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Why Do We Need to “Restore” Basic Values like Work, Home Ownership, Education, and Savings?

January 31, 2012

In his January 24, 2012 State of the Union Address President Barack Obama spoke of the optimism of the World War II generation and noted: 

“They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share – the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.  The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important.”

But as the table below shows, the “challenge is more urgent” because of the failed economic policies of President Obama:



 Before Obama



“Do Well Enough to Raise a Family”


134.4 million
(Dec. 2008)

131.9 million
(Dec. 2011)

-2.5 million


11.3 million
(Dec. 2008)

13.1 million
(Dec. 2011)

+1.8 million

“Own a Home”

Homeownership Rate

(2008 Q4)

(2011 Q3)


“Send Your Kids to College”

Average College Tuition




“Put a Little Away for Retirement”

Average Annual Savings Rate

(2008 Q4)

(2011 Q3)