaks to us and makes us feel safe and secure.

Steve Forbes Talks About the Flat Tax

So, is American up for the hard changes?  The reforms in the Depression era Roosevelt administration were revolutionary for their time.  But Roosevelt was able to push through his first major reform with only an eight hour debate in Congress.  It took Obama over a year to drag through Healthcare Reform.  So, how do we recover the American Dream with the way things are now?  What will be the tipping point for this America?

Roosevelt Inaugural Address

You Might Also Like