The Fading Scent Of The American Dream

The Fading Scent Of The American Dream, by Charles Hugh Smith.

If you talk to young people struggling to make ends meet and raise children, or read articles about retirees who can’t afford to retire, you can’t help but detect the fading scent of prosperity.

It has steadily been lost to stagnation, under-reported inflation and soaring inequality, a substitution of illusion for reality bolstered by the systemic corruption of authentic measures of prosperity and well-being.

In other words, the American-Dream idea that life should get easier and more prosperous as the natural course of progress is still embedded in our collective memory, even though the collective reality has changed.

For the bottom 95%, life is typically getting harder and less prosperous as the cost of living rises, wages are stagnant and the demands on workers increase.

Meanwhile, the asset bubbles inflated by central banks have enriched the top 10% of households, which own over 75% of all assets and take home over 50% of all household income.

The vast majority of household wealth is held by the top few households: the top .1% own roughly 25% of all US household wealth, the top 1% around 40%, and so on. So the households between 80% and and 95% own a very modest percentage of what the top 96%-99% own.

Much the same applies in Australia, though not quite as intensely. When the housing bubble breaks on the Australian East Coast, this issue will come under much closer scrutiny.