The American dream is not about just living in the United States. It is about political, social and economic freedom where the government is not the one to stay on one’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. On the contrary, the idea of the American dream is that there should be policies to protect the citizens from government’s imposing on their lives and instead promote creativity and entrepreneurship (the more neutral- and pleasant-sounding word for capitalism, for capitalism is perceived differently from different people). That’s how the Americans attract foreign investments and foreigners – through guaranteeing them freedom, honesty and integrity. The rest of the world – due to numerous factors and depending on the region we are talking about – hasn’t achieved that yet.
According to Arthur Brooks, the author of the book and President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the United States of America is currently at a cultural war between the 70-percent majority and the 30-percent coalition. The latter, according to him, is currently led by President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress’ both houses. He criticized them and former President George Bush, a Republican, for their excessive spending on the bailout programs and on the health care reform – programs that he claimed are not fiscally responsible and are not going to help anybody in the long term.
He cited numerous surveys that have shown that about 70 percent of the American people support capitalism while the rest support what he called in his book socialism, statism and redistribution of wealth. The latter, he pointed out, was what the 30-percent coalition calls fairness.
Mr. Brooks supported his, and the 70-percent majority’s, agenda of free enterprise by citing numerous surveys about what makes people happy and comparing them with numerous income calculations. The cited data in his book has shown one thing – that it turns out that money cannot make an individual happy. It’s the earned success that makes us happy – our satisfaction of our job and what we have accomplished through it. It is not what someone has given to us such as a welfare check from the government or even winning the lottery. In other words, the Americans have found out that independence – the ability to have your life under your control – makes people happy. Now that’s fairness!
Two weeks ago, I attended a Yankee Institute for Public Policy fundraiser. The Yankee Institute is a think-tank whose mission statement is a more efficient and business-friendly Connecticut government. With my passion on issues of this kind, I see myself working for such an organization one day.
The fundraiser in Stamford, Connecticut where I bought the book from. Arthur Brooks was the guest speaker there, and he talked about it and the message that the 70-percent majority – regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, origin, gender, party affiliation and so on – should send to Congress and the White House.
I couldn’t help but notice that there were a lot of Republicans at the fundraiser – former U.S. Representative Rob Simmons (who lost to Joe Courtney in Connecticut’s Second Congressional District in 2006 by 83 votes), two campaign staff members for Republican candidates for Governor and possibly others. I, a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, was probably the only Democrat there.
What needed to be worked on in the book
There was one thing I couldn’t find in his book. While I am fiscally conservative and understand what Arthur Brooks stands for, I couldn’t help but notice the fact that the book is too one-sided. Most of his citations may be from independent sources, except for the Wall Street Journal, the Heritage Foundation and FOX News which are known as conservative but he also cited some liberal sources.
However, he didn’t show how the 70-percent majority would be able to discuss issues like or similar to incorrect business practices such as a lawful rejection of health care coverage based on a pre-existing condition by a health insurance company official for the sake of his or her promotion in the company’s hierarchy, as shown on Michael Moore’s Sicko. All I saw in his book on this matter was his calling for some (yes, he wrote it in italics) regulations but the 70-percent majority needs to do better than that.