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It Sucks to Be an American

Welcome to the New Normal, comrades.

by
Stephen Green

Bio

February 10, 2014 - 12:09 am

As someone who came of age during the Go-Go Eighties and the Even Go-Go-er Nineties, I could never have imagined myself writing “It sucks to be an American.” That’s the kind of thing progressives say, or at least think very loudly — but it certainly isn’t the kind of thing to ever enter the mind of a liberty-loving conservative or libertarian. But the news allows — the numbers allow — no other conclusion, so now it must be said.

It sucks to be an American.

Let’s start with the record numbers of Americans who have decided it sucks so badly to be one that they have to stop doing it. Robert Wood reports for Forbes that last quarter 630 Americans renounced their citizenship, which “brings the total number to 2,999 for all of 2013″:

The previous record high for a year was 1,781 set in 2011. It’s a 221% increase over the 932 who left in 2012. You can call it a shaming or a public record, but the Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. Citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency. The public outing puts Americans on notice who relinquished their rights.

But it wasn’t their rights they were renouncing — it was onerous tax duties they were abandoning. Somebody has to pay for all the Obamacare benefits, and Uncle Sam’s reach extends to foreign earnings for which our expatriate American friends already pay foreign taxes. Enough, said a record 2,999 people, is enough.

Many of the 317,493,212 of us who remain either have, or soon will have, come to the same conclusion that it sucks to be an American. Gallup reported late last week that their estimate of the country’s unemployment rate in January is far more dire than Washington’s rosy 6.6% figure. That’s up four tenths of a point since December. Worse, though, is Gallup’s estimate of the underemployment rate, which now stands at 18.6%. The payroll to population rate fell almost a full point from December, to 42.0% from 42.9%. That’s the lowest ratio of Americans with paychecks to those without since March of 2011. Nice work if you can get it, but increasingly we can’t. And for all those without, it does indeed suck to be an American.

What might be most remarkable of all is that in this era of hope and change, we consider 6.6% unemployment to be pretty good. Welcome to the New Normal, comrades.

Some of our friends on the left have admitted that the Congressional Budget Office has it exactly right when it says that Obamacare will destroy the work-hour equivalent of up to 2.5 million jobs — all by 2017. I’ll spare you my back-of-the-envelope math, but using Gallup’s figures, already 24.8 million Americans are underemployed. Obamacare will increase that figure by nearly 10 percent. And that’s just in the law’s first three years.

For those who will see their work hours and their paychecks shrink due to Washington’s beneficence, there’s no doubt that it sucks to be an American.

Let’s not forget the lucky ones, the ones who manage to keep their full-time jobs. There will be fewer of them working in an economy growing more slowly trying to pay for expanded benefits. Health insurance subsidies, food stamps, the growing Social Security and Medicare rolls — all of these things will require increasing the tax burden on America’s producing class even further. They’ll enjoy the privilege of taking home less so that others might have slightly more, all in the name of fairness. They might not think so yet, but there will come a day when they, too, decide it sucks to be an American.

Washington, I might add, continues to do just fine. The politicians vote for their own perks and pay raises. The lobbyists get their fat paychecks for getting the politicians to write the loopholes benefitting America’s “connected class” of big banks, financiers, particular tech companies, Hollywood, and of course the legal profession.

For them, it’s pretty good to be an American — if we can still really call them that.

Stephen Green began blogging at VodkaPundit.com in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

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Top Rated Comments   
Paraphrasing the remark of a certain First Lady: After the presidential election, November
2012...for the first time in my life I am Not proud to be an American. I don't recognize these
People anymore. What have we become? A nation of cry baby pajama people who
Cry for their bottle, cry for their entitlements, the warmth of their government
Mandated crib. Waaaaaaah. If that's what America's become I want out!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Timeshare Americans, the leftists who are here to use the property...but not treat it like owners of it.

The OWS (One World Socialists...on their way to One World Communism) don't particularly like America. Certainly have very little in common with Flyover America.

If they could, they would speak French, cook Italian and live Bohemian.

But, they are stuck here...trying to "transform" the unwashed against their will, indoctrinate their children and weaken the resistance.

They want to surrender the might of the most powerful nation ever built...to the winds of fate of a marriage between radical leftism and radical Islam.

Yes, it sucks to be American...when the government is now controlled by One World Communists, our media is controlled by their Propaganda Machine, Hollywood pumps out hatefest movies slandering the free market and patriots in the resistance and academia is an indoctrination farm with bumper crops of brainwashed dupes.

It sucks because the resistance has a home team that doesn't understand, can't comprehend and fumbles, stumbles, mumbles away more and more protections each and every day.

It sucks because being slandered, lied to, spied on and having rights ripped away every day is death by a thousand cuts.

Those abandoning the resistance have given up. They can't take any more. They have lost hope.

I turned 60 in August. In my mind, I don't feel that number. But, the days are coming when I will not be able to offer much to my countrymen. I stand shoulder to shoulder with them, but once broad shoulders and sturdy legs ache in the mornings now.

