Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nation-Building Should Begin At Home

Nation-Building Should Begin At Home
(RichardcCook.com) -- By Richard C. Cook

...The Republicans, with the victory of their candidate Scott Brown in the race for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, are jubilant, even though they have absolutely nothing to offer as an alternative. How soon we forget that it was Republican policies, starting with Reaganomics and ending with the George W. Bush catastrophe, that has been the prelude to where we are today.

The prognosis for the U.S. economy is dim. From a larger perspective, we are at the end of the era of Keynesian economics, when the government thought all it had to do was run up more debt to stimulate the economy. When you add to that a generation of outsourcing of manufacturing jobs abroad, completely irresponsible and out-of-control behavior by the financial industry, and the cancerous growth of the military-intelligence-industrial complex and their pet wars, you have all the signs of an empire in precipitous decline.

For those who are habitually against everything the government does, I’d like to say that there are actually a few caring and intelligent people in authority these days who don’t want to see the total collapse of the U.S. as a nation, an economy, and a society. The U.S. remains the world’s largest consumer economy and the dollar the predominant currency. But the rest of the world has caught up. The Anglo-American Empire is seeing the sunset, and the choice now to be made is whether it will end peacefully or in a bang.

We can all hope for a peaceable conclusion, though it will take patience and hard work for the U.S. even to become a functioning economy on the same level as the rest of the world’s developed nations. So we can hope that the “soft landing” will work. But we still have a gigantic debt load to deal with, amounting to $60 trillion from all sources–business, government, and consumer.

We also have a gutted manufacturing sector, the huge overhead of a bloated financial industry (and their obscene bonuses), bankrupt governments at all levels, and way too many people with no real work to do like lawyers, health insurance executives, national security analysts, financial and educational bureaucrats, etc.

The short and simple answer is that we have to rebuild our economy, and our lives, from the bottom-up. We have to relearn how to do manual work like what we have mainly been asking immigrants to do for the last couple of decades. We should rebuild our local farming sector and get rid of bloated monstrosities like Monsanto. We should launch a major assault on the automobile culture and begin to revitalize cities and towns so that people can bike or walk to work or take public transportation.

It will not be easy to do these things. It may not even be possible. We have forgotten how to work because we have wanted our money to “work for us.” But that money, which only ever existed on paper, is gone. Our population is aging and not too healthy, making care of the sick and dying the only growth industry. And the young people who come out of our schools have few practical skills with which to earn a living. This must change too.

And what of investment capital? Loans are harder than ever to get. The small business sector, which could be an economic engine, is in dismal shape with lack of credit, high costs, and weakened markets for their products. Half of all new small businesses fail within one to two years of start-up.

Some say that a nation armed to the teeth and under this much pressure is likely to start a really big war out of frustration and not knowing what else to do. In other words, roll the dice. But World War II ended a long time ago. Since then, except for Vietnam, we have had our way bullying small nations. But that era has ended too. We won’t be able to do to China, Russia, and India what we did to Iraq and are trying to do to Afghanistan.

World War III would be a really bad choice. What we should do instead is take a positive attitude and sit down together and figure out ways to work our way out of this mess. But it will take a heap of humility, leadership, and willingness to face the pain of starting over again. But it could also be an adventure. After all, nation-building should begin at home...MORE...LINK
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Chris Moore comments:

Richard Cook's piece got me thinking about some back-of-the-envelope solutions to Americans many problems. My two cents:

We need to control our borders so the insane money worshippers and Left-Right globalization advocates can't continue to drive down the price of labor with mass immigration; we need to dismantle the vast government bureaucracies and government unions sponging up so much of the economy and discouraging entrepreneurs, and dumbing down the population with the failing public school system; we need school vouchers redeemable at private schools, and to encourage the opening of more and more private schools; we need to encourage Christianity instead of allowing Hollywood, commercialism, and cultural Marxism to bludgeon it; we need to go into trust busting mode and dismantle many of the huge, soulless, monopolistic corporations and banks run by unpatriotic internationalists and corporatists in order to spur competition and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurialism; we need to dismantle the satanic military-industrial, war-profiteering complex which has encouraged the government's printing of monopoly money in the false and evil belief that it could coerce the world into playing by the U.S. economic rules and maintain the petro-dollar and the dollar as the world's reserve currency at the point of a gun indefinitely; the existence of the military-industrial, war-profiteering-complex has also encouraged arbitrary and unnecessary wars that have helped destroy our economy, our reputation, and our morality, and has encouraged the delusions of grandeur of our Washington politicians, many of whom are already megalomaniacs and sociopaths; we need to elect politicians who will enforce the Constitution, and cull the laws of the land down to the essentials, which they then enforce competently and tenaciously; we need to dismantle the K Street lobbying complex in general, and the Israel lobby in particular, which encourages many of the warmongering abuses mentioned above; we need to encourage Zionists to immigrate to Israel, which is where their primary loyalties lie anyway; we need to get Israel off of American welfare, and other countries around the world as well, with any ensuing vacuum being temporarily filled by American NGO's; we need to shape up the U.N., and turn it into a real peace-keeping force, with the world deciding collectively to which hot spots and emergencies it should be deployed, but only under strict and limited circumstances (the never-ending conflict and perpetual sore spot between Israel and environs, for example, comes to mind).

Again, all just my two cents.

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