Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 6, 2011, 2:02 p.m. EST by keepfocus
from Miami, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Most of us have felt in our pockets the adverse effects from the calamitous state of our national economy as well as from the globalized world we live in. For a few of us, we have managed to survive or even thrive in it, but for most of us it has obscured our present and future with uncertainties that in our past were not a life-threatening cause of concern. In the end, most of what we are living through we created it ourselves whether by actions or inactions. If history is correct, as the wealth gap among the rich, the medium class, and the poor widens after a certain point, the oven of social discontent turns-on, and in the process of discerning, the affected population already found venues to express themselves peacefully but we do not know where they will end. A sense of urgency is therefore required to address our systemic problems. I have written these lines as a United States citizen, and not appear as favoring any of our existing political parties. I believe that the monumental size of our current problems must transcend any labeling or political affiliation. I don’t have final answers only what I believe are well thought recommendations We MUST examine ourselves fiercely and with conviction to re-invent ourselves as a nation, so we can reset our nation’s development course and thrive again.
FIRST SOME PERSPECTIVE
A GRASP OF OUR DEBT: WHAT’S A TRILLION DOLLARS ?: A trillion is a 1 followed by 12 zeroes (1,000,000,000,000). This is hard to comprehend in terms of money, but seen in terms of time it becomes easier:
A trillion seconds was about 31,700 years ago, a billion minutes was about 1,900 years ago, but a billion dollars was just about yesterday at the U.S. Treasury. Our current National Debt is of about US$14.7 trillion or about US$47,000 per citizen (out of about 313 million people, U.S. Census 2010) or about US$130,000 per taxpayer (www.usdebtclock.org). This is what our past and current elected representatives with/without our approval, with/without our support, with/without our knowledge managed to do with the American people’s money.
HOW DO WE AND OTHER COUNTRIES VOTE ?
According to www.infoplease.com these are the numbers that show how many of us vote as a percentage of our total population in the Presidential elections as well as the Other (Congress/House/State) elections. (Note: Other websites come with different numbers but which will not change the overall impact of my arguments). Another source www.nationmaster.com provides a deeper insight into the United States as related to the rest of the world in its most recent event as follows:
Even though we are #1 in Population of Voting Age (213,954,000), People Registered to Vote (156,421,000), and People that Voted in Presidential elections (105,405,000), we are only:
65 of 82 nations: People that Voted TO Population of Voting Age (49%) for President.
55 of 86 nations: People that Voted TO People Registered to Vote (67%) for President.
94 of 117 nations: People that voted for Congress/House (99,738,000):
94 of 117 nations: People that Voted to Population of Voting Age (46%) for Congress/House
The four bold numbers above, are perhaps the most disturbing of all, as most importantly they indicate that we do not even have a simple voting majority committed to the well-being of our country, but compared to the other countries, we are less than mediocre, which makes us pay a very high price against our nation’s best interests.
LOBBYING: We all know lobbying is big business everywhere. According to the Senate Office of Public Records there are about 13,000 registered lobbyists who in 2011 spent some US$3.51 BILLION dollars, and between 2000-2010 spent US$27.4 BILLION dollars (source: www.opensecrets.org). I happen to believe that given the complexities of the world we live in, a lobbyist should serve a useful purpose in providing useful information to their receiving end so that “informed and balanced” decisions are taken by our elected representatives. The problem I have with the way this system works in the U.S. is that there is no counterpart group with the same money-power to represent the views of the American people. The American people are outmanned, out moneyed, and out powered, so that in many instances the established practice is “what is good for corporate America, it better be good for the American people”. The historical fact that is that “this way” is no longer part of the existing “reality”. The world paradigm changed, and several of our elected representatives and our current candidates barely grasp it, not to mention realize all the painful measures that need to be taken to correct our nation’s path.