We Are The Problem

Okay.  Here it is: David Brooks of the New York times has said what I have tried to say, in my own muddled manner.  Read this article.  Our shortfalls, lack of foresight and dedication to the bottom line over the human condition is a plague not only of a dearth of government regulation, but also a vacuum in human thought.  How dare we use new technology without the reason and logic to back it up?

Furthermore, Bob Herbert of the New York Times wrote a piece on the same sort of  “convenient trust” we have in our corporate sector.  This symbiosis of narcissistic public servants with profiteering business entities is our potential Waterloo.  Certainly this partnership, not for the betterment of our nation’s justice, environment or people, is just as destructive as the most violent war we have ever fought. It might not be a direct, immediate hit as was, say, the bomb at Hiroshima, but its effects are just as insidious.

The combination of lack of adequate thought towards policies on the public side coupled with an eye to maximize bottom-line dollars on the private side has muddied the waters of our Constitutional goals.  Acknowledging this unholy union is the first step in changing our system.  What comes after that remains to be seen.  Do we dismantle our government and business models and if we do, what do we replace them with?  Are we really able to legislate that elected officials keep the welfare of their constituents in the forefront of their minds?  Will that separation process of government and business mimic the break-up of Ma Bell, which eventually evolved into an even larger corporate structure than was the initial company?  Do we continue to say to our financial institutions , act morally, stop deceiving your customers, while at the same time do nothing to break up their hold on our nation?  Moreover, when these banks get themselves in dire trouble, do we bail them out in order to bolster the nation at large?  Do we activate laws that will not tolerate the abuse of our citizens having to buy life-saving prescription drugs?  Do we take a watered-down health care bill and actually tweak it to provide decent medical care?  Or do we continue to kowtow to political interests playing to the benefits of corporate rewards?

President Obama is on to this.  Yes, we got a new health care bill.  Yes, we will have financial reform legislation.  Yes, I believe that DADT will be repealed.  Yes, immigration reform is also on the horizon.  The problem is that no matter how badly we need change, our governmental process cannot deliver the valid, effective votes for what we need.  Thus, we compromise.  We have a new health care bill that will not provide the necessary competition to bring rates and costs down.  The financial reform omitted such heinous corporate practices and products as derivatives, and such corrupt instruments are still allowed to be bought and sold.  In the arena of immigration, we allow thousands of illegals to enter our country to occupy jobs that our own citizens wouldn’t take if their lives depended on it and yet we bitch and moan at having to provide education and health care for their (often legal) children.  We speak of green technology grounded in government regulations, but when a disaster occurs, we find that the regulations have been so bastardized that they might as well have been thrown out the window.

President Obama is on to this dichotomy, this destructive partnership between government and industry.  The best he can do is get much watered-down legislation to alleviate what ails us.  Baby steps that, quite frankly, will probably not morph into anything different from what we have already.  It is not his fault.  We need a sea change of reform to alter our federal and basic economic structure.  This overhaul will be fought against, tooth and nail, by our selfish elected officials and our astute business people, who are clearly in bed with each other.

These questions have been with us for way too long.  I remember a major part of the protests in the 1960’s concerned the corrupt corporations.  The war protests took precedence over our business complaints, which seemed to have lost steam over the following decades.  However, the greedy affair between government and business has never been dealt with.  So read these two articles that I have linked.  You could do a lot worse this weekend.

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