I misspoke: Clinton signed the Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999 which reversed Glass-Steagall. The weakening of the regulations began in 1978 which led to the S&L debacle.
Realityfor98Percent - I have no disagreement with you regarding the sometimes selfish behavior of Americans. After all, we have 5% of the world's population & consume 25% of the resources. However, there are some flaws in your arguments. Not in any particular order:
Federal budget cuts have forced college tuitions to increase around 500% over the last decades. Over the last decade, someone making $30,000 per year would have a near impossible task to put a child through school let alone 2 or 3. For most of our population student loans are a necessity if a person wishes to get an education unless they are a brilliant academic or athlete. A friend graduated from a State university in 1986 & did her graduate work at another State University. She is now married & has 2 kids and is still paying off her loans. We all know the importance of having an educated population. It should be a national security issue.
"an Asian worker doesn't whine about 10 hour days, 1 hour lunch breaks" I can only assume you are referring to China as in Japan the average worker's annual hours are 1714 hours (less than 40 per week) and includes other benefits such as 15 paid vacation days a year. Regarding China, I am sure they don't whine for fear of losing their job. However, the rate of suicide among workers is high and in some of the tall company buildings are nets to make jumping off not be such a problem.
"Low paying jobs are something people are going to have to deal with." You are right and people are coping as best they can. But why should this be so? The top 1% accounts for 42% of the wealth in America. The top 400 have wealth equivalent to the bottom 50%- 150 million people. Many of the wealthiest and their companies pay very low or no taxes. What possible right should someone have to use the roads, get bailed out when their business fails, expect the fire department to put out a house fire and for the police to protect them when they don't pay their share for the use of them. If taxes were paid fairly, there wouldn't be communities laying off police or in a few cases even firing the entire force.
Furthermore, there are many Americans who did save and their retirement accounts were looted by greedy bankers to finance risky bets.
There has been countless people subjected to predatory loan practices. The bank officer would convince them that their home value would continue to increase so if they had trouble making the payments they could simply sell at a profit. Of course we all know how that turned out. Additionally, many people trusted that their job was secure so they had no reason to think that the payments would be a problem. In many cases these are not recent homebuyers. Banks have been caught in acts of fraud by foreclosing on homes even when payments are current. The banks have spent millions lobbying against regulations that would put an end to their obscene profits. For 40 years Glass-Stegall protected the people from these sorts of things. Clinton signed legislation that weakened these protections, hence the S&L crisis. That wasn't enough for them and Glass-Stegall was ultimately repealed and our current difficulties were made possible. At the time of our founding, speculators would be hung. Now they are richly rewarded, all at the expense of average working people.
Healthcare is a huge problem. Americans pay the highest cost in the world and our system doesn't return the quality of care that it should. We are ranked 30th in the world for infant mortality... just above Slovakia and several places behind Cuba. Why is this? Our for-profit system is a failure. Most others in industrialized countries have free universal coverage (and better care) and are very happy with it. The propaganda about waiting times is just that, propaganda. The insurance industry spends millions on this disinformation campaign.
Sadly, I have to admit that you are correct about one thing... the American Dream is a myth.
@frodosfro- Millions of Americans have lost their homes and jobs. 50 million Americans have no healthcare. Applications for food stamps has risen. These people don't instantly morph to the look of a mentally ill guy with shabby clothes pushing a shopping cart. They look the same as they did before their home was foreclosed. They are non-the-less desperate. They accept low paying jobs to avoid having their children going to bed hungry.
Your time would be better spent seeking out a food pantry to volunteer at (or donate to) rather than listening to the right wing propaganda about how good the poor have it.
The war on poverty came to a stop during the Reagan presidency. That was the beginning of huge problems in many areas including the mental health realm. Budget cuts left many fewer beds in hospitals and half-way houses which meant many people would become homeless who were suffering from mental illness. The criminal justice system was left to pick up the pieces, which it is not designed to do.
The whole trickle-down garbage started with Reagan. At that time, candidate Bush hit the nail on the head when he called it voodoo economics. Never-the-less we have not had a president since that was willing to admit that "free-market crony capitalism" is an utter failure (for most of us). Most of our economic woes, including the rising number of Americans in poverty are a direct result, as is the obscene rise in wealth of the few at the top. The top 1% won't relinquish its grip easily. It will take more than simple reforms to regain a fair system.