The Downward Slide …

I ask you to watch the following short (just over 3 minutes) video clip by Robert Reich, explaining six ways in which the United States is becoming less like an industrialized nation and more like a third world, or developing nation.  Take a look, and then we’ll talk a bit about it.

To that, I would add a couple:

  • Gun violence – The U.S. leads the developed world in firearm-related murders, and the difference isn’t a slight gap – more like a chasm. According to United Nations data, the U.S. has 20 times more murders than the developed world average. Our murder rate also dwarfs many developing nations, like Iraq, which has a murder rate less than half ours. More than half of the deadliest mass shootings documented in the past 50 years around the world occurred in the United States, and 73 percent of the killers in the U.S. obtained their weapons legally.

  • Healthcare – In many areas of the U.S., especially in the deep South, life expectancy is lower than in Algeria, Nicaragua or Bangladesh. The U.S. is the only developed country that does not guarantee health care to its citizens; even after the Affordable Care Act, millions of poor remained uninsured because governors, mainly Republicans, refused to expand Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income Americans. And now, of course, Trump has chipped away at ACA such that it covers far fewer people than it did three years ago.

  • Education – The U.S. education system is plagued with structural racial biases, like the fact that schools are funded at the local, rather than national level. That means that schools attended by poor black people get far less funding than the schools attended by wealthier students. The Department of Education has confirmed that schools with high concentrations of poor students have lower levels of funding. It’s no wonder the U.S. has one of the highest achievement gaps between upper income and low-income students, as measured by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Schools today are actually more racially segregated than they were in the 1970s. Our higher education system is unique among developed nations in that is funded almost entirely privately, by debt.

Truth is, I could probably think of more, but Mr. Reich’s clip pretty much cover the worst of the problems in this country.  Most of the situations described by Mr. Reich and listed above did not happen overnight but have been building up for years or even decades.  The gun culture has been with us since the start, but has become worse with the enhanced influence of the NRA and legal access by civilians to military-style assault weapons.

Reich’s first point, that political power is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, is a direct result of the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’ ruling in 2010, when the Court ruled that to limit donations to political campaigns was an infringement on the 1st Amendment right to free speech.  Thus, large corporations with money to burn can now effectively buy our politicians.

His third point, that those in power stoke racial, ethnic and religious tensions, is the one that I lay directly at the door of Donald Trump, for he has been doing just this since the day he announced his candidacy back in 2015.  He has stoked fear of ‘other’, has played into the hands of the religious right, has adopted policies that are discriminatory by nature.  Divide and conquer.

All in all, while the U.S. economy appears to be stable, while Trump has touted the economy as his accomplishment (it isn’t, for the current economic upswing started with the Obama administration after the 2007-2008 financial crisis), and while unemployment is very low, the average working class family is no better off today than they were ten years, or even twenty years ago.  The wealthy, on the other hand, are reaping the fruits of our labours in lower taxes and increased wealth.

Meanwhile … since the wealthy and giant corporations are paying almost no taxes, benefits to the rest of us are being cut, and still the national debt continues to grow.  Folks, this is not sustainable.  This nation cannot simply keep on giving money to the rich, cutting benefits to the poor, and owing more and more money to both its citizens and other nations.  The U.S. was once respected by other nations and appreciated by its citizens.  Overall, neither of those things are true today. banana republic-4The question becomes, then, how do We the People make the necessary changes to put this country back on the right path?  There is no simple panacea, but we start by voting out those politicians who are indebted to special interests and the wealthy.  We stop supporting politicians who are in the pockets of the NRA, fossil fuel industries, and others.  We use our vote to express our displeasure, to make changes.  If we don’t, then I promise you we will continue on this downhill slide toward a banana republic, as Mr. Reich said.

Think about it.

26 thoughts on “The Downward Slide …

  1. An excellent post! I love how Robert Reich concisely and visibly lists the facts in his presentations. He is extremely easily understood, If only the people that really need “woking” could/would watch them. Sadly, there is big money in this country’s politics, with little money falling to the average person and even less in the poor American’s pockets. This travesty will continue unless We the People unite and vote for those politicians who will honestly represent us and not themselves. We can begin this process by Democrats gaining the presidency, the Senate and the House…an uphill battle for sure, that must be fought and won! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you … Robert Reich is highly intelligent, politically savvy, and has that unique ability to make those points understood to all in just over three minutes! Plus … all those drawings he does on the white board! But, to the point, you are right … if people don’t wake up and realize that these rich a-hole politicians are not doing a thing for them, then it will continue just as it is today. I’m so fed up … grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Sigh.

