Monday, June 16, 2008

The American Dream, By Hook or by Crook

The American Dream is a desirable goal for many in this country. However, as attainment by “hook” or some fair, legitimate means becomes more of a challenge, “crook,” or by any means necessary, appears to be gaining ground.

Bitterness and entitlement in America are on the rise and are factors contributing to the increase of Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) cases, those actions in which unscrupulous individuals use the age and/or incapacitation of a person to gain control of their personal assets and “redistribute” them in a manner contrary to what the person intended.

These incidents can happen during the person’s lifetime or posthumously. Family members, friends or even “trusted” associates like a lawyer or caregiver are potential IRA practitioners.

With manipulation, IRA can be "lawfully" accomplished as these cases often occur within legal frameworks such as guardianships, trusts or wills. And through these means, the American Dreams of many are being lost to financial predators who feed off the efforts of others.

An annual “Attitudes in the American Workplace" poll conducted by Zogby International for The Marlin Company ( recently found more than half of U.S. workers say the American Dream is unattainable and nearly half blame the political system for the deterioration in their economic circumstances.

Per a company press release, the workplace poll, conducted in May 2008, found that nearly three quarters of U.S. workers (74.7%) say the American Dream is not as attainable today as it was eight years ago; 52.4% say it is simply unattainable for the average American. The survey defines the American Dream as “the opportunity to have a nice home, financial security for you and your family, and hope for the future.”

The workplace poll also found that nearly half (45.1%) of U.S. workers admit to being “bitter” because “the political system has caused a deterioration of [their] economic circumstances.” Nearly half (47.5%) of 30-49 year-olds surveyed report feeling bitter, while only 38.4% of 18-29 year-olds feel bitter.

While the American political system is certainly no friend to many honest, hard-working taxpayers, the impact of personal responsibility (i.e., good decisions v. bad judgment) is an equally important determinant with regard to success (or lack of) in attaining the American Dream. Too many people sadly have a sense of entitlement and would rather blame government than themselves when they fall short of expectations.

Many responsible Americans believe in the civic duty of paying taxes to fund our country’s defense, border security, transportation systems and other functions that surpass the capabilities of a private individual. They do not, however, condone the culture that demands more government and less individual responsibility.

Other people increasingly want to be taken care of them. They are “entitled.” They want a nice, secure standard of living, but too often aren’t willing to follow a responsible life course in order to provide such opportunity for themselves. These days, it’s easy to paint oneself as some breed of victim. And there’s usually a government bureaucracy nearby to help solidify that tag and redistribute the hard-earned dollars of responsible taxpayers to fund imprudent behavior as well as the bad decisions of our nation’s “disadvantaged.” Don’t get us wrong — that whole safety net deal is an important concept for a civilized society, but does the net have to be sized to meet the needs of the Northern Hemisphere? Especially as decreasing numbers of us are paying for it!!

And how does this tie back into IRA cases? Very simply, people these days aren’t exclusive in wanting government money. A more realistic view indicates that many just want other people’s money - from wherever the best prospect for success arises. Whether via government, from a spouse, through an employer or by “redistributing” assets from the dead or disabled, identifying and making the most of available opportunities is key. IRA cases are actions of opportunity most often perpetrated by those with a seriously inflated sense of entitlement.

Our IRA perpetrators, the financial predators hoping to claim your American Dream are fondly known as asset looters, property poachers, grave robbers and/or walker stalkers. Regardless of what they are called, they bring to mind a great quote by Dr. Walter E. Williams:

“The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.”

Enough said.

Lou Ann Anderson is producer of The Lynn Woolley Show, a Texas-based talk radio program. She also is an advocate working to create awareness regarding the Texas probate system and its surrounding culture ( Lou Ann may be contacted at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the " Asset Looters" as you have called them in this article have help from the said organizations that claim to help Elders that have been abused.
For instance here in St Clair County Illinois, you can file just complaints about seniors being abused, neglected and or financially exploitated only to be deemed a liar due to the said organizations having personal relationships with the accused abusers. ( The Guardians)
These accused abusers form long lasting ties and secured bonds with any and every elder/senior program offered in the county and state as well as the court systems and local attorneys who do the Guardian's biddings.
The Abusers form corruption rings giving pay offs to all of these organizations in forms of money and or gifts as well as personal favors. They fill the attorneys pockets on a regular basis by utilizing their services which includes giving referrals for guardianships and scratching backs, if you get my drift.
How can we shut down these looters and abusers? I do not think there is one solution and or answer that I can give for this HUGE problem that Americans are continuing to face.
I do believe however that if we bond together as one, and scream to the entire United States of America, we can make a difference.
We need to form a National Organization wihtin the United States broken off by branches state by state.
We need to appeal to the public by seeking the media, giving talks at local churches and other legit senior orgnizations. We need to hold marches like Civil Rights Leaders do and have done for years all over the United States.
I believe we can make a difference just by doing these things that I have mentioned.
Thanks again for providing this blog to the public in order to spread the word about Elder Abuse.
Angela Jacobs
( Advocate for the Eldery in Illinois)