We have all heard this story, maybe in a little different version but we should not find it too hard to understand the parable. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the coast of Mississippi in August of 2006, Andrew Irene was one of the hundreds of residents who stayed in his home when all of his neighbors had evacuated. Though the wind portion of the storm did not cause much damage the flooding after the dykes broke in several locations filled the local neighborhoods with hundreds of millions of gallons of water.
Andrew was a stubborn man. He had already denied the chance of evacuating when the local community law enforcement came to his street before Katrina came on shore. When news of the dykes weakening; Andrews neighbor offered him a ride to a relative when he was leaving as water started to rise from the storm drainage system and it had reached their front yards; but again Andrew said no he would wade out the flooding. Later that evening as the water had come up half way up the walls in Andrews home, Andrew realized he would drown if he stayed in the house so he got up on his roof. When the Coast Guard came by on their motor boats Andrew denied a ride in the boat; you see Andrew was white and all the other people in the boat were not his color and this made him feel uncomfortable. Well by midnight the house was flooded to the top of the roof and Andrew who was afraid to fly denied his rescuers; a local TV Station pilot and reporter wanted him to get in the helicopter. By 2 AM Andrew had drowned and as he was checking in to the Pearly Gates of Heaven, he had only one question for God, “Why did you let me drown God?” Well we know the answer to this parable; God reminded Andrew of the neighbor, boat and helicopter that had stopped by to offer a way out of the floods.
The above parable is how I see our country while it is mired in this economic tsunami, the greatest depression since the 1930’s Great Depression; a recession of such colossal consequences to our middle class values, our citizens, the elderly, the poor, and our children. Add to the mix the secessionist attitudes of a small percentage of government representation that only care about continuing the status quo for the wealthiest 10 percent of our country and the enormous tax breaks of our multinational corporations who supported their election.
It is not the DEBT that is sinking our middle and working class; it’s that there are NO JOBS and that the buying power of the working and middle class has been blockaded by the unpatriotic secessionists who call themselves fiscal conservatives and even Tea Party members. When the private sector does not have or in the case of private corporations will not spend the money needed to keep those jobs that are still in our country, when the respect for the most common denominator of human decency is no longer relevant we get what we deserve, our seemingly political and economic dysfunctional leadership.
The major work, the secondary and tertiary jobs that come with rebuilding our infrastructure which is in such need of rebuilding has been an option all along. At issue was and is we have a President who offered Hope and Change to the Middle and Working Class but whose actions have been so much less. The typical conservative Republican may think that our President is liberal in social and economic issues but his actions have shown us that this is far from the truth.
While I do not disagree something needed to be done to make sure every American would be able to have affordable health insurance, that pre-existing conditions should not be a factor in being able to receive health insurance, the final product still provides the health industry with billions and billions of dollars in profits while only adding 30-35 million more American’s out of the 50 million without insurance to have insurance. The other political parties members and a portion of the Blue Democrats made what should have been a two to three month bill to devise, write, and past take almost 15 months. This left no time to work with additional legislation to revise, tweak and provide addendums to make more jobs possible while we were averting a worst economic depression.
While our present President did not sign TARP to bail out the Wall Street Bankers, I have not seen the leadership and communication from him to Wall Street to stimulate investment in our countries infrastructure needs.
Do not get me wrong, the $750 billion dollar stimulus signed by our President added 2.2 million jobs that would not have been added, but remember almost 40% of the stimulus was tax cuts and breaks, just think what would have been added in jobs if we spent more money to create jobs. The tax breaks did not stimulate nor did the private sector or “Job Creators” add jobs. Most of the Recovery Act jobs went to building community, state and government projects and transportation infrastructure. It also allowed states and communities to take another 18 months before laying off first responders, teachers, and other government workers from being added to the unemployment rolls and in a lot of cases take away all employee bargaining powers.
The working and middle classes that are left in America are mad. I think though they don’t always direct their anger to the real reason why government cannot get our economic ship righted and sailing out into open waters of prosperity. You see many of those less than 50 years of age have misunderstood the conservative motto that states “government is the problem”. While I would be the first to admit that there comes waste in government projects and policies I also will stand behind that it is not a Democratic or just Republican issue; it is a inherent issue in the system that must be monitored and policed with revisions and if needed penalties instituted if these projects are used for unlawful gain.
