Not long ago, we set the standard for industrial productivity, for the quality of our infrastructure, for the growth and prosperity of our middle class. What happened?
We used to be the world leader in the percentage of young people with college degrees. We are now 12th among 36 developed nations.
We have become, as Bob Herbert noted in his op-ed column in The New York Times, “a nation of nitwits, obsessed with the comings and goings of Lindsay Lohan and increasingly oblivious to crucially important societal issues that are all but screaming for attention. What should we be doing about the legions of jobless Americans, the deteriorating public schools, the debilitating wars, the scandalous economic inequality, the corporate hold on governmental affairs, the commercialization of the arts, the deficits?”
Where is the public outcry? What are the candidates fighting about? What are you voting for?
The Republican Party has downplayed the role of government in education, the single most important tool in building the middle class. The Republican candidates plan to privatize Social Security, the only income for millions of seniors who have paid into the program since they were old enough to work. Congressional Republicans promise to kill current healthcare reform legislation, passed to help heal the growing cancer on our national debt. Republicans want to send jobs overseas, to make more jobs for us here at home, they say. And they want to deregulate the banks and Wall Street. Hello?
The Republican theory of "trickle down economics" suggests that money from the the rich will ultimately reach the poor, create jobs, build industry and infrastructure, help private colleges and small businesses, and cure all of our economic woes. In fact, it might soak the middle class!
What’s trickling down is not economic help from the rich; it’s the direction we’re heading as a nation. We need a social, governmental, and intellectual lift upwards.