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SueInCa On February - 8 - 2011

Is there still time and the will to save her?  I think there is still time, but our leaders and the people in this country need to face some tough facts and then make a concerted effort to turn this country around.  For years most of us have relied on the freedom and security that a life in America provided.  But the United States truly needs a concerted, all hands on deck rescue mission.  We can all see it even if we truly do not want to believe it.  In fact, there are plenty around us who truly do not want to face facts.  Just as our infrastructure is falling apart, in dire need of repair, our position in the world is declining as well.  If you voice concern, alot of people will tell you, “if you don’t like it here, then leave”.  Those are exactly the people who are hiding their heads in the sand.  People who believe that just because THEIR party is in power, things are better, because THEIR party is in the White House, things are better, because THEY have a job, things are better, because So and So are no longer on Wall Street, things are better.  All of those are factors, but until they are all working together like a well-oiled machine, we will not begin to really recover and set our house straight.

And, by ignoring and refusing to tackle the obvious signs, we are putting current and future generations at serious risk of living in a society that will not come close to resembling the one I grew up in and many of you as well.   Our society is drowning in debt and the 2% at the top are in it for themselves over the long haul and really not in this to help provide solutions for the country entire.

We have serious, serious problems.  The U.S. economy and standing in the world were, at one time, incomparable.  We were the leaders in the industrial revolution, the technology revolution, we were the leaders in rebuilding Europe after WWII as a result of the Marshall Plan, we had a military that was second to none.  But wait, perhaps that is part of the problem.  We still have a military that is second to none and in actuality that military is draining the coffers.  Oh, I know it is not the only thing, but when you contemplate the huge amounts of money we are still spending in the MIC, it is downright obscene.  Our forefathers handed us the greatest country in history and we have allowed it to fall apart right in front of our eyes.

Read the statistics below taken from the website, “The Economic Collapse”.  It is hard to deny when these facts are staring you in the face.

The following are 24 statistics about the United States economy that are almost too embarrassing to admit….

#1 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States has fallen to seventh.

#2 The United States once had the highest proportion of young adults with post-secondary degrees in the world.  Today, the U.S. has fallen to 12th

#3 In the 2009 “prosperity index” published by the Legatum Institute, the United States was ranked as just the ninth most prosperous country in the world.  That was down five places from 2008.

#4 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use.  Today it ranks 15th.

#5 The economy of India is projected to become larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2050.

#6 One prominent economist now says that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#7 According to a new study conducted by Thomson Reuters, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

#8 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. 

#9 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#10 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#11 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent.

#12 The television manufacturing industry began in the United States.  So how many televisions are manufactured in the United States today?  According to Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder, the grand total is zero.

#13 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#14 Back in 1980, the United States imported approximately 37 percent of  the oil that we use.  Now we import nearly 60 percent of the oil that we use.

#15 The U.S. trade deficit is running about 40 or 50 billion dollars a month in 2010.  That means that by the end of the year approximately half a trillion dollars (or more) will have left the United States for good.

#16 Between 2000 and 2009, America’s trade deficit with China increased nearly 300 percent.

#17 Today, the United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that China spends on goods from the United States.

#18 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#19 American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#20 Median household income in the U.S. declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  That was the second yearly decline in a row.

#21 The United States has the third worst poverty rate among the advanced nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#22 Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power.

#23 U.S. government spending as a percentage of GDP is now up to approximately 36 percent.

#24 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

Please share these statistics with as many family members and friends as you can.  It is time to get real.  It is time to admit that we have some really big problems.

