Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Driving the US into irrelevancy

EJ Dionne:
While the United States remains utterly frozen in a debate about budget deficits and all the things that government shouldn’t do, other countries are marrying public and private resources to make themselves stronger and more competitive.

While the United States is not even sure we should have gone halfway toward providing health insurance to all of our citizens, other democratic countries long ago began using government to cover all their citizens — and have health costs far lower than ours.

While Americans pay less in taxes than the citizens of other rich countries — and currently pay the smallest share of their incomes for taxes since 1958 — one house of Congress thinks the only thing that can be done to help the country is to cut taxes even more.

While other countries have jumped ahead of us in green economics, we have backed away from any effort to put a price on carbon to battle climate change and promote new technologies. In the Republican Party, politicians have to apologize for even thinking about global warming.

And while other countries invest in their basic facilities, we are letting our broadband access, roads and bridges, and rail and water systems go to seed. We created the interstate highway system, and now we can’t maintain our sewers.

Oh, yes, and nearly 14 million of our fellow citizens are unemployed.

Okay, now you can go back to the dreary deficit debate if you wish, but this catalogue is offered to suggest the irrelevance of Washington’s conversation to the problems the country faces.
Businesses are doing great. Wall Street is making record profits. Other countries are investing in the future. The Republicans are trying to eliminate government. And you are paying for it.

last week I had a conversation with a Roman Catholic woman, a member of BP's choir at her former church, who complained vociferously that she was paying too much in taxes to support "welfare cheats". Not only was it a crashingly odd experience discovering a tea party type, it was a cognitive dissonance moment. Even in the RC church, I don't think you can sit through a service and not be aware of the exhortations to care for the poor. Or maybe you can.

I really don't know what to do. I feel helpless at this absolutely batshit crazy people rejecting science, economics, and modern thought trying to drive the US into the national equivalent of living "off the grid" in Montana with a shotgun.


Counterlight said...

I think the future of the USA is 17th century Spain. A proud global empire is too proud to adapt to changing circumstances and gets out maneuvered and out produced by smaller more flexible countries. The country turns inward, becomes more conflicted, more isolated, and more parochial. In the end, an isolated, impoverished, and backwards country clings to an empire it can no longer afford.

IT said...

I wish I thought you were wrong, but it seems inevitable.

Harold said...

I'm starting to just wish we'd hurry up and get it over with. Ask me, sometime, what I've seen China doing the next we have a chance to speak.

IT said...

Oh you're depressing me, Harold...

Harold said...

Imagine how I feel when I return and can directly compare the two countries.

IT said...

Harold, do you want to write a guest blog here?