NEW YORK – America’s political and economic crisis is set to worsen following the upcoming November elections. President Barack Obama will lose any hope for passing progressive legislation aimed at helping the poor or the environment. Indeed, all major legislation and reforms are likely to be stalemated until 2013, following a new presidential election. An already bad situation marked by deadlock and vitriol is likely to worsen, and the world should not expect much leadership from a bitterly divided United States.
Much of America is in a nasty mood, and the language of compassion has more or less been abandoned. Both political parties serve their rich campaign contributors, while proclaiming that they defend the middle class. Neither party even mentions the poor, who now officially make up 15% of the population but in fact are even more numerous, when we count all those households struggling with health care, housing, jobs, and other needs.
The Republican Party recently issued a “Pledge to America” to explain its beliefs and campaign promises. The document is filled with nonsense, such as the fatuous claim that high taxes and over-regulation explain America’s high unemployment. It is also filled with propaganda. A quotation by President John F. Kennedy states that high tax rates can strangle the economy, but Kennedy’s was speaking a half-century ago, when the top marginal tax rates were twice what they are today. Most of all, the Republican platform is devoid of compassion.
America today presents the paradox of a rich country falling apart because of the collapse of its core values. American productivity is among the highest in the world. Average national income per person is about $46,000 – enough not only to live on, but to prosper. Yet the country is in the throes of an ugly moral crisis.