Conservative Attempts To Weaken U.S.

It seems to me…

Economy is the method by which we prepare today to afford the improvements of tomorrow.”  ~ Calvin Coolidge.

Do U.S. conservatives really favor the decline of our country?  Everything seems to indicate that is what they actually want.  Why at a time when the U.S. not only is challenged but also rapidly dropping categorically when compared with other countries do they continue to favor still further budget reductions?  Why are they so determined to living standard reductions for not only the least wealthy but additionally for the dwindling ranks of our middle class simply to benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of our citizens.  Why do they oppose economic development while we have a remaining elevated unemployment rate and are challenged to even maintain our current standard of living?  What is it about economic growth they do not understand?

I’ve written on this topic before (and probably will again in the future) and while I hate to keep returning to this same subject, it is difficult to understand how they can continue to advocate positions detrimental to our country.

Apparently the majority of conservatives need to return to college and retake Economics 101 since they seem to have selectively forgotten everything they ever learned: austerity never is advisable during a period of economic difficulty – especially while in a liquidity-trap where federal short-term interest rates are near 0 percent.  Research by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), based on 173 implementations of austerity policies between 1978 and 2009, found that imposition of those policies were mostly followed by economic contraction and higher unemployment.  The time for concern over national debt is after the economy has returned to acceptable growth.  Debt will only become an issue when interest rates once again increase above Federal short-term interest rates.  Let’s drop the currently non-relevant debt issue and address the important issues of economic growth and prosperity.

It is interesting that the Republican Party, after creating large budget deficits under President Bush, now is attempting to position itself as the party strongly opposed to those very deficits they created even while continuing to support even larger tax reductions (especially for the wealthy)[i].  Over the past four years, they have consistently opposed extending unemployment benefits, highway and other infrastructure maintenance and updates, financial reforms, disaster relief, and other policies favored by most voters.  They continue to support neo-conservatism, financial deregulation, denial of climate change, continued subsidies to agriculture and fossil-fuel industries, anti-gay activists, immigration reform, and austerity measures repeatedly demonstrated to be detrimental to economic recovery.  They criticize the current administration for its failure to sufficiently reduce unemployment while demanding further government employment reductions.  They demand further budget reduction while favoring additional increases in defense spending.  It is obvious that the major threat to our nation is not from some external enemy but from right-wing conservative extremists who now dictate policy to the Republican Party.  Wasn’t it enough to have lost the presidential election?

The U.S. middle class is under economic and cultural pressure and declining in numbers as an increasing number of families slide into poverty.  90 percent of Americans self-identify as being lower-middle, middle, or upper-middle class, 6 percent as lower-class, and only 2 percent consider themselves upper-class though it is difficult to actually define class boundaries.  The middle class provides the nation’s economic foundation, not the most wealth 1 or 2 percent.  They deserve a break.

Yes, to be fair, the current Congressional legislative impasse is not totally the result of Conservative ideology; both sides of the political isle share responsibility.  It unfortunately is obvious that politically money talks and it buys influence.  Politicians realize their reelection depends on the amount of campaign contributions they receive.  Consequently, current economic policies favor the rich who have paid to have those policies enacted; it will be very difficult to change many of those policies to benefit our country rather than a select number of individuals or corporations.  The very thing politicians seem to most fear, lost of U.S. position in the world, is what will result without policies changes.

Another time-wasting topic of debate is Social Security.  While the U.S. population is becoming older and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax eventually will be insufficient to cover the cost of Social Security unless changes are made, only minor changes would be necessary to extend the current system another 75 years.  Why change something with an 80 percent citizen approval.  It is sufficiently difficult to solve today’s problems; attempting to simultaneously resolve non-current issues only complicates the difficulties.

Instead of meaningless politically-motivated machinations, we need to address the real issues: our crumbling infrastructure, obsolete power grid, decreasing STEM enrollment, tax reform…

Conservatives refuse to accept reality preferring to believe in a world of once-upon-a-time that never actually was.  They need to wake up and see the world as it is.  While the U.S. remains the world’s wealthiest nation, our lead is rapidly narrowing.  How do they feel when they consider that while the U.S. once led the world in space exploration, we now are dependent upon a former rival to send astronauts to the Space Station or that China, India, or several other nations probably will send a manned exploration team to moon prior to us?  Changes are necessary but Conservatives seem willing only to consider what they incorrectly believe to have been acceptable in the now distant past.

Isn’t it time for the U.S. to make a commitment to once again be among the top ten nations in the world in the most important economic indicators?  I think so…

That’s what I think, what about you?


[i] Grunwald, Michael.  Road To Nowhere, Time, 11 February 2013, p24.

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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 Austerity, Budget, Congress, Conservatives, Debt, Deficit, Economic, Economics, Economy, Employment, Federal Insurance Contributions Act, FICA, GDP, Growth, Growth, Growth, Growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Jobs, Liquidity-Trap, Middle Class, National, Recession, Recovery, Recovery, Social Security and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Conservative Attempts To Weaken U.S.

  1. auntyuta says:

    I am surprised that 90 percent of Americans see themselves as middle class.
    I reckon lower-middle class people on the whole have really no economic security unless the state supports them in times of crisis.
    The true middle class should really be self-supporting and not have to live in fear that the ‘rich’ cut off funds and leave them destitute. Where is the balance?

    • lewbornmann says:

      Individual wealth is not the primary determining factor for economic class. What is most important is how we compare with others in our social network. Those who are destitute or impoverished accept they are in the lower-class.

      As indicated by the Gini Coefficient, increasing disparity has led to a new class of super-wealthy. To truly belong to the upper-class, it no longer is sufficient to be among the top 1.0 percent financially, the upper-class has now become the exclusive domain of the top 0.1 percent.

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