Broke and Broken: It’s Time to Start Fixing Our Country
The U.S. is still a great country to live in. We should be thankful for the opportunities and freedoms that we have. I’m sure that most of us can agree on that.
But, let’s be frank… we have fallen from our pedestal and we are now getting it handed to us by other ‘advanced economy’ countries. Everyone’s current quality of life is at stake. We need to improve and progress. And we need to do it quickly.
Acknowledging that we have room for improvement as a country and actually taking action to push for changes for the better is about the most patriotic thing you can do. Ready to get angry and then (hopefully) inspired?
The New York Times produced this telling graph:
What Can We Take Away From This?
- We’re third from the bottom in economic equality. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getter poorer. And the middle class has been almost completely gutted already. Dead? It’s on CPR. Regardless of political affiliation, you have to admit that this is a bad direction for our country to move in. The continued trend of decent paying jobs being slashed or outsourced and CEO’s and bankers making off like bandits is a surefire way to complete economic collapse. And look at the ‘food insecurity’ data point. How can we let 16% of our fellow citizens starve?
- Our prison population is more than double that of any other country on this list. Almost one out of every 100 citizens is in prison. This ties directly in to the economic inequality point. If you’re poor and can’t pay to put food on the table and find help to do so, you’re likely going to resort to desperate measures and end up in jail. Whether it’s with your tax dollars or if the crime is being committed against you, we all end up paying for it.
- We are tied for dead last in math scores. Our educational system has completely failed us. We’ve seen what works through special programs and in observing other countries. Why don’t we change it so that we can compete economically in the future?
- We’re in the lower half of ‘political democracy’. Quite honestly, I’m surprised that we’re not amongst the worst. Our two party system has failed us completely. Would things be different if corporations, unions, and shady shadow organizations with vested interests weren’t allowed to completely buy our elections? Absolutely. Will it ever change? Not through the legislative branch of our government. The party in power has gotten there because they have benefited from the present state of things. They want to keep the status quo. Why would they vote for change while in power? There may be a handful of politicians out there who are still ‘pure’, or not willing to compromise what they believe vs. fitting the ‘electable mold’ of being a democrat or republican… but they are a dying breed.
Meanwhile, we have a $689 billion (2010) defense budget. That’s a full 20% of our country’s budget. Is that really needed? I suppose it is when a handful of election contributions are at stake. This should make you sick:
I may be naive or foolish, but I think we could do a whole lot worse than starting with the following:
- Limiting all campaign contributions to $100 max from citizens, corporations, organizations, or any other interest group. And perhaps more importantly, completely abolish 527 organizations and PAC’s. They harm more than help our democracy. We won’t make significant progress on anything until politicians have no incentive other than to do what’s right and truly represent the people of this country versus protecting their own jobs and interests.
- Cut our defense budget by 80%. At $690 billion, we are at more than 10 times the third highest budget (UK) and 7 times the second highest (China). At a budget of $137 billion, we’d still be 40% higher than second place China. And still twice that of our education budget!
- Double-down investments in education, infrastructure, and creating jobs and community improvement programs in the areas of highest crime and poverty. These are true investments that pay us back multiple times over.
Forward this to your friends, write or call your congress(wo)man, run for political office, stop giving money to political organizations, stop listening to the media, and start demanding actual change.
How would you start fixing us?