Here in the United States we like to say we live in the greatest country in the world. I believe that this is indeed the case, but nothing lasts forever. We have operated for over two centuries with the idea that the USA will last forever, so we can do whatever we please and all will be forgiven. In the meantime, we have charged up those credit cards, both personal and national, lived outside of our means, and said “screw it” I’ll pay for that tomorrow.
I’m as guilty as the next guy, probably more so. I have built up sizable debt and it has cost me dearly. For close to fifty years I have spared myself no indulgence. I have been hedonistic and selfish, just like my country. And finally my empire failed.
A wise young man put it into perspective the other day. Empires have failed throughout history. It is a never-ending cycle. The great civilizations of the world have all failed at some point. That point was usually when they lost their focus on what they were built upon, whether it was religion or ideology. As the focus wanes, the greed, hubris and hedonism sets in. Down goes the empire.
The United States has never been an empire in the classic sense of the word. We have been more of a shadow empire, dabbling in nation-building and propping up one strongman over another in the interest of what is good for US. Saddam Hussein is the classic example of this. We pick a winner and then make sure they win, throwing in as much money as it takes to get it done.. We give billions of dollars to “friendly” foreign dictators each year. We need to turn off the faucet.
The United States of America is turning into a modern-day ruin. Our cities are crumbling and rotting. The area that I live in is known as the rust belt. Buffalo, Detroit, Milwaukee and Cleveland, large cities all, have seen their factories close and their unemployment rates go through the roof. It is estimated that more than half of the black men in Milwaukee were unemployed in 2009. I spent the evening in Dayton, Ohio yesterday. I was stricken with sadness by the picture of huge factories shuttered and decaying. How is it that we have let our cities fail? Plain and simple, we’ve invested in other countries when we should have been investing in ourselves.
We need to get back to the business of being the greatest country in the world. That doesn’t mean that we bail out failing car companies. It means we shift our focus to sustainable business and infrastructure. It means we educate ALL of our children to the best of their abilities and create jobs that can compete with crime as a viable profession for our city kids. We need to rebuild the middle class and address the huge mass of citizens that fall below the poverty line (that line is a discussion for another day). The problem is the people who currently hold the power. Rich folks. Nothing but rich folks.
The conservative right likes to yell really loud about fiscal austerity. What they are really trying to do is destroy the middle class. “Big business will save the country. Just let them do their thing.” Right. Because they’ve done such a great job in the past. American car companies failed because they didn’t evolve. They kept pumping out different versions of the same car year after year. They were overtaken by competitors who used our own technology against us. We innovated and they implemented, making better cars less expensively. It is the same in every industry.
The liberal left is really good at crying too. “Spend spend spend and jobs will happen. They have to.” Right. Not so much. The left did so much crying about their issues that they couldn’t get their agenda completed before they were unseated. “The President isn’t liberal enough.” “He doesn’t support gay marriage.” “He isn’t pro-choice enough.” “He’s too slow on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.” “He compromised too much.” Are these things really the most important things to fix the country? If not, then why do we waste time with them. I love President Obama, and I think he is absolutely moving in the right direction. His own party is getting in his way. This country will be forever deadlocked if we maintain the status quo. We need a viable third party to break the deadlock. A Moderate Party. A Party of the People.
The Party of the People should be for the people and by the people. It should be dedicated to rebuilding our economy one neighborhood at a time. The Party of the People should be dedicated to Americans helping Americans. The haves helping the have-nots so we evolve into an even greater country where all have a brighter future and share in the bounty. Our cities are screwed, but they are not hopeless. All they need is an investment of time and hard work by all of our citizens. We can rebuild the rust belt and the rest of the country will follow. I talk to these people every night and they are bowed and bent, but certainly not broken.
What we really need to do is get back to basics. Pull back on the foreign aid and nation building. Eliminate weapons programs that are superfluous and redundant. Fix the health care bill to actually make it more efficient and accountable. We spend over forty percent of our money on entitlements that can’t be reduced. Cut down the size of government by ten percent, but do it in increments. Fix the tax code to make it easier to use and also harder to manipulate. It costs way too muck money just to collect the tax every year. I believe that we can balance the budget and start paying down the debt the next five years, but only if we do it strategically.
I’m making it my mission to fix my city. I don’t have two nickels to rub together, but I have broad shoulders. I’m strong and motivated. And I love the sound of my own voice. Beware. I am going to ask you to help.
Until next time,