Prosperity lost: U.S. on way down

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:30 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Rose M. Nolen

With the number of foreclosures and the cost of living steadily climbing, some working-class families are finding themselves moving back into their parents’ home or taking up residence with siblings. This is definitely not the lifestyle they had planned for themselves in the process of raising a family.

Since so many of the people who bring us the news insist that we are all prosperous, and all the economic news is good, a person like me could easily be accused of being misinformed. I’m sure that all the millionaire CEOs are swimming along nicely with national news reporters hovering around their every word. And if we’re not among them, then it’s simply our own fault, for not being born in the right economic group, not going to Yale and allowing ourselves to be downsized or outsourced. It’s hard to remember the day when the plight of the middle-class was the subject of the news. These days we know more about what’s going on in Paris Hilton’s family than we do about our own.

Nevertheless, what some people are going through now, I suspect, may be just a preview of things to come. Undoubtedly, on our way to becoming a Third World country, we won’t have to undergo too many changes. One of the major changes, getting rid of the middle class, is clearly under way. Laws are already in place to make it extremely difficult, for example, for an individual to file bankruptcy in a last-ditch effort to get his affairs straightened out.

The voice of the people is no longer listened to by lawmakers who are only interested in pleasing the lobbyists and multinational corporations. With our open borders we will no longer be considered a sovereign nation, so citizenship will largely depend on who happens to be here at the time a census is conducted.

We got ourselves into this mess by not paying attention. And I really do not believe that whomever is elected president in 2008 can undo the harm that has been done to the country. Although the optimists among us will continue to believe that our country is fail-safe, I’m sure the Romans felt the same way. I think most reasonable people, though, will agree that we are spiraling downhill.

Many people who see the country slipping have abandoned the political parties and consider themselves now to be Independents. Perhaps, if they had made this decision a decade ago, it might have made a difference. But now that we are stuck in a war that may never end, our education and health care systems are disasters, our towns and cities are overrun with illegal immigrants, the Food and Drug Administration lacks the personnel to test much of the food imported from other countries and wages have been allowed to remain stagnant for years, turning back the clock is impossible. Making our government work again would take decades of work. I expect the next few years will see more of the fabric of our society wear away, as more people see their opportunities for a more rewarding life diminishing. Already, some parents who willingly opened their doors to their grown children and grandchildren for a brief stay have seen years pass without the kids’ financial status changing. Many seniors who spent years looking toward retirement have had to take on a job to keep up with the cost of living, or move into their children’s homes.

Prosperity once experienced is prosperity remembered.

It’s one thing to have our way of life changed by things like family tragedies and natural disasters. It’s another thing when the lifestyles of millions are negatively affected by the greed and avarice of a few and their paid minions. And when you have believed all of your life that you lived in a country of the people, by the people and for the people, you feel betrayed.

Learning to live with that betrayal is becoming more difficult with each passing day.

You can join the conversation with Rose Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing

her at

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