****You can access this list at http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/

The United States and all her people need to come clean.  We need to admit that the debt we carry is unstainable, especially when you consider we only make payments on the interest.  I know that we are told all around us that the economy is improving, but have you noticed food prices soaring, commodities pricing soaring and no real reason for those increasing prices? It is because Wall Street has created a new bubble in speculating and it is time for Wall Street to come clean as well.  Just as the real underlying situation regarding food and it’s scarcity in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and other places around the world is geting lost in the politics of the Middle East revolts, our national debt is getting lost in the politics of Washington DC.  It is time to get our heads out of the sand.  It is not guaranteed that the United States will always be the greatest economy in the world or that we will even continue to be prosperous unless we all do our share to turn things around.  Is it possible?  I think it is, we put a man on the moon, we developed chemotherapy, a polio vaccine, the transistor, the artificial heart and super-sonic aircraft.  Hell, we even invented that useless staple necessary in almost every office in the world, post-its.  We are a nation of adventurous, smart, industrious people.  Somewhere along the way we lost our direction, perhaps we need to go back to basics and take a serious look at the Alexander Hamilton 11 Point Plan-Our first true industrial plan.  It would provide answers to some of the issues above but we have to be resolute in taking those steps to change our course.  Some of the points will make us unpopular, make corporations unhappy and in this new and faster paced world the entire plan may not even be feasible anymore, but we have to try something.

When we all are willing to admit what the problems are, what the priorities are and the steps to rectify this mess we have made, we then will have to vow to put political polarization aside and get down to work.  Is it even possible?  I would like to think it is but so far all I see is political games and corporate refusal to come to the table.  I know there are many people, just like me, that want to see things change.  I just don’t know how we band together to make it happen.

Thom Hartmann discusses Alexander Hamilton’s Industrial Plan for the United States


Written by SueInCa

I am a soon to be 59 Nana to Anthony who is 11. I live in Benicia CA with my husband and Shih Tsu. I worked in Banking and the Financial Industry for 24 years in Fraud, Risk Management, Account Management, Program Management, Project Management and Customer Service. I was a Fraud Investigator for Credit Card and Merchant Business and investigated internal fraud and responded to Bank robberies. I was also management in most of these positions. Now I am content to find a part time job where I am just a worker bee, no more corporate BS for this gal. I also make jewelry. I can spend hours in a bead shop just touching all the fine baubles. Only another beader would understand that one.

53 Responses so far.

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  1. flo baum says:

    oops, sorry I mis-posted the link…. 🙁

    here it is :


  2. flo baum says:

    Wonderful post Sue…

    Now here is an action we can support in our states, this is the beginning of freeing ourselves from the banksters :

    excellent little article here on TruthOut.. I am off to send it to my congressman, the very nice Henry Waxman…

    thank you Sue, 🙂

  3. ADONAI says:

    Love your post Sue.

    I am of the mind that many Americans need to shed the victim label they give themselves. People who feel they have no control in a country that gives them every opportunity to seize it.

    Just lacking the will. Better to accept that we are ruled by mysterious forces beyond our control.

    • SueInCa says:

      Adonai Thanks, that is funny I was just over on your Democracy post. I hear you, just because I did not buy a house I could not afford, does not absolve me either. I could have been shouting it to the rooftops but I lacked the drive to do so. So I am to blame as well.

  4. audadvnc says:

    “Our forefathers handed us the greatest country in history and we have allowed it to fall apart right in front of our eyes.”

    What do you mean, “we”? That kind of attitude is blaming the victim -- like saying the chickens are at fault for KFC.

    “We” have no choice in the matter. The top 2% have a total lockdown on gov’t policy and the economy. It really doesn’t matter what you or I think or say about anything.

    • ADONAI says:

      That’s a cop out. You decry her for “playing the victim” then turn around and cast yourself as a victim of a conspiracy by the wealthiest in this nation.

      You believe we are without fault? I beg to differ.Look at any chart of public debt from 1900 to 2010. After decades of a low plateau look at the ridiculous skyrocket in debt from just before 1980 to 2010.

      We became a credit based society built on future debt. Greed and irresponsibility. Wasn’t a politician doing this. Or a fancy man in a top hat

    • SueInCa says:

      Well I hate to bust your bubble, but we did participate in the demise. I don’t deny your comment about the 2% but WE did go along with the program. If you are not one of those people, you certainly are a rare one.

