America is in turmoil. The news is chock full of stories and analyses of scandal, bad judgment, poor leadership, challenges to personal rights, and so much more. In times of crisis, Americans look to their leaders to find solutions. But, Washington has disappointed members of every political mindset during the past decade.
Here are ten examples of how our government has failed its constituencies.
1. Government paralysis
The president and Congress are responsible for the effective operation of the government. They are expected to enact new laws that address social problems, finance expenditures, and protect us. Partisanship has overwhelmed Washington, and so comity is nonexistent, and compromise is not possible.
No government can make the right call 100% of the time. Yet, it should take responsibility when things go wrong and ensure they do not happen again. Government should be transparent and keep Americans abreast of current problems and strategies to deal with them.
3. American prestige
It is difficult to accept, but the U.S. is much less of a world leader than it was in the past. Most recently, our country has stood by and allowed North Korea to develop a nuclear weapon that it is threatening to put atop of a long-range missile that could deliver it to American soil. The U.S. has a relatively benign attitude in the continuing violence in Syria that is tearing the Middle East apart. And, America and its allies have been passive with Iran aside from instituting economic sanctions as it moves towards the development of a nuclear weapon, which could destabilize the region. The lack of leadership and decisiveness in these situations will have a long-lasting effect on American diplomacy around the world.
4. Health care
Obamacare is supposed to kick in in 2014. It is expected to cost far more than the original $1 trillion estimate. Affiliated savings are not coming to fruition either, which will exacerbate the losses from the program. The exchanges necessary for Obamacare to provide health care coverage are probably not going to be operational in 2014 in many states. This Obama odyssey has been poorly implemented to such an extent that it may hamper health care in America for years to come. The intent of this project is noble, but the timing and management of it has been a disaster.
5. Civil liberties
For several years, the threat of greater governmental intrusion into our lives has escalated. Frankly, efforts to increase security have diminished our liberties. It is debatable whether this trade off has been worth it. Some believe rooting out terrorists with surveillance is critical, and some disagree. However, the IRS scandal and the brazen and political actions by its agents have intensified the whole intrusion controversy. It begs the question: What other clandestine operations are being undertaken by government agencies against U.S. citizens?
It will continue to be impossible to make real progress educationally in this country so long as we are unable to discuss openly the problems facing our children. Throwing money at the failed system is not the answer. Better teachers with higher salaries and new buildings will only get us so far. A huge number of urban and rural children must be convinced that education is important. In a speech at Bowie State, Michelle Obama audaciously and bravely supported this perspective. She was immediately criticized for making racist remarks. If an African American First Lady cannot speak directly about the growing problem of student apathy and inadequate parental support, who can? Certainly not affluent white people, even if their intentions are good.
7. Social issues
Social issues are experiencing a revival of sorts in this country. The use of spiritual references in politics is growing, and alas, concerns about abortion, gay marriage, and gun control are front and center. The result is an absolute inability to compromise and finally put these issues behind us. As an example, those for and against abortion are concerned with the ‘slippery slope.” Many supporters of abortions want them to be available up until the birth of a baby, while opponents contend that life begins at conception. Neither philosophy is palatable. The solution is somewhere in between, while the principle participants in the debate argue from the extreme.
Our country is spending far more than it is collecting. It is a problem that has grown exponentially in recent years encouraged by leadership in both major political parties. Our government is expert at adding new programs, but incompetent at eliminating old and outdated programs. Social Security and Medicare will effectively bankrupt our country in the near future, and every congressperson knows it. Entitlements must be reformed now.
The burden placed on high-income taxpayers is a result of two issues: (1) overspending (see #8) and (2) the totally antiquated tax code. In recent days, companies like Apple are being skewered because they “legally” minimize and avoid taxes. Our tax code is not effective and too many corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes. Congress created the rules that make this a reality, and so it should fix them.
Our leaders and lawmakers have tried to blame everyone but themselves for the problems in America. They are responsible for our current dilemmas, and they should work on ways as a united team to rectify them.