Government is and always has meant to be for the benefit of the citizens it serves. The private sector does not have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of its neighbor or even its community, its fiduciary relationship is with its stock holders and customers. Government has the fiduciary responsibility to make the economic playing filed as equal as possible for ALL citizens not just a portion of the population.
But, with that said, what is it that we can do, what is the Andrew Irene moment that I am comparing in this essay? Simply put, the stimulation, the investment in our countries economic system when the Banks (Wall Street) and the Private Sector (Businesses, Corporations and Wealthy) are not spending money into the economy the only other institution that is capable of making our economy grow is the government.
We have very simply the history of the New Deal that kicked started our economy in the 1930’s which actually was the one major policy that enabled our manufacturing sector become organized and prepared to handle the production needs for the wars in Europe and Asia in the 1940’s. It was government that stimulated the economy after WW II that took our 124-126% Debt to GDP, yes, after WWII our debt was greater than our Gross Domestic Product. We did not as a government cut spending. Actually we increased our stimulus and investment in the economy.
I realize that the conservative right will never give the due to these Keynesians Macroeconomic Policies that not only the Democratic Presidents used from the 1930’s through 1960’s but also our Republican President and the Chief Project Manager of the victory in Europe, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
We must stimulate and invest in manufacturing again in America. Steve Jobs could be a true visionary; his company alone is sitting on $700 billions of dollars that could be insured by the government to restart new information age type jobs for our American working and educated class coming into the job market.
The bridges and roads that were built during President Eisenhower’s eight years in office are now in the need of rebuilding and repairs. These types of jobs bring work for our badly damaged construction workforce sector. The suppliers of building materials and equipment, the manufacturers of clothing, the food industry, supermarkets, restaurants, etc… would all be able to grow with just this investment alone.
High Speed rail service would be another economic generator of jobs. Think, citizens living in Miami could have a job in Tampa, or Orlando, or Jacksonville and take a high speed rail and be there in the time it takes to drive 40 miles in morning and afternoon drive times. The construction jobs at first will evolve into the service jobs to manage and serve the travelers.
Our Air and Sea Ports are in much needed repair and renovation. These are not only the Gates to our Great Country but they are where people work to export and import goods to and from the other world economies.
The above infrastructure has been neglected now for close to 35 years. The political party of business has been very instrumental in starving our countries ability to pay for the basics of a modern nation in the 21st century. These are not hand outs, the fact is you have to maintain, renovate, repair and innovate constantly to keep your position as the greatest nation in the world. The next thing to suffer will be our military because we have bled our nation’s ability to collect revenues to make us safe, secure and strong.
Our energy sector needs lots of money invested or at least the insurance to private business to invest in our solar, wind, geothermal natural energy sources. Why the big four or five petroleum corporations are not evolving more quickly into these clean types of energy sources is a concern. They would rather it seems to deplete the world of all fossil fuels before jump starting our future power sources. Government will need to create these incentives; this is not only an environmental issue now it is a concern for our future national security and our countries ability to be economically competitive on a global scale. Think about it; how many aircraft carriers will we need protecting the Middle East Petroleum trade routes if we utilized new forms of energy to create electricity?
We need to learn the lesson of starting wars against criminals who have no real nationalistic ties and doubling, tripling our military budget without asking our citizens to make a sacrifice to pay for those wars. Remember, when you are adding up the Presidents debt since he took office; close to two trillion of those dollars are for the previous administration and congresses that never included them in our nation’s budget.
As I said earlier it is not the DEBT; it is the lack of JOBS. Create an environment to invest, insure and stimulate our infrastructure, our scientific study and implementation in cleaner energy and stop being all about me, me, me and our nation will rebuild and work its way out of this depression. For those of us that ask GOD why are we in this situation and why did he/she not help us out; I believe God’s answer to us is listed above. Like the Nike Ad’s states, “JUST DO IT”.
- letter #2 independent voters engage in primaries to save our middle class economic prosperity
- independent voters must participate in the primary process
- infrastructure inequality lends itself to economic disparity
- my mission, values and commitment to the future of America in the 21st century and the 2012 election cycle