DrMyers’s Blog

May 19, 2009

Guest Blogger Steve Sherman – “The Personality of America”

bald_eagle_head_and_american_flagPolitics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the right and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.
President Dwight David Eisenhower

During his address to congress, our president brought up an important point that has been largely lost in the debates that have followed. Barack Obama touched on the personality of America that has defined so much of our history and threatens our future.

Our president pointed out that we talk about lots of important issues but do little in our rush to the future. As President Obama pointed out we have talked about health care issues for almost 40 years but have done little. We have talked about reducing dependence on foreign oil for over 25 years. We have talked about improving our educational system for over 50 years.

The problems we are facing today are not new. They are the same problems we talked about yesterday and last year and the year before. The current economic situation is a great example.

There are no surprises with our current economic problems. Every 3 or 4 years since the inception of trickle down, or Reganonmics, we have had a financial crisis. Every 3 or 4 years since the beginning of deregulation and mega mergers there has been a financial situation that cost tax payers billions of dollars. Remember Black Monday. Or how about the Savings & Loan melt down with Silverado and the Keating Five. And Enron, and Worldcom, and the dotcom bust. Our recent history is strewn with economic disasters. Brought about by the economic philosophy that has dominated for the last 25 years.

Our president has a new vision for America. A vision that sees caring for our infrastructure instead of watching 70 year old technology crumble in the face of Hurricane Katrina. Earthen levees and aging pumps left as the Maginot line of defense for a major American city. Following Katrina many pictures appeared showing modern systems in European and even African countries of updated systems that efficiently controlled water and produced beneficial results like electric production and irrigation. President Obama is suggesting we care for and upgrade our infrastructure so there are no more bridge collapses ( a recent article suggested that up to 60% of bridges in the United States are deficient from lack of maintenance). Invest in America first.

For all of our talk about ending dependence on foreign oil, we have stood by and witnessed the rape of the planet we call home. We have watched her resources plundered at increasingly alarming rates. We stand idly by as the planet is destroyed in the name of progress. Clear mountain streams are turning into fetid flows of polluted waters that no longer cool and refresh. Our lust for the earth’s treasures that are then burned creating a second destructive force of released carbon gases that alter the atmosphere, is unquenchable. One spill of the plundered resources can destroy an entire ecological system that took millions of years to develop and balance. The current administration wants to stop talking about dependence on foreign oil by advancing renewable energy sources. Solar systems, wind power, wave power, hydrogen cells. Jobs for Americans using technology developed by Americans. Germany, France and Japan are leading the world in renewable energy usage, all with technology developed in the United States.

The second major issue our president is addressing is health care. We lead the world with medical technology, but we lag the world in the area of efficient health care administration. Untold hours of unproductive time are spent completing insurance forms because every company has a unique form. Access to medical records is time consuming because they are not computerized and transmittable. The cost of maintaining antiquated billing and record keeping systems adds millions to our health care costs. We have the best health care system in the world. We ought to listen to our president and find ways to deliver it as efficiently as possible.

Education was the single greatest factor in building a middle class America that was the envy of the world. Our education system is based on the early 1900’s idea of identifying and nurturing future managers and supervisors. The system allowed all others to struggle along until they either gave up in frustration or completed required courses at a minimal level. The administration envisions an updating of educational objectives and approaches to meet the needs of today. Modernizing education is the first step to a rebirth of the middle class. Ubder the present structure there is a declining middle class that comes closer and loser to the national poverty level.

Eliminating the economic uncertainty of tomorrow by creating new jobs to lower our dependence on fossil fuels, improving our quality of life by renewing our infrastructure with an attention to environmental issues; updating and modernizing the administration of healthcare to match the quality of available care; and insuring our future by improving education. Huge but obtainable goals that can lead us out of the morass that we face today and into a future where the American dream and the reality of America come closer together. It is not about the dollars or how much we pay in taxes. Countries that have tax rates over 50% currently have some of the highest living standards in the world. Look at Sweden and Iceland and Denmark. Like everything else it is about what you get for your investment. We can get the best by investing wisely in the programs President Obama has advocated.

The missing piece is us, the American public. Our hands off approach to government must come to an end. Our chosen form of government requires citizen intervention. Some of the most famous words of President Dwight Eisenhower and President John Kennedy encourage us to be involved. It is acceptance of lesser standards that allow the abuses of government functions. As citizens we have a higher calling than to just show up to vote, we have a patriotic duty to be aware, and be involved. We have a responsibility to future generations to pass on the best that we can do.

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2 Comments »

  1. Good points, Steve. We can no longer afford to sit on our collective butts and do nothing, hoping things will get better. You have to make the change happen.

    Comment by Michelle — May 19, 2009 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  2. Well stated, sir. These are the three new pillars on which our president wishes to begin a new economy, and for good reason. As you point out, the US is being surpassed in a global economy by Asia and Europe, and can’t even build levies to protect coastal areas. You just know the right-wingers are going to come at you on this saying that higher taxes never helped anyone. But you rightly point out that since the era of “trickle-down” economics, there have been many problems with a free-market approach that have never been addressed and have simply added to the inequality this country has experienced since day one. Unless we as citizens are ready to allow our government to step in for the good of the country, we will have lost everything with the stock market collapse last year. In fact, I’m all for paying taxes if it means the US gains in these three extremely important areas. Granted, Obama will probably have to raise them for his ambitious agenda, but it is time that fairness and balance were also included in the tax code, rather than a tilt toward the rich of society. You are absolutely right that if the Unied States does not invest in its infrastructure and its people, we will be left behind. The rest of the world will probably be ok with that. We must not be complacent as well. Thanks for a great post.

    Comment by thistleseed83 — May 19, 2009 @ 11:01 am | Reply


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