14 amusing and 14 not so amusing things about the American economy
A couple of times this year I’ve mirrored articles from the foreign press. I know when looking in my own mirror I tend to overlook the defects in my own reflection: There’s the scar on my nose (in an earlier age it might have been a dueling scar), the lack of eyebrows (except for one or two that grow lush and black), but I could have done worse. I’d recognize me anywhere.
I don’t think very much about how people see me. This comes easier when one is over 50: “… I do not hope to turn again, desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope, I no longer strive to strive towards such things (why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?).”
I read a short article by C Wright Mills many years ago where he used as a metaphor for America a stage coach racing across the prairie with a horde of people chasing it, struggling to find a hand grip to get aboard. As soon as the chaser got a good position he turned around and began to kick at the mob who was still in pursuit. If anyone can remind me where I read this I’d be grateful. In any event it’s an apt metaphor for much of America.
We are a mixture of people who couldn’t make it in the old world (had we been wealthy and landed, we would still be there). Some of us were one step ahead of the sheriff, some of us were driven here by hunger, some in fear of their lives for conscience. Yet once we got here and survived we began to think we were special because we survived.
We became smug because many of those left behind were casualties of life, lost to starvation, war, disease, and worse. We acted and changed our lives. We crossed great distances to homestead free land and benefit from free education. It was, in fact a renaissance far from what made us leave Europe and the world.
So much time has passed, and so much self interest has been instilled that some of us don’t see taxation as membership in the club to keep roads open, teachers paid, music and art as necessary to culture. The reason America has been so successful in the past has been because of the influx of talent from overseas. There is plenty of talent in America but the immigration of new talent is one of the things that makes it go. Immigration of the best and brightest of the world’s peoples continuously refreshes our talent pool with new competition.
We pay for foreign aid not so we can feel better morally, we pay it because if recipients act against our national interest, we can withdraw it. We pay for a diplomatic and intelligence services not be cause we like to go to parties but because we need intelligence sources and representatives abroad who know what fork to use. We have a world-class education system not to educate the world but to attract the intellectual cream of the crop from among the countries of the world so that they can contribute to America (of course, people come here for an excellent education and return home with [hopefully] good memories of their stay).
Lately, however, the push is on to let the material infrastructure rot, starve the the educational infrastructure, deregulate financial services to allow the “market” to “self regulate,” and decimate a troublesome government that oversees predatory self interest from those, having the morals of a used car salesman can fleece those less worldly and trusting.
You believe that some, more innocent in their trusting nature are more like lambs among wolves – don’t you?
Susan Sayler’s “Empress of the Golden Universe” finds good content but I think she drinks more coffee than I do. Anyway, I spotted this link on her site, so here it is, warm off Pravda’s press: “14 funny and 14 not so funny statistics about ‘economic recovery.'”