And my heart aches more.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cheer up. Three more years of King Obama and then eight of Madam Depraved Indifference, and you will look back at 2014 as the good old days.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (64)
All Comments   (64)
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Nobel Peace Prize winning economist Benjamin Freeman,
"Downturns have moral consequences. As people feel insecure and unhappy, nepotism, racism, and other forms of intolerance and close-mindedness rise and with them antidemocratic forces. Charitable donations fall. The great depression followed by Hitler and the 2nd world war is the prime example. We are living in another one today." The real question for each of us is, "Are we helping or hurting, and who are we helping or hurting?"

Our non-partisan community project, Please Count Me, gives people a voice to report their employment status no matter if they are super-employed, fully-employed, unemployed, or under-employed. Please add yourself to the count and share with others at http://www.pleasecountme.org Let's get more Americans working for an America that works. Thank you.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
To the doomsayers: yes, the news is grim. And that is why we're going to win.

Look at these people. They live to stop and to destroy. Even if they won as completely as they ever could, what would they be left with? Nothing, and plenty of it. Other bureaucrats to stop, other regulators to destroy. No system that inevitably self-cannibalizes can win.

And you might believe me, but think that the turnaround will happen outside your lifetime. All I can tell you is that the challenges we face are unbeaten, but that is not proof they are unbeatable. Most of the competition facing similar troubles are cowards or fakes. I will be d*mned if I'm going let Europe's incompetent self-management or China's conniving micromanagement be my predictor for my country.

Never mind the economic numbers. If you really want to read them, I'll summarize the next three years for you: The numbers get worse. The government gets stupider. Washington finds new ways to squeeze, pry, and regulate. Your lives will all get harder, sometimes unbearably so. And now that you do not need to waste time on the news, and can put more energy into supporting candidates and campaigning against the... ahem... "inevitable". Why merely get mad when you can make them pay? Pay in lost power, in their overinflated paychecks, in their hubristic egos, their smug self-assurance, their faith in their desolate cause.

Things are bad, but they are bad because of a pathogen. Remove that pathogen, and the illness will clear, I promise you.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
A co-worker of mine made a salient point yesterday. He said "We are of the class that benefit from nothing". We make too much money to get any kind of aid yet we are taxed mercilessly and are not wealthy enough to qualify for any loopholes.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I decline to join the chorus of inevitable, unending decline.

We live in that depressing moment after the victory of an insurgent movement, when, to those who oppose it, everything is decline and disaster. History shows that such victories are often impermanent. It shows that the modern left, in particular, is a lot better at gaining power than holding it. Why? Because most of their key beliefs aren’t true, so their governance doesn’t work.

I can’t shake the feeling that this left-wing victory is a fluke, because it’s out of joint with the times. This is the age of the Internet, of Amazon, of ever greater customization and customer service. We finally have the infrastructure for cheap, almost frictionless, very fine grained free markets. And this is the moment we turn back to huge, lumbering, FDR-style government bureaucracies, running everything out of Washington? Anything’s possible, but that really seems unlikely.

No more frontiers? Here’s one: nearly half the land in the U.S. is arid or semiarid. Two-thirds of Australia is the same. What would be the impact of cheap desalination in parched countries like that? Think that'll never happen?

Cfbleachers: I’ve been reading your comments for quite a while, and you are just flat-out brilliant. But what’s this; anticipating the sunset at 60? I’m two years older and rarin’ to go. The mortality tables say we’ve likely got 20 years or more; I want to do something in them, aches be damned. I’ll take my charge from Tennyson:

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...nearly half the land in the U.S. is arid or semiarid. Two-thirds of Australia is the same."

Not if the two countries' governments and the environmentalists have anything to do with it. Remember: mustn't change Nature. If you do, things will be different.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Such pronounced regresses caused by 'progressives' !

I prefer it the other way 'round.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
After surveying the accomplished and looming wreckage of the GW Bush administration in 2003, I wrote, "When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free."

I never imagined it would happen so quickly, though.

http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2008/10/dawn-of-end-of-freedom.html
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Steve...MOVE to different state ! FLORIDA is much nicer !
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
No problem!! I was watching NBC's coverage of the Olympics over the weekend, and according to them, there is this amazing country where all kinds of opportunities are available. From what I can tell from NBC's glowing reports, the Russian Republic looks like greatest place on earth. Let's Go!! Oh wait, no toilet paper? Never mind.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hear Pravda makes get toilet paper as well as fish wrap.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pravda has more journalistic integrity than the NYT.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
After consideration, I think it's more accurate to say it sucks to live in America at this particular point in history. A lot of us grew up in a different time. We didn't have our brains programmed with liberal hogwash at school. We work for a living. We want to be proud of our country. Problem is, the country is both too big and complex AND too small and petty to hold us. It's like we used to live in a country - now we live in a playpen.

But there's still no place else to go.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm wondering when this time was. My textbooks (standard New York State) in the early 70's were already showing a leftist tinge.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
And I'm hoping this is just a rough patch. We do have them, as a country, from time to time. But there's no use wishing for America's past greatness to return. That's gone forever, along with the frontier and heavy industry. If America becomes great again, it will be for different reasons - one of which will not be a European-style healthcare system. But I can't imagine how.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, it sucks to be an American under 0bummer. On the bright side, we can look forward to that tingly feeling of smoke blowing up our a$$es when they spin the numbers to prove that there are now 2,999 fewer unemployed citizens.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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