  5. 2garden says:

    I think this article should be burning up the blogoshphere!
    Everyone needs to read this. Sue is articulate and spot on!!
    Thank you for voicing it so well

    • SueInCa says:

      Thanks 2garden. The facts and numbers came from the Economic Collapse Blog but I added the commentary. I go there periodically. Some of their stuff is WooWoo you just have to read with an open mind.

  6. Khirad says:

    10 stars. 😉

    Just the numbers alone. Wow! They speak volumes: literally.

  7. Abbyrose86 says:

    SO how do we fix this mess we are all in?

    First, I’m thinking we need to start with changing ourselves. WE have become our own worst enemies. Our expectations of our “elected leaders”are not realistic. As well as our expectations of what our lives SHOULD be like. WE all bought into the Madison Avenue marketing campaign, which logic would dictate was never realistic.

    I’m not saying we should accept substandard living conditions or quality of life…I’m saying we need to re-evaluate what our priorities are towards life and what we feel is REALLY important components of life for not only ourselves but our fellow citizens.

    For example, why buy a 5 bedroom house with 3 bathrooms and a 4 car garage, when you don’t need it? Just because WE can, doesn’t mean WE should. Or why buy into buying a new car every 3-5 years? JUST because it’s ‘in’ or popular to do so, doesn’t mean it’s wise or necessary.

    MAYBE just MAYBE instead of buying STUFF or increasing our debt through the acquiring BIGGER and BETTER stuff, maybe we ARE lowering our OWN quality of life. PERHAPS instead of buying these things, if WE spent more time with loved ones, or volunteering in our communities we all be happier and have less economic concerns?

    We often elect the guy/or gal who does the best job of selling us a cubic zirconia and calling it a diamond. TOO many of us buy into the sales pitch. WE need to stop that.

    Second, we need to continue being more involved, blogging IS part of the awareness. Amazing how when you write out your thoughts, how they solidify more solidly in your brain! But blogging isn’t enough. WE need to get the message out. The internet provides the forum. As I said earlier we need to use it better. EVERYONE needs to get more involved in their communities, all politics IS local, and from local it can turn national.

    Third, we need to stop using the services and buying the products of businesses that don’t have our best interests of society at heart. THERE are good companies out there…seek them out and give them the business. The internet AGAIN, provides the tool to find them. Don’t just wait for them to come to us.

    Fourth, WE need a plan…a strategy for attaining our goals. No business operates without some strategy both for the short term and the long term. WE those on the left, are not good at this. There are many business people on the left…yet we forget what we know FROM business in our political lives. WHY?

    Marketing, sales, PR, effective strategic planning, human motivational behavior are all parts of any business strategy and CAN be included in an effective political campaign as well.

    Karl Rove (in this regard) had a point. WE can use the same concepts for GOOD rather than EVIL.

    WE all can make a difference IF we REALLY want to, but the change must come from within ourselves first.

    I think those who are here and on on other such forums are already 1/2 way there. WE obviously DO care already and we are using our time to help bring about change and the exchange of ideas.

    • Silentdances says:

      Is there a group that consolidates the various progressive, liberal, and left groups that could possibly be turned towards a goal of an additional party?

      • bito says:

        Silentdances, Katherine Kennedy Townsend was working on a fund raising group and a large group of progressives have come together over the Kochs and the “Citizens United” decision. The PlanetPOV was a co at the rally and conference. It was headed up by Common Cause. You will find some articles on the site. Here Hereand Here Please have a look at them.

      • SueInCa says:

        Possibly Common Cause. I know they were a big part of the strike in Palm Springs against the Kochs. Ask Adlib he knows more about Netroots than I do.

        • Silentdances says:

          I think that’s probably what it will take. I’m one of those that (with the exception of a handful) has little to no faith in the Democratic Party.

  8. Silentdances says:

    I see this as a question of time. How long is there to put responsible people back in the helm before the next crash comes along. There are so many different things teetering on edge, it’s bound to happen again. This is not to say I feel hopeless, I don’t. I do think it’s an important question though.

  9. Abbyrose86 says:

    Our economical model is a mess. In theory many of the concepts espoused over the last 30 years or more, work. HOWEVER theory and reality are two different things.

