The whole world is criticizing our government for the mishandling of the debt crisis. China slammed the U.S. yesterday about how our leaders could not come to an agreement about the debt ceiling (this is not surprising due to the fact that we owe them so much money). U.S. Corporations continue to report fantastic earnings, but we can’t lower our unemployment rate because these same business leaders aren’t hiring. The bottom line is due to mismanagement our country is in a mess. I don’t think I have seen it this bad in my lifetime.
Los Angeles is a city on a decline. It’s political leadership has taken it from a prosperous exciting place to be, to one where unemployment is stagnant at 11.4%. Current policies seem to be anti-business resulting in a reduction in the LA middle class. Sound familiar? The people in LA are angry, but so is everyone across the U.S. In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Bernie Sanders describes Why Americans Are So Angry.
He begins by saying that the rich are getting richer. The effective tax rate for the rich is the lowest in modern history, while the tax rates for “nurses, teachers and firemen” are higher than some billionaires. Sanders states that “If Republicans have their way, the entire burden of deficit reduction will be placed on the elderly, sick, children, and working families.” On top of this, American Corporations, GE and Exxon, have been able use loopholes in the tax system to pay zero taxes. Things are just not right.
I don’t think I am that much different than the rest of the people in the U.S. I want a government that is willing to make tough decisions when necessary. I want a government that is willing to debate and have an animated dialogue that will produce good decisions. I want several perspectives in government to ensure power is being dispersed and the disenfranchised have a voice. I want a political system based in free enterprise that supports innovation and high levels of employment. However, I want a system of governance that looks out for the less fortunate.
Capitalism is a great system for the distribution of goods and services, but it is a lousy system for the distribution of wealth. When FDR proposed his 2nd bill of rights the response from a couple of wealthy families in the U.S. was to approach General Butler with a proposal to overthrow FDR. The self-interest that Adam Smith said would guide the Capitalist system and allow everyone to have a better life can also lead to greed and exploitation.
I want an economic system that recognizes human shortcomings towards greed, and subsequently makes a choice to behave and provide for the people in this country. I do believe that efficiencies can be maintained if a market system is left alone, but I also believe in order for it to perform at high levels it needs to make the choices necessary to behave and take care of the people within the market system. If this occurs it will be left alone. Too bad market leaders haven’t been able to behave leading to anti-business legislation.
Some have said that America is in decline. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. So I Googled the length of time that ancient civilizations lasted. I actually found a study that looked at the ancient civilizations to determine was an average time fame was. The result was an average of 349.2 years, with a median time frame of 330 years.
Our country is not even 300 years old yet. After visiting Ireland this summer it became even more apparent that we are a young country. The fact is many of the characteristics of a declining civilization are in existence in the U.S., which will be a topic of a later blog.
The fact is we are in trouble. There is a huge dearth of leadership in the political realm, and our business leaders are filled with greed. We better make some different choices or we will end up a second class country with the BRICS looking at us going tsk, tsk, tsk, thinking about what could have been.
And that is my thought for the day!