TO INVEST, OR NOT TO INVEST? THAT, SADLY—WHERE THE U.S. IS CONCERNED—IS NO LONGER THE QUESTION
The most disturbing thing about the Great Recession is how little we seem to have learned from it. The financial institutions which were the primary cause of it have been bailed out by their victims (the typical U.S. taxpayer). How cool is that if you are a banker? You can come near to destroying your own country—and the U.S.A. will pay you for the privilege. In fact, the Federal Reserve is still subsidizing the financial sector throughout Quantitative Easing to the tune of $85 billion a month.
Meanwhile, the deep structural problems that beset our economy are causing truly terrible damage on an ongoing basis—and vast human misery. Yet, there is still no sign of the grass roots outrage that might force change.
What are these deep structural problems? I shall list but a handful.
- The financialization and corporatization of the U.S. in almost every conceivable way from our daily lives to Congress.
- The abdication of most corporations from any feelings of responsibility towards their workers.
- Income inequality on a massive and steadily increasing scale.
- Unemployment, under-employment, or job insecurity nearly across the board.
- Declining earnings for most Americans. In fact, we are now back at 1995 earning power—and continuing to lose ground.
- Increasing costs for all Americans—particularly where gas, education, healthcare and housing costs are concerned. But other area have not remained inflation free. Food costs have also increased.
This seems to be a remarkably supine electorate. It is profoundly disturbing. Somewhere along the line—which broadly means over the last 40 years—corporate power seems to have pounded most Americans into fatalistic acceptance of the rankest injustices. It’s a truly miserable story.
The above chart—which I found on that superb financial site, THE BIG PICTURE—demonstrates the inadequacy of the U.S.’s investment in infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, ports, sewers etc.). To that depressing fact should be added the unwillingness of corporate America, despite record profits, to invest adequately as well. Overall, we have a serious investment deficit.
No investment in America today—no American jobs tomorrow.
This never used to be the American Way, but clearly times have changed. And so have Americans.
King George had nothing on the abuse inflicted on Americans by Americans.
Meanwhile, this Great Nation has been busy fighting a war in Afghanistan (while giving it intermittent attention) while invading Iraq (for no good reason at all).
We’ve killed hundred of thousands, made millions wretched, wasted trillions of dollars, put our children into debt, wrecked countries, and de-stabilized whole regions. Add in our own dead and wounded—and the misery and vast costs involved—and one cannot but wonder whether this is America’s shining hour.
We are, as others have already said, “better than this.” It might be helpful if we demonstrated this.
PUBLIC OPINION: Only 28% of Americans currently think the war in Afghanistan has been worthwhile.