    In reality all economies of the world are mixed, there are no pure economic models in use anywhere. ALL nations have various mixtures of economic ideas that are used.

    Because only in a classroom are pure theories REAL, people forget that in the REAL world things are never that simple as a classroom model portrays them to be.

    What is often neglected in the theories is outliers. Which are discarded as not being essential. I couldn’t disagree more the variables and the outliers are the most important components, because those ARE really what really ends up driving the system.

    On either side of a bell curve you have tails, those tails are often more important than the median in the middle,(predicated on what you are measuring) as those outliers especially those on the far right side of the tail (intellectually, economically) are those who have the power and ability to skew the results of any concept to their own favor.

    In addition, the variables that create opportunity, OR EXTERNALITIES effect different people differently predicated on their own innate abilities and life experience. Ergo theories which simply attempt to paint everyone with a broad brush, I think, are misguided.

    I also think, human behavior (both it’s good and bad sides) are a huge factor in any economic issue which in turn leads to cultural and social issues.

    Lack of economic resources causes many social and cultural problems. The more who don’t have economic resources usually correlates with an increase in social issues and further breakdown of culture.

    So basically, as I see it, we are at a crossroads. The economic elite have taken most of the pie for themselves and have the rest to fight over the crumbs, at the same time, those fighting for those crumbs are disheartened by their lowered standard of living and cultural and social issues are the direct result of that.

    This all did not happen over night, it took years to get here, decades actually.

    However, until we address the income inequality and social immobility AND until we as a society acknowledge these issues as being real, we aren’t going to get anywhere, fixing it.

    WE can’t continue believing we are something we are not. WE can’t continue believing in the same concepts which have brought us to this point. WE must acknowledge our reality, acknowledge our paradigms and TRY and change those paradigms as a society.

    Unfortunately, we have a media that is determined to continue the status quo…and I am not just talking about the press, I’m talking about advertisers, Hollywood, and other sources that help shape our cultural and social paradigms. These images and words we hear everyday, whether we like to admit it or not, AFFECT us and our behavior.

    If we truly wish to try to fix where we are, the internet provides the tool for us to get the messages out and perhaps to offer opportunities for some economically. We just have to figure out how to use it better. I don’t think it’s full potential is being used by the masses…corporations and the economic elite are using it for their own agenda, but individuals aren’t doing enough with it.

    • SueInCa says:


      You did exactly what I had hoped for by writing this piece -- you opened the door for discussion on possible solutions or at least a place to start.

      I think, as do some others, we need someone to get the ball rolling. Someone that others will trust because they have earned that trust. Someone who is not afraid of the status quo. Perhaps it is a group of people who have the expertise in finance and social issues and act on that experience. And finally someone who understands we DO live in a global economy. Despite their acknowledgment that we are global now, I am not sure our people in DC really think globally.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        Oh my gosh Sue, I think you are so right. The changes that globalization brought are not just economic. I think you are very right, people are not looking at it that way.

        I have to go get my daughter. I’ll post more later

        BTW…I tried to reply to yesterday and everytime I wrote my reply, I had a server issue!


  10. 2garden says:

    I look around and I see a continued smoke screen that is being displayed for all the world to see.
    We have our representatives that are too busy doing everything but their job.
    Look at the headlines. The house of Republicans want to redefine rape so federal tax dollars can’t be spent for an abortion. Blowing more smoke because not one thing mentioned in the above article is being seriously looked at by either our newstatinment or by our elected representatives.
    What is wrong with that picture?
    We get all the drivel thrown in our faces like sand. Our house is burning down and we got sand in our eyes so we can’t see it.
    The distractions are intense and immense. You can not solve a problem until you identify the problem.
    You can not identify the problems if you are distracted.
    The cynical side of me says American will not recuperate because it is more important to be concerned about lindsay lohan’s body or be shocked at her behavior. Sad, pathetic and down right irresponsible on our parts that we are letting our children down and letting others steal their future ..

