Reality often bites, but news this fall of collapsing asset values and housing prices hit a baffled American public like a bombshell. After all, for years, so many Americans had been basking in the glow of their 401Ks and home-equity loans and generally enjoying the most prosperous years of their lives. Playing the stock market. Buying up Dream Houses with no money down. Going on fantasy vacations. Wasn”t that the American Dream? What the hell happened!?!