Sunday, January 31, 2010

Comatose

Here's a snippet from Frank Rich's column in the New York Times today.

"The historian Alan Brinkley has observed that we will soon enter the fourth decade in which Congress — and therefore government as a whole — has failed to deal with any major national problem, from infrastructure to education. The gridlock isn’t only a function of polarized politics and special interests. There’s also been a gaping leadership deficit."

Think about it. The country is entering the fourth decade. Since 1980 when the affable nimwit Reagan took office, the United States Congress has done nothing about anything important: hell, medicare funding and social security shortfalls in the near future are not secrets. And they weren't secrets 30-40 years ago. The leadership of the U.S. simply ignored any problem that was fixable easier then and for far less money than today, when all these buzzards are coming home to roost on our scalps. Our national leadership was basically comatose when it came to tackling substantive major problems. We chose to eat out our substance with war and the frivolities of Wall Street.  It's not as if smart people were not saying years and years ago that certain things were going to be serious problems that would only get worse by not doing something about it then, whenever "then" was then. The list of major problems the Congress simply ignored is staggering in its implications for us right now, today. All of these problems should have been attacked decades ago. Now while the country crumbles around us, those of us paying attention are seeing the folly of our ways. I'm not even going to look stuff up. All this off the top of my head:

  1. Energy: No national effort to produce green energy; no national energy policy.
  2. Pollution: worse than ever, especially in water bodies, er, like the oceans.
  3. Infrastructure: you name it: bridges, roads, sewers, water mains, etc. Don't forget publich schools.  A lot of this infrastructure is rotten or rotting away. 
  4. National mass transit rail system: Duh! We used to have one of these and tore it up.
  5. Affordable healthcare for everybody.
  6. Influence of big money in elections.
  7. New state-of-the-art air traffic control radar system
  8. Substantive tax reform 
  9. [Add your own: I can't think of any more, but I'm sure there are.]
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