Most people feel strong nationalistic pride for their homeland for various reasons, and their patriotism is not necessarily predicated on their country’s wealth and power, but on their perception their nation is exceptional. There are very poor countries whose citizens love their native land, and believe that under the right conditions their country would be exceptional amongst nations. Americans are no different and most believe the United States is extraordinarily special and better than any other nation on the planet, but this once great nation is degenerating into mediocrity that belies its status as the richest nation in the history of the world. America’s decline is the result of a thirty year campaign by conservatives to transfer the nation’s wealth to a privileged few, and as more wealth flows to the elite class, the people and the nation fall farther into poverty and disrepair; by design.
If one looks back at America’s ascendance as an exceptional nation, after FDR’s New Deal, it was a Republican president’s bold steps that elevated the entire population and built an infrastructure that was the envy of the civilized world; that was sixty years ago. Thirty years ago, a Republican president, Ronald Reagan, set in motion a movement that hastened America’s deterioration that another Republican president, George W. Bush, accelerated twelve years ago. Last month, another world organization confirmed that Republican efforts to relegate America to second-rate status among the world’s nations has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as the United States officially ranks 25th, behind nations such as Oman and Barbados, with an infrastructure that compares unfavorably with that of most advanced countries and even some developing nations.
Americans can be thankful that if not for President Obama’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus), the country would surely rank lower than 25th, but Republicans will make sure the country continues to decline until most developing nations look down on America with derision. Republicans can be proud of their accomplishments that saw America rank second last year in the highest child poverty among all nations, and with their current sequester and never-ending cuts to anti-poverty programs, America should reach number one soon. Republicans say America is too broke to invest in feeding children or rebuilding its decrepit and crumbling infrastructure, but the problem is not a lack of wealth, it is where Republicans allocated it.
On Monday, it was revealed that the President’s economic recovery lifted corporate profits to new highs as companies refuse to raise wages, and Americans increased productivity allowing them to increase sales without adding workers. Add in one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, tax avoidance schemes robbing the nation of much-needed revenue, and Republican intransigence to hold the rich accountable for their fair share of investment in America, and it is little wonder America is in decline. American workers’ wages fell over the past decade, and it impacts revenue that could contribute to rebuilding infrastructure and feeding the hungry, but Republicans oppose investing in infrastructure and abhor revenue to give more to the rich and bolster corporate profits. According to a co-head of economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, “corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains, and until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.” Republicans guaranteed there will not be recovery in the labor market, or the economy, with their victory enacting sequester cuts that assures corporations will continue capturing “an unusually high share of income gains.”
Republicans oppose any means of full recovery in the labor market, and instead actively sought to kill jobs in their rampage to starve the government of revenue. They have not, however, starved corporations and the wealthy of a lion’s share of the wealth and they will continue protecting the rich when funding for the government runs out at the end of the month. Republicans categorically stated any attempt to raise taxes, or close loopholes affecting the wealthiest Americans, will fall on deaf ears and there is little doubt they will hold funding in March, and the debt limit in May, hostage for more austerity and no revenue with confidence the President will not shoot the hostage.
It is a monumental tragedy that in the richest nation on Earth, any American is hungry, without a job, or lives with infrastructure that ranks below developing countries. There is immeasurable wealth in America, but Republican policies over the past twelve years directed it all to the extremely wealthy and their corporations to hoard and avoid paying their share of taxes. Republicans had no misgivings spending trillions on two needless wars, a prescription plan benefitting pharmaceutical companies, tax cuts for the rich, and oil subsidies while refusing to invest in America and they have no incentive to change. The media is remiss to inform Americans their beloved and exceptional country ranks among developing countries in infrastructure like they failed to note only one country had a higher child poverty rate than the richest nation on Earth, and their omission contributes to Republican’s success.
America has been in decline for a decade, and there is no hope of improvement as ten years of sequester domestic cuts, a looming government funding fight, and debt limit hostage portend more austerity, more poverty, higher unemployment, and infrastructure that rivals lowly Barbados. It is beyond the pale that any American is proud of this nation, or the deleterious effects twelve years of Republican economic malfeasance has wrought, and yet Republicans have solid support among racists, the religious, and conservatives cheering America’s decline. For a country that has always risen to meet any challenge, America is becoming a second-rate nation with hardly a whimper and between starving children, crumbling infrastructure, and a nation of peasants, it is hardly exceptional.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.