    • SueInCa says:


      I could not agree with you more. I get so irritated with the newstainment actually having people on staff that specialize in Hollywood. Jesus, I bet Huntley and Brinkley are rolling in their graves. Or the “tell us which of these three useless stories you want to hear” drivel from CNN now.

      And I see our “people” in DC as seeing everything through the eyes of a party and social issues that SHOULD be put on the back burner for now. Their preoccupation with bedroom and sexual issues is rather creepy and made more creepy by the fact they want to punish a victim with their misplaced concerns.

      When you hire lawyers, doctors and religious fanatics to legislate your country, this is what you get. You will notice I do not refer to them as leaders because they have shown me they are not. A confrontation needs to take place, a peacable confrontation, not the garbage the Tea Party Express dishes out. And it will need to be sustained, one off deals never leave a lasting impression.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      SO WELL said 2garden.

      I couldn’t agree more. IF we don’t identity our real problems and issues, how can we correct anything?

      IF we don’t try to get the root causes and are just touching the surface…I don’t see how we can make any headway at really making any lasting changes.

  11. rubinoff says:

    Excellent post, Sue. 🙂 None of this happened over night, a long time in the making…I first noticed back in the 80’s, things were changing. I weep for my beloved country.

    • SueInCa says:


      I know and I myself take blame as well. To tell the truth, I did not wake up until this last bubble. I never got into the buying out of my price range and my house is safe but I knew people were making major mistakes running with the Joneses. I tried to educate people, but I ask myself did I do enough?

      I do see pockets of people trying to re-educate and re-invent their lives and communities and maybe tht is all I can really hope for now. But I don’t believe it really.

  12. PatsyT says:

    Very Excellent Sue,

    I have just one question for those Million/Billion/Bazillionaires

    What are you doing with that TAX cut?
    What have you done with that TAX cut?
    How is America benefitting from that TAX cut?

    ~OK this is going to be more then one question~

    Are your American?
    Who paid for your schooling?
    Do you have a valid Birth Certificate?
    Can we see it?
    Can we see your Papers?
    Whose side are you on anyway?

    I don’t blame our President Obama for giving them their “Tax Cut”
    I blame them for demanding it !!!

    • SueInCa says:

      Oh Patsy, I can always count on you to get right to the point. I think the Kochs got a message from our friends that Sunday. I can’t imagine they were too comfortable with all our friends chanting in the street. The trick will be to keep the pressure on. I would suggest that people split up and target their individual businesses. Determine the issue with that business and confront them. If we had enough across the country in a concerted coordinated effort, it might make a dent. And Buffet does not get off either.

  13. KB723 says:

    Sue, Great Article… I think the only thing I have to add is this: My guess is that, because we have borrowed soo much money from China, we are in dept to the point of having to have free trade with them. Thus for us to sell our goods to them, they have to be produced at about the same rate of what it costs them in production. As you have seen by the photos you even helped me post last week. I have created something quite unique in the fact that, what I have created has Never been done so far… And what a huge window of creation, or soo many different ways I can go with this.

    The hard part is… I need to buy my base components at a wholesale level to keep my products with in the reach of the folks I yearn to do business with. I knew I was going into unknown territory, but that in itself, was the attraction… I LOve when a new idea comes to my mind and I can produce it, to me it’s a challenge to follow my ideas.
    The benefit I have is that I am local, I can meet face to face with my clients. That is another attraction for the folks I want to do business with. I have the Blessing at this time of not really having to worry about local competitors, because they will find that what I am asking for finished one of a kind products is kinda cheap for all the work that goes into each piece.

    I know there is much other spending out there that can be cut into. But sadly we both know it will probably never happen. As for dollars being spent for MIC, that in itself is criminal. I sometimes think we neeed to close our borders, send folks who are not documented to be here should be sent home. Close all trade world wide. You are right, we need to get back in step.. Part of what you mention is infrastructure. I agree, and In doing so we need to open some of the closed steel mills and build our own steel to help in this infrastructure rebuilding. And since we are speaking on the front of infrastructure, did you read that the RW wants to do away with the Davis-Bacon Act? Actually they want to take 1 billion out of it’s funding… Why this is important: State employees, or workers who are working for a company that is working for state or gov’t, get the top paying wage.

