are at a pivotal moment in American history. It seems we
are at that point quite often, and we are. It�s simply because
the people of this nation are varied, numerous and fickle.
cannot come to a consensus on what the country should look
like at any given time. Why not, you ask? Because the burning
desire to get rich takes on many forms. The lust for riches
is a shape-shifting beast. You can never know its true identity
from election to election, so America swings between two
extremes: the Democrats and the Republicans.
such a shame that we operate and exist that way in this
land of democracy. Our core values and beliefs look so attractive,
so inviting - on paper. In theory the concept of working
hard and prospering is a plate that very few can pass up.
That�s why we have so many immigrants in this country. Everyone
wants a piece of the American Dream.
everyone won�t get it. You know why? Simply because we shift
between the two extremes: the desire to progress as a country
and the desire to get rich. What I have come to learn is
that the two are incompatible. Much like the admonition
of Jesus: No one
can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and
love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise
the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That�s pretty
much where we are in this nation. We�re torn between Democrats
and Republicans - with no middle ground.
latest political flare up is an interesting one, because
the two extremes are so transparent. The election of 2010
saw us lean toward the money side of our collective character:
we must cut spending to make us prosperous. That sounds
good, until you see the shredded mess left on the floor�the
poor, the under-employed, the unemployed, the homeless,
those on the brink of foreclosure, the scared-to-spend of
America - the Americans who
are residual damage left on the floor. The Republicans gave
America the taste of making
corporate interests rich - making the rich richer. And guess
what? Remember the Republicans said it was about jobs. They
didn�t create any more jobs than the previous leadership.
and the debt ceiling - the amount that the federal government
can borrow without approval from Congress - dominate economic
policy discussions as well as the national conversation,
and it�s an ugly discussion too! Job growth is too slow
to lower the unemployment rate, and the Republican majority
in the House of Representatives is threatening not to raise
the debt ceiling unless the increase is tied to massive
thing about the Republican view of spending cuts is that
it only hurts the people that need money most. Like paying
off any debt you have, you can do faster it if you have
more money - sort of like a raise. That�s why the Democrats�
view of generating revenue has to be on the table. Just
the thought of not increasing the tax rate on the wealthiest
segment of our taxpayers, and not assessing corporations
- especially during this time of crisis - is an unacceptable
is true - and even I, as a progressive - would agree that
spending has to slow. But what Republicans want to cut is
un-American. To take away from the most vulnerable in our
society, is unconscionable. Drastic spending cuts could
slow the economy and job growth even further. That makes
no sense if you�re for propelling the country forward. What
they don�t want to cut - spending on simultaneous wars -
is the largest part of the problem. How does one think that
Americans are going to keep going for that?
the debt ceiling in place, though, would also result in
sharp spending cuts in addition to massive financial market
disruptions and higher interest rates for some time to come,
so they say. The business community is understandably worried
about Congress�s inability to come to an agreement on the
debt ceiling that protects economic growth, and they are
putting off hiring in this time of heightened economic uncertainty.
Oh, that really helps the economy, right?
disruptions caused by the debt ceiling debate add to concerns
over future economic growth. Families still struggle with
massive amounts of debt and high foreclosure rates, large
swings in oil prices this spring and summer further disrupt
business and families� spending plans, and widening trade
deficits could put the brakes on future economic growth.
If families don�t spend, then merchants suffer.
we�re in debt anyway is a mystery beyond solution. The country
with the greatest percentage of the world�s Gross Domestic
Product - the richest country in the world - should never
be in debt. The fact that America is, only indicates that we�ve concentrated
too much of that wealth into the hands of too few people.
spending is not a bad thing, but it becomes a bad thing
when you cut what�s necessary and spend on what isn�t. That�s
a principle of any family budget. That destroys growth.
The progress made over the fifteen years prior to Bush 43
has been frittered away. We�ve deconstructed the gains made,
thus a way of life that we once boasted. This family - American
family - no matter how dysfunctional, can reconstruct that
progress if we all pitch in. Abolish tax cuts for corporations,
raise tax rates for the richest 8% of Americans and police
spending. That�s how we�ll reconstruct progress.
Redd, is the former Executive Director of
the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of
the on-line commentary, �The
Other Side of the Tracks.� He is the host of the internet-based
talk radio show, Socially Speaking in
here to contact Mr.