Ideological Purity

It seems to me…

The American people deserve truthfulness, not more political campaigning.  The American people deserve a responsible government that seeks to address their needs, not more ideological dogma.”  ~ Jose Serrano.

Am I missing something?  Do I not fully understand the problems our country faces?  Or is blind adherence to extremist conservative ideological purity steering our country down the road to mediocrity.  While the economy currently remains our largest problem, the solution to pulling ourselves out of this recession seems relatively obvious though it requires investment and patience.  The Republicans got us into this mess and they now seem determined to prevent us from recovering from the very problems for which they are responsible.

It is time to invest in our country’s future.  Let’s face it – the national debt is a manufactured crisis.  The U.S. remains the richest nation on the planet – for now.  But we will not maintain that position without reversing the course on which we now are heading.  Our taxes are the lowest of any industrial nation.  We easily can afford a small increase.  We have more subsidies and tax loopholes than any other country.  We can close those and increase government income.

Conservatives are absolutely correct to be concerned about our national debt – but not primarily for the reasons they state.  Similarly, conservatives are absolutely correct to be concerned about dependency upon foreign petroleum – but not primarily for the reasons they state.  As in several other areas, they are missing the most important issues with which they should be concerned.  Our national debt crisis would be better resolved by increasing our GDP rather than by concentrating on budget reduction (though budget reduction is not necessarily bad).  The U.S. is very dependent upon the import of many products other than oil (e.g., rare earths) but they do not seem equally high on the list of conservative concerns though, in many ways, they probably are even more critical than petroleum.  The U.S. remains a net exporter of petroleum products.

The primary reason for concern, by both the left and right, should be that we are essentially funding development of a new world order through the largest economic transfer in world history to what until recently were third-world nations.  Wealth we should be investing here at home.  The U.S. borrows money from China to purchase petroleum primarily from the Middle East.

Most of the nations benefitting from this transfer of wealth; e.g., Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela…; depend upon export of petroleum exports and have so far failed to exploited their opportunity.  The “resource curse[i]” (Paradox of Plenty) refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.  China, on the other hand, which is a net importer of petroleum like the U.S., is using the income we provide to invest in its future.

The U.S. was the undisputed leader in manufacturing but following the war in Viet Nam, funding for education and research was reduced apparently – and incorrectly – under the assumption that the service and financial sectors were sufficient to sustain our economy.  Service jobs are low paying; the financial sector makes nothing of value – and manufacturing has fled to other areas of the world.

While scientific research is necessary for advances in every area, the U.S. has turned its back on adequate funding for research and innovation.  High performance computing (HPC) on which many manufacturers are dependent has been significantly scaled back.  The Super Conducting Collider was cancelled ending U.S. dominance in particle physics.  NASA has now been forced to delay (or possibly cancel) the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope which could end our leadership in cosmology.

But what can we expect from political leaders that not only do not understand science but also are openly disdainful of its established facts and pronouncements?  Politicians only fund research projects as goals to be reached rather than a journey into the unknown.  Many persist in denying the well-established reality of global climate change or fail to accept the fact of evolution.

We are unable to fund every proposed research project but we also must accept that research and innovation are our only hope for a better tomorrow.  Our political leaders can either choose to elevate research and innovation funding or continue to bury their heads in the sand and deny their role in our decline as a nation.

That’s what I think, what about you?


[i] Definition taken from Resource Curse, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse.

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About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
This entry was posted in China, Conservatives, Debt, Deficit, Economy, Education, Financial, Ideology, Investment, Middle East, Petroleum, Recession, Research, Resource Curse, Science, Sector, Taxes, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ideological Purity

  1. auntyuta says:

    I think you are right.

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