America has gone from being the home of the largest middle class in the world and the biggest creditor nation in the world to being the biggest debtor nation in the world. We have the largest disparity between our wealthiest citizens, the top 1 1/2 %, and the middle class and the poor since the days prior to the Great Depression.
The question that comes to mind is how did this happen and what can we do about it? Prosperity reigned supreme until we started to buy into the theory that free enterprise, free trade, less government and lower taxes are the order of the day, and the key to success for America’s future. People bought into the ideas that the so-called Reagan revolution brought us. Now we hear from some that less government is not what they want but rather no government. They are destroying the fabric of the nation.
We now hear how the poor deserve to be poor because they haven’t tried hard enough. We have experienced the effects of less regulation, and we have seen the effects of the notion that government is bad.
What has this all gotten us? We lag behind the world in life expectancy, we buy Chinese made products, we have more people living in poverty and we have more children going to bed hungry, we make less money per hour. Our bridges are collapsing, our roads are full of holes, our airports are overcrowded, and our hopes for the future are diminished. We have stopped listening to one another and our trust in all of our institutions is at an all time low. This is more than a malaise , this is a disaster. We need to return to what made us successful in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
Free trade is not free, it has never worked, except for international corporations that reap the benefits of cheap labor, unsafe working conditions and poor environmental standards. We had the greatest economy in the world and government had a part in it, a large part. We attack the very fabric of what it takes to be a nation rather than a bunch of individuals when we frame the discussion by calling those who hire people the providers and the workers, users. Without the American worker those providers would not be able to make anything. We used to protect new ventures from unfair competition, and in fact we worked to protect all of our businesses from unfair competition by having tariffs. There is nothing free about free trade as we have seen developed countries like the United States and Great Britain suffer and their standard of living go down since we bought into the fable of free trade.
When America became the arms producer for the all with the government our government hiring people to arm Britain and others. We spent 23.6% of our GDP on putting America to work. When Americans work they pay taxes and we can afford to help our neighbors. We had much higher taxes under a Republican, Dwight David Eisenhower, but yet our economy was the envy of the world.
Now our infrastructure is crumbling and our nation, the so-called wealthiest nation cumulatively in the world have a burgeoning growth of the poor and homeless. We spend more money on the military than other western nations put together. We can no longer afford to be the policeman of the world. We need to rebuild America and put America to work, and take care of our own.
We need to fulfill our destiny and in order to do this we need to insist that our government take responsibility for the conditions that we live in, those with obesity because of eating the wrong foods due to poverty, our mental health issues that grow increasingly because of the depression that many suffer from due to their inability to provide food for their children and a roof over their heads must be helped as Franklin Roosevelt talked about.
America we need a 2nd Bill of Rights and a Congress with the courage to no longer be the No Way, Congress but be a Congress like my parents Congress and provide for the needs of the people. We need to recognize that there are certain inalienable economic rights and to establish those rights.