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  2. This president and the republicans are to blame, of course, but the biggest factor in our downfall to me, is Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the like. They have lied and damaged the gullible 40% beyond any use of reason and logic. They are lost to the rest of us.

    We are going to have to go all the way to the bottom, before there is any chance of recovery. And many of us will not see that turnaround. It will be up to the future generations and I’m not sure they have that mindset in large enough numbers. Maybe in time.

    It’s indeed dismal

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope you’re wrong, but … I’m not so sure you are. But, if we allow ourselves to believe that, they we quit fighting, for why bother? And we cannot quit fighting. Win or lose, we must at least try. I suspect that in time there will be a great equalizer, whether a nuclear event, en emp, a mega-disease, or something else. Just a sense I have.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with your feelings about the great equalizer, for I can see no other way.
        Voting is the only thing I can do now and signing a petition or writing letters to Congressmen, but I don’t think the letters do much good anymore..

        Saw this mentioned on another blog and it’s quite good.

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  3. Good post Jill. American citizens are being hypnotised into the belief that it is the best, most ethical, most prosperous, most truthful, most beneficial nation on the planet. Please wake them up… The shock might be hard to take, but people have ability to change this. It takes clear thinking and cooperation… And caring about each other. These are all missing at the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Colette! Most of us know we weren’t any of those things, but thought we were at least trying. Now I see that we’ve been being fed a line of b.s. for a while, though I still think that President Obama tried to make us a better, kinder nation. I’ve been trying to wake them for … what, nearly four years now? I’m ’bout ready to just go jump off a bloody cliff! Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is why I cannot accept democracy as the best way to govern a nation ( not that there is any good way to govern.). It is why I decry nationhood. All people are in this together, our poor are no better then Haiti’s poor. As long as we allow ourselves to be governed, we are no better than slaves with privileges–privileges granted by the masters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aye … and I could agree with you EXCEPT that some humans are cruel, arrogant and greedy and if left unchecked, ungoverned, will kill any who stand in their way. I have only one chicken to feed my family, and if some a-hole comes along with a gun and wants my chicken, I’m dead, likely along with my family. And … not all people are created equal … some are resourceful and able to take care of themselves, while some are not. It is one of the many tasks of government to see that those who need help get it. And, I could go on, but I’m short on time tonight and we’ve had this conversation before. LuL

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  5. Jill, these are all concerns. So, are the anti-science, anti-freedom of the press and anti-governmental institution narratives. We are permitting a corrupt demagogue tell us everyone else is wrong but him. Not only is that arrogant, it is dangerous and wrong. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely so, my friend! Freedom of press is being chipped away at, and the science/environment must be our BIGGEST concern, if our great grandchildren are to survive. We all need to open our eyes and look at what is happening. That’s much of the point of the project Jeff and I are doing … to “woke” the public. Sigh.

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    • Quite so … I can’t help but wonder what either of our countries will look like by the end of the century. We won’t be here to see it, and these days I’m glad I’m old and won’t likely see the destruction of either of our countries. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You make very good sense as does Mr Reich.but you’re going to need both houses as well as the Presidency to start making changes. You’re going to need a sympathetic congress because it may be some time before you can vote them out again so make a point of asking specific questions about what you want when you have a Town Hall or political meet. You can change things and though it might be slow you can get there and make the US a Country to be proud of again.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. What you say is true … if there remains a republican majority in the Senate, or the republicans re-take the House, nothing … absolutely nothing … can be accomplished. I don’t know that the U.S. will ever again become a country that other nations can respect, or even that its own citizens can take pride in, but I’m almost certain it won’t happen in my lifetime. In honesty, I have doubts it can happen in this century, for the people of this nation have lost their way, have forgotten their values, or else exchanged them for $$$$$$$$. Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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