"The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely."
"This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.
A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.
As The Times’s David Kocieniewski reported, “Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”
G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.
Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.
New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed."
And reading the comments on the article, the most popular ones all share the same sentiments, if anything expressed with more despair and resignation. The highest rated comment, recommended by almost 2,000 readers, says,
"I am afraid that America's decline is permanent, hopeless, and goes beyond the current political climate which is, after all, only a reflection of the people."
I don't know, maybe people are always inclined to pessimism, or this is just a normal mood as a recession comes to an end, but it doesn't seem normal, or promising to me.
It would be nice if I could write this as a smug Canadian, happy that we weren't headed in the same direction, but I think anyone paying attention knows that with a right wing party likely to stay in power or even gain more power running on a platform of military spending, prison building, and corporate tax cuts, we seem eager to follow the Americans down the exact same road.