Taking Stock on the 4th.
This seems like the appropriate day to consider where we’re at—as a nation, I mean—especially during a presidential election year.
So far, the campaign has been a monumental disappointment. We ought to be hearing intelligent discussion of real issues; instead, one candidate gives us political platitudes; the other bombast and bullshit, adhering to to the old adage, “If you can’t be right, be wrong at the top of your voice”.
That leaves our uninformed and/or misinformed electorate arguing about issues that are petty and stupid and of no serious consequence, while the real problems continue to pile up and are still mostly unaddressed. Consider:
- More than 60,000 bridges in this country are potentially unsafe.
- The federal gasoline tax, which is supposed to pay for the upkeep of our highways, doesn’t come close to doing that and hasn’t been increased because gutless politicians don’t want to be accused of raising taxes.
- While raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will supposedly bring the economy crashing down upon our heads, executive compensation has skyrocketed. (At the top of the corporate salary heap is David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications. He is now being paid $156 million a year which computes to $75,000 an hour.)
- Literally millions of our fellow citizens live in bare minimum housing conditions, many in obvious poverty. (If you don’t believe me, take a cross country train ride and look for the squalor as well as the scenery.)
- More than sixty percent of all the personal bankruptcies in this country are by people who are unable to pay huge medical bills rung up because of accident or illness. (What the hell kind of country allows that to happen to its citizens? France doesn’t. Germany doesn’t. Norway, Sweden and Denmark don’t. England doesn’t. Canada doesn’t.)
- Millions of American families—even those with one or both adults working full time—still can’t get by without food stamps.
- Our defense budget is bigger than those of the next 27 countries combined (and most of them are our friends).
Well, It looks like we have a ways to go.
Happy 4th of July!
(Sorry about the weird spacing. Tried to fix it, but couldn’t get it right.)