Labor Day 2012: How the American Dream Was Lost, And How We Can Reclaim It


America’s Labor Day holiday once reminded us, “Made in America,” was our National Treasure. “Made in America” turned dreams into reality for a 22 million person strong workforce by 1979. “Made in America” fueled our prosperity through a trade surplus building a growing middle class. 

Today, “Made in America,” employs roughly 12 million of our citizens. Effectively, our loss in manufacturing/industrial jobs since 1979 could in theory employ the vast majority of our unemployed today.

That simple fact is one of many, co-authors James Steele and Donald Barlett examine in their latest book, The Betrayal of the America Dream, available at

Uniting for their attempt in a three decade crusade to debunk political spin, Steel and Barlett trace the history of how the American Dream was betrayed by all parties involved from think tanks to the academic community to politicians of both parties all orchestrated by an ever-growing class of elitists.

Now, before my conservative friends begin to yawn at one more book written by two more liberal journalists, you might wish to click into BookTV at the C-Span web site and listen to Juan Williams’s half hour interview/discussion on the book.

Steele and Barlett pull no punches tracing the betrayal of the American Dream to actions taken by presidents from Carter, Reagan and Clinton to Bush and — yes — Obama. The pair note the outsourcing of the middle class didn’t occur in mass yet was sold off one piece at a time noting examples from America icons such as Vice Grip, Rubber Maid and of course Apple.

There is no spin attempted in the book's analysis of the free trades impact on the middle class which cost the nation over 10 million jobs since 1979, and helped produce a staggering trade deficit. They noted the trade deficit following NAFTA actually exceeded what the national debt totaled by 2007.

As importantly, they note the role of the mainstream media in promoting misinformation hailed as independent academic research or unbiased think tank analysis developed and funded for the purpose of influencing voters to support legislation putting corporate profits first at the cost of the middle class.

Bartlett and Steele pinpoint the moment this America began to disappear: June 1979. American factory jobs soon first went south to Mexico, then to Southeast Asia and eventually China. They even note how the Bay Bridge originally built as a Depression Era Public Works concern was rebuilt using taxpayer funds by a contractor from China.

The Betrayal of the American Dream is a book that's essential reading to anyone trying to make sense of our country's current malaise. If you don’t have time to read the book, consider spending thirty minutes listening to Williams — who built a solid reputation as a respected journalist working for NPR before becoming a Fox News — contributor conducting a thorough interview with the authors on the book.

If you cannot do either, do the math in your head. Thirty years ago America employed 10 million more of our citizens providing the United States with trade surplus and National Treasure making things in America.

On this Labor Day, how many of our unemployed and underemployed would be celebrating today if those jobs had not been outsourced?