Labor Week
Priorities
By Henry Meyerding
May 5, 2013 - 12:02:02 AM

UNITED STATESSome of the top national stories today, that get most of the attention and headlines include:

  • Marriage Equality (gay marriage)

  • Gun Control

  • Abortion Laws

  • Government Economics

These are probably reasonably important to some folks, but I can't help thinking that a lot of the reason for our preoccupation with these topics is stage managed by powerful interests who really do not want us to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

How many thousand children die every day from starvation and treatable diseases?

What are we doing to the global ecology of our one and only planet?

What about jobs and the fact that millions of Americans still have no access to healthcare?

How many local wars are we conducting or about to conduct in various regions?

Forgive me if I don't think marriage equality should be very high on the list of a country where the physical support infrastructure is falling apart all around us: roads, schools, medical care, and housing -- all crumbling, across vast areas of this prosperous and resource rich country. Gun control and abortion seem trivial in a country where we cannot feed all our children adequately and millions of parents are addicted to dangerous and harmful drugs and their children are at risk.

We have been living under essentially the same economic system in this country for more than 150 years. We have seen in detail that this system works very poorly, except for an extremely tiny segment of the population, for which it works spectacularly well. We have seen that when we leave the reins of government in the hands of powerful special interests, we get a government that serves those interests and not the needs of the people. Our republic was founded on the liberal principle that representative government serves the needs of the people, thus justifying its existence. It is clear that our government usually does not serve our interests or promote our welfare. Our government serves the richest and most powerful segment of society, just like the corrupt monarchies of Europe that the founding fathers revolted against.

And speaking of our government, how about the ways in which the government is setting priorities in the sequester?  Thousands of school children lose meals and 3Rs educational programs, like Headstart. Millions of senior citizens are finding it harder and harder to survive as their retirement income and medicare benefits are cut again and again - even though those cuts do not affect the budget deficit. It is absolutely profane to make the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society - children and the elderly - bear the brunt of an austerity program that won't even succeed in achieving the ends for which it is being imposed. In every single case where austerity has been tried, it succeeds in shrinking the economy of the nation concerned so that real tax revenues shrink more than the "savings" that austerity imposes.  It creates a spiralling situation of want, dysfunction, and disaster.

We need to assess our real priorities and imperatives. Do we want a strong nation with a growing economy and healthy population?  Then we'd better spend money on infrastructure and programs that help people to be productive members of society. Roads, schools, parks, economic stimulus programs, alternative energy, ecological recovery, and regulation to curb predatory capitalism and restore an even playing field for everyone, not just too big to fail banks, and hedge fund managers. These are some of the things that would benefit the greater part of the American people, and not just the special interests at the top of the economic ladder. But, so long as the government remains in the pockets of lobbyers, with the cash to buy what they want, our problems will multiply just as fast as their profits rise.



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