The American Nightmare

If you haven’t noticed yet, the American Dream has decayed into something else.  Something best described as an American Nightmare.

We now see a nation where young people following the Dream have fewer opportunities for advancement and economic mobility than we’ve ever seen in American history.   A nation where families haven’t seen any increase in net worth for two decades or income improvement since the seventies.  A nation where almost all recent retirees are dependent on the backup safety net provided by social security to survive retirement.

This rot didn’t occur overnight.  No, the American Dream was too big and too central to our way of life to have that happen.

Instead, it occurred slowly over decades, despite the fact that nearly every US politician has run on reversing the symptoms of the Dream’s decay, the decay has marched onward, regardless of which party won the election.

Nor did the rising fortunes of corporate America have any positive impact.  At the very moment the decomposing American Dream has reached a new terrifying low, corporate America celebrated its most profitable quarter in history with a historic stock market high.

In fact, while it is easy to look for reasons in the actions of others, the Dream’s descent into Nightmare isn’t due to the hyper-corruption of financial elites, the heavy weight of socialized governance, or a widespread moral collapse.   No, the Dream actually decayed due to an internal failure.

The Dream decomposed due to it’s inability to do what every living thing must do to thrive:


How?  How do we turn this American Nightmare into an American Dream again?

I’ve found that really scary nightmares (and this is definitely a scary one) don’t offer an easy way out.  There aren’t any doorways marked EXIT that we can use to quickly leave or wake up.


The only way to leave a scary nightmare is to take control of it.  How?  Start by becoming aware you are in a nightmare.

Next (this is the important part):  change the rules, to make the situation work for you.

That’s it.  That’s the formula.  That’s what I’m working on with this site (I measure my success in this effort by the number of people that sign up for the newsletter).  The ways to change the rules to deliver long term success where none existed before.

Hey, America did it once.  We created the original Dream and gifted it to the world.  Now, it’s time to do it again.

Join the movement to restore America's prosperity

Discussion — 7 Responses

  • Weston November 26, 2013 on 12:44 pm

    “corporate America celebrated its most profitable quarter in history with a historic stock market high.”

    Is that accurate? I haven’t seen anything recent on corporate profits for this quarter one way or the other, so I don’t know if you are right. However, it is certainly a mistake to equate corporate profits with the stock market high. Corporate profits don’t automatically result in higher stock prices and vice versa.

  • Weston November 27, 2013 on 12:39 pm

    Not quite sure how the graph you posted correlates to stock market levels since such levels are not shown on the graph. But even accepting that premise (and it may very well be true) how does that long term correlation support your statement that the most recent quarter was corporate America’s most profitable and that this was evidenced by the stock market highs?

    • John Robb Weston December 1, 2013 on 2:24 pm

      Weston, That graph doesn’t show correlation, nor was it meant to. Nor did I say that the most profitable quarter in history necessitated a new high in the stock market. I did say that the profitability was celebrated — probably due more to animal spirits than anything else.

      Here’s some analysis on the correlation between P/E and stock market performance.

  • john favre November 27, 2013 on 7:01 pm

    what happened? i got censored? oh well, happy turkey.

    • John Robb john favre December 1, 2013 on 2:20 pm

      John, Don’t think I did. I’ve been getting hammered by spam over the last couple of days. Might have hit your comment by accident. JR