junebug, what exactly are you referring to with the phrase "the cost of the American Dream"? I'm kind of assuming home ownership? If so, keep in mind that home ownership is not a right, it's a privilege and a responsibility. Not everyone is suited to it, or in pursuit of it, and that's more than okay, that's exactly as it must be.
Angfauglir raises a yet another important point - the consequences to all parties must be considered. There are at least* two "laws" that need to be remembered whenever one wants to implement a sweeping change - the 80/20 rule
and the law of unintended consequences
, Pay particular attention to the third bullet point in the unintended consequences link - that one is exactly what I'm talking about.
In the days before the Republican party was the party of family values, they used to bill themselves as the pro-business party. It was hugely successful for them too - they presented themselves as the party of business, and the American public, being poorly trained in critical thinking, mistook that to mean that they were the party of business in general, as opposed to the party of business owners. In order to effect change, their stance needs to be remembered - they will always, always, always legislate in favor of business owners
, not employees
. The minimum wage could be tweaked, but you have to consider the implications too.
And this is not to say that Republicans are bad people, nor that Democrats are better. They have different approaches to the same problems, but it's hard to treat it like much more than political theater, as they rarely take action to alter the status quo (defined as: The existing state of affairs, esp. regarding social or political issues: "they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo". Google dictionary
).*Edited to add: at least