Monday, February 8, 2010

Are We Lost Yet?

With Monday morning's New York Times came an Op-Ed piece by Princeton Economics Professor Paul Krugman, a regular columnist. His view of the capacity of the American Government to manage our nation was dire. He writes,

"We've always known that America's reign as the world's greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic."

"What we're getting instead is less a tragedy than a deadly farce. Instead of fraying under the strain of imperial overstretch, we're paralyzed by procedure. Instead of reenacting the decline and fall of Rome, we're re-enacting the dissolution of 18th century Poland."

After recounting the "disappearance" of all Polish territory by 1795, Krugman accuses the U.S. Senate of a determination to make that failed Polish legislature look good by comparison to the current U.S. Congress.

As one who had high hopes for the two Democratic-led branches of our newly-elected
government, I have to agree today that America is nearly lost, and that our government is largely dysfunctional in this winter of severe discontent.

In 2009 we saw the dragged-out delay until June in seating Senator Franken, who provided the 60th vote to end continual GOP filibustering. Then incredibly, the long overdue healthcare reform was blocked for the entire year. In stalled senate committees, and with industry-scripted campaigns of distortion and lying, a "movement emerged" to capture media attention and interrupt serious law making.

Now in 2010 we have one senator after another holding up presidential appointments to federal positions, and action on practically anything, because the warped Senate customs permit it, and because narrow-gauge politicians hold Senate performance hostage for their petty and partisan gain.

Wall Street had been rescued from collapse by two administrations, only to continue now with its unregulated instruments of deception and its culture of obscene bonus payouts with other people's money. Congressional action? Not with the current paralysis.

In a world threatened by changing climate, terrorized by desperate fighters who violently are resisting age-old conquest and domination, the United States cannot even write sensible laws about its immigrants, its schools, or modern air and rail travel.

With permanent job losses and housing foreclosures killing the dreams of generations,
one would hope that we could come together to address our many economic and fiscal problems. Yet we are collectively afraid to redesign and levy fair taxes for public purposes! At any level of government.

Yes, I must admit that America's best days have already occurred - some decades in the past. Rather than hope now for a rebirth of patriotism, I can only pray for divine intervention.

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