One small step ….

The Iowa caucuses are widely being acclaimed as a “stand for change” and hopefully they were. Yet the change represented by the two front running candidates of each party is a small one indeed and nothing even close to what this nation needs. If you take all the messages of all the candidates, including the darlings of the “outsiders” Kucinich and Paul, we still would only barely be scratching the surface of America’s real needs.

Health care is now acknowledged to be an issue. Glory hallelujah! It has only taken four long decades to get this far, and this far isn’t very far if you listen to the platforms of all but Kucinich. The horrible mistake in Iraq has so preoccupied us and used up our rapidly declining national resources that we have yet to address in a meaningful way the really biggest issues of the day.

Number one would be our debt load and the mess the financial markets are in. Not only is the national debt way beyond our means, but state and local governments have loaded up on debt in the form of bond issues that will take decades to pay off. Worse still is the enormous debt of both the corporate world and personal individual debt.

As a result of these debt levels we are now seeing pieces of us being sold to the highest bidders around the world. Dubai and China, among others, snap up chunks of our assets at fire sales caused by the decline of our financial condition. The proponents of “free trade” have succeeded in pushing us to second world status.

Another little discussed problem we face is a rapidly decaying infrastructure, both public and private. As I write, a series of storms is lashing California, bringing a threat that our state has long ignored – a levee system that exposes hundreds of thousands of residents to flooding because it has been left without maintenance for so long any large storm could make Katrina look mild in comparison.

California used to lead the nation in highway and public facility building until short sighted “tax reformers” imposed unrealistic limits on property taxes, a blight that has spread around the nation. Our schools once were the envy of the world and now rot in decay and we are given platitudes such as “N o Child Left Behind” instead of a first rate education system.

To me all of this reflects a regrettable level of selfishness among Americans. We prefer big screen televisions and flashy SUV’s to paying for the common good. In fact, to even raise the common good as an issue brands one as some sort of left collectivist who is out of touch with the people’s will.

America was founded for the common good. That common good included individual liberty as a necessary component, but the individual was always a part of the whole, not free of communal obligations.

We need candidates who address the common good, the weakness of individualism gone rampant and the supremacy of the corporate behemoth at the expense of all else.

Sen. Obama and Gov. Huckabee has talked of change and claimed to stand outside the standard politics. But unless they seriously go after the weakness of our selfishness they are just one small step away from the way things are.

Comments

  1. peccavi

    “America was founded for the common good. That common good included individual liberty as a necessary component, but the individual was always a part of the whole, not free of communal obligations.

    We need candidates who address the common good, the weakness of individualism gone rampant and the supremacy of the corporate behemoth at the expense of all else.”

    Well unfortunately, the answer isn’t socialism. While the war, and our others overseas obligations i.e. Korea, Germany, Okinawa, and many other overseas US installations, are certainly costing us tons of money that could be rerouted, and better spent on buying down our national debt, etc., we can ill afford to take one new obligations and entitlements. In fact, obligations and entitlements are huge part of the problem and need to be dealt with fast. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, need to be reformed. And while the idea of a safety net for the lower classe is a good one, allowing those who are capable of taking care of themselves to do so, is also very good idea. Requiring everyone to have health insurance in the way we require people to have car insurance is a good idea. Having the government provide insurance for those who cannot provide proof that they are getting it for themselves is a very good idea. The government could shop this large group of people who need coverage to tons of eager insurance companies, who certainly would love to bid on contracts to ensure millions and millions of people with guaranteed payment of premium. If the government could then do a good job with this pool of people, then they might attract even more people to their program. Perhaps, employers to did not offer their own insurance could be mandated to pay a percentage of the employees cost. The rest could come out as a payroll deduction, and perhaps a tax break could be given for this to those at the lower end of the economic scale. Reduction and whole scale revision of corporate tax codes, in an effort to encourage the growth of business in this country might be a helpful way of offsetting the burden. Corporate taxes are merely passed on as costs to the consumer their reduction or elimination would only benefit the citizens. Of course, the entire tax code needs to be simplified.
    It frightens me that not only the Democratic but also the Republican front-runners seem to be” big government” people.
    In these times of economic difficulty spending needs to be reined in in large ways relief needs be provided to people by putting more money into their hands, to complain about economic trouble created by the war, in one breath, only to demand a new entitlement that is complete government control of health care, in the next breath, is silly.
    Government does not need to take over things to fix problems it merely needs to nudge the private sector and citizens in the right direction.

    Socially liberal, fiscally conservative… constitutionalist, libertarian…
    empower & encourage people to take care of themselves.
    the solution isn’t always to throw more $ at the proplem.