With so many crises facing the nation both domestically
and internationally, it is curious and alarming that ten
of the most serious and urgent problems are not being
meaningfully addressed by the president, his
administration, nor the Congress. (I might add that
leaders in both national political parties share in the
responsibility for this.)
Here is my list of those imminently problematic issues
(not necessarily in order of importance):
PENSION FUND LIABILITIES, public and private, continue
to grow. The bottom line of this is that workers at some
time in the future will either not receive pension benefits or
they will be greatly reduced. New corporate pension funds
are generally being phased out, but many existing ones
significantly remain unfunded. There is some work being
done to repair local and state pension funds, but those for
federal employees often remain in perilous circumstances.
UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES are vastly underreported.
The current “official” number is about 7.5%. The true
number is almost certainly closer to 14.3%. This
misreporting of unemployment figures lessens the urgency
to resolve the chronic problem. The Old Media co-conspires
with various levels of government’s desire to disguise the
true dimensions of unemployment in the U.S.
UNEMPLOYMENT FOR YOUNG BLACK AMERICANS
is staggering. Although under-reported, even the reported
numbers clearly shows the profound damage to this
community. While smokescreens about alleged “racism” and
discrimination abound, very little is being done to actually
find meaningful jobs for these young Americans.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IN AMERICAN
UNIVERSITIES is undermining the quality of higher
education in the U.S. Although some welcome reaction
to hitherto radicalization of much of the college and
university programs is now taking place, the value of
the “liberal arts education’ has dramatically declined
in most major U.S. colleges and universities.
INFRASTRUCTURE in the nation is being neglected
while endless debates about “global warming,”
boutique farming and hyper-environmentalism deflect a
much-needed discussion about the state of America’s
roads, highways, water availability and quality, food
production, and health conditions in the workplace is
ELITISM IN U.S. ARTS CULTURE is separating the
creative visual, musical, performing and literary arts
from a large number of Americans via government
aid programs and “official” arts criteria that encourages
elitist art programs. The result is an overall decline in
American culture, and reduced public participation in it.
GOVERNMENT INTRUSION into American private
life is increasing. Although headlines about government
surveillance is now frequent, this masks more serious
issues about increased federal (and some state and local)
regulatory intrusion in individual, small business and
general entrepreneurial activity.
FASHION AND CULTIST TRENDS IN PUBLIC POLICY
are replacing common sense and genuine public interest
in the modernization of the nation. Excessively costly
high-speed rail and unnecessary local light rail systems
are being proposed, designed and built. The
overbuilding of public colleges and universities, local
takeovers of private utilities, delays of needed pipelines,
and other ultimately unjustifiable and unsustainable
programs are being implemented without proper public
review and approval.
THE NATION’S MILITARY DEFENSES ARE BEING
OVER-REDUCED. While the Defense budget is very large
and a popular (and often justifiable) target for waste
reductions, current policies to drastically reduce the
nation’s armed forces, naval and international
strategic presence are increasing the nation’s vulnerability
and its vital interests in a time of heightened international
instability and overt threat.
DIMINISHED SPENDING FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH is
a threat to American leadership in world innovation.
One area government funding can clearly contribute to
improved national well-being is through encouraging
and enabling new scientific research. This is especially
critical in the current era when emerging economic
competitors such as China, India, and Brazil are
aggressively challenging American leadership in this area.
Copyright(c) 2013 by Barry Casselman.All rights reserved.