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  Our Wealth-Oriented Economy: ''America, the Beautiful ain't so pretty any more''
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COMMENTARY:

Our Wealth-Oriented Economy: "America, the Beautiful ain't so pretty any more"

by Peter Stern

Our irresponsible leaders cannot be permitted to continue ravaging profits all over the globe, like unruly children grabbing for all the merchandise in a candy store.
Once upon a time in America, there was a large working middle class and competition was good—but that was then, and this is now.

I've been writing about the brutal American economy for the past seven years, since the Bush administration's special interest budget and political power-plays began forcing more Americans to and below the poverty level. Finally, as America's rulers are gaining vast wealth, they also are eliminating the remainder of America's middle class.

The middle class has become an endangered species much as the Amazon rainforests, African elephants and mountain gorillas, India's Bengal Tigers and our own American Timber Wolves. We have witnessed our government of hell-bent money mongers swooping down on the ideology, and reality, of making profits above all else.

We are watching helplessly as our government pushes for toll roads and coal plants and for the protection of the wealthy in the eyes of what once was the proud law of our American Constitution, which has become a political and legal table tennis platform for all sorts of proposed amendments and modifications to offer more protection for the Kings and Queens of America.

Even the famous playwright Arthur Miller could not have prophesied all this in his writing the true "American Tragedy" we currently are witnessing. He might have called what is occurring "Death of the American People."

The end of the American middle class is approaching, and millions of Americans have no jobs, no way to pay their mortgages and daily living expenses. The Bush administration, via its recurring lawmaking benefiting the business and credit corporations, has forced more Americans into poverty than since The Great Depression days of the 30's. Home foreclosures are at an all-time high. American jobs continue to be sent overseas for cheaper labor. The businesses of energy (oil, gas, electricity), technology, religion, health care, pharmaceuticals, etc., all are doing very well and are reaping vast fortunes for the favored few. The majority of Americans are scavenging to earn their living expenses. Most of us are trapped inside some invisible prison—trapped by our over-use of revolving credit with huge sums of interest flying over our heads. The majority of us are doomed.

America's government is doing more for people overseas than for its own citizens. We do more for illegal immigrants working here than we do for our own.

Computer guru multi-millionaire Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, has the audacity to write an article in the Washington Post (of which his wife Melinda is a Director) that innovation and competition are the key to a greater American economy. This from a man who has forged a monopoly in the computer field, having fought "tooth and nail" for all technology companies to use his Windows Operating System. Gates writes in his February 22nd article, titled "How to Keep America Competitive": "Two steps are critical. First, we must demand strong schools so that young Americans enter the workforce with the math, science and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in the knowledge economy. We must also make it easier for foreign-born scientists and engineers to work for U.S. companies."

The great Tao philosopher Lao Tzu (600 BC) is credited with stating, "Beware of the man who blows hot and cold in one breath." This prophecy, my friends, often holds very true for men like Bill Gates.

In one breath we're told by Gates and our elected officials that educating our children is the most important issue we face—but in reality we ensure that the public school systems fail throughout our nation, and that a higher education for most is unattainable. Our children are our most precious natural resource; however, we exploit and neglect them, just as we've done to most of our natural resources.

In the same breath we're told by Gates and our elected officials that we should make it easier for those outside our nation to come into America to work at American jobs if companies can't get Americans to do the technical and other jobs. But how can American children get those jobs if the cost of higher education remains unaffordable to them? At the same time, we make it easy for immigrants from, for example, India and China (whose advanced education in those countries costs them very little) to receive U.S. work visas. They then will work here for less money than their American counterparts, often without health and other benefits.

According to an article titled, "U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty" by Tony Pugh of McClatchy Newspapers, Sunday, February 25, 2007:

"The portion of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line, and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen."

One thing is very clear, the U.S. economy cannot continue to deny American citizens the basic needs of daily living. Our nation has swiftly moved from a Representative Democratic Republic to a seemingly Fascist Monarchy in which only the chosen few get the wealth and perks. In short, we are hurting our own people socially, politically and economically by denying them successful lives.

We must all stand up and demand accountability, starting with a big change in America's management, and a requirement that our government provide all Americans with:

  • Jobs at all skill levels for any American who wants to work
  • Affordable public schools and higher education that provide quality programs for all children
  • Make higher education more affordable for all American children
  • Affordable and quality health care
  • Enforce our immigration laws
  • Fairer distribution of taxation
  • Holdback on "rogue" cutthroat profiteering
  • Decrease/stop outsourcing of American jobs
  • Find fair alternative sources of tax revenue
  • Provide quality affordable health insurance
  • Provide affordable Rx medication and insurance premiums
  • Provide our veterans with the goods and services they need
  • Develop more controls on the financial credit/cards industry and high runaway interest rates
  • Provide more tax dollars for domestic needs and decrease the budget for overseas ventures.
Most of all, whatever happened to that great American virtue of getting "an honest day's pay for an honest day's work" ?

While it's true that the America we once knew has changed over the past several generations, there are values that still should be employed by all of us to make this nation great again. We can't do that if our leaders continue to be irresponsible. They can't be permitted to continue ravaging profits all over the globe, like unruly children grabbing for all the merchandise in a candy store.

I look at this once-great nation with tearing eyes and sadly shake my head, remembering what it once was and how we all once worked together to keep it great.

Are those days gone forever?


Peter Stern of Driftwood, TX, a former Director of Information Services, university professor and public school administrator, is a political writer well-known and published frequently throughout the Texas community and nationwide. He is a Disabled Vietnam Veteran and holds three post-graduate degrees. You may contact him at: pstern@austin.rr.com.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

pRepublication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on November 27, 2007.

 

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