    For example, back in the early 90’s I went and received my AHERA certification. This allowed me to work with asbestos and hazzardous materials removal. My pay was $13.00 an hour. However if I was sent to work at Lowry Air Force Base here just east of downtown Denver, I was paid $18.75 an hour, because Lowry cleanup was a gov’t project. Now, if you remove 1 billion from D-B Act, tradesmen and women who would be working on state or gov’t projects, will make less money. How do the RW think they will boost the economy, by cutting the wage or health benefits to these workers?

    I get really lost at this point, and maybe even a bit pissed off as well. Because, we have had very little say for way too long. We the working class have no face. Just ankles and hands to hold onto them as we again take it the wrong way.

    Sue Please understand I agree with you and you point out some really Great Truth here with this article. I just feel our coffins have been nailed shut before we have even been able to find if it fits, if it’s comfortable and lastly built while our shaddows still haunt this earth… And probably not even built in this country….. 🙁

    • SueInCa says:

      I appreciate that you spent the time to provide your thoughts. And that is the point here, I know we are all frustrated so I decided to open up the floor for conversation. I, too, feel very frustrated at times and hopeless that things will ever change.

      I don’t know if you have done this yet, but you probably have. Farmer’s Markets and Craft shows. There are so many around the country and I am sure your art would sell well. You could also approach companies and talk about consignment. I make jewelry and motly sell by word of mouth. I am known to do customer specified pieces. There is also a co-op in a neighboring town I might join. They all donate time to the co-op and in exchange they can display their art for sale. Of course they have to pay the overhead first, but it does work.

      See, in the end I still think we have hope.

      • KB723 says:

        Sue I totally agree with everything you said… I have been thinking of craft shows Farmer’s Markets etc. I have also been looking into VFW, Eagles Clubs etc. as well… The cool thing is that I can go to these locations and show what I have done and what I can create… This whole idea, is that what I have made is unique because it is all custom made, by hand, by me… So I take a lot of pride in each piece I produce. Word of mouth is excellent advertising… I once worked in a dental lab, making gold crowns and moved into porcelain. I made a wicked earring that I will have to post a pic of… I want a duplicate but it needs to be totally the opposite, so I can wear it in the other ear… I need to get some sticky wax and build me another one. That’s how I made the one I have.

        I believe we still have Much hope, but I also feel that it was told and as far as I know, small business lending is nowhere it was promised to be. The RW always talk the talk, but knocks down any Walk, if that makes sense…

  14. JackRusselTerrier says:

    Excellent article. Facts and inspiration create action.

  15. ghostrider says:

    Very well said.

    It is amazing to me that the Government’s answers for dealing with the debt is to continue to reduce the money coming in by providing tax breaks to people and corporations that don’t need it. Then cut social programs, education and health care while increasing Military spending and corporate subsidies.

    Meanwhile, the number of unemployed/underemployed is increasing, despite what they tell us about the numbers. Homeless numbers are increasing, foreclosures are rampant and the people who are considered living at the poverty level is increasing.

    Our education system is becoming a joke and the worse thing to happen to secondary education was for profit institutions.

    I am at a loss as to what I can do about this situation. I make sure I vote in all elections to try to keep the ones that continue to gut this country out of office, but continue to see people vote against their best interest. I am about 11 to 12 years away from retiring, depending on long I plan to work, and I am seriously considering finding another country to retire in.

    • SueInCa says:

      We contemplated moving to Costa Rica or Roatan but our grandson is here and he is still pretty young, too young to take a plane by himself to a foreign country. Perhaps someday.

      I hear wht you are saying. We vote and see people voting against their own best interest. I think it is partly because they still honestly believe any day now, the golden goose will swoop down and make them just like their corporate heros.

      I read The People’s History of the US by Howard Zinn, it is not going to happen. The have nots have struggled all through our history.

  16. Chernynkaya says:

    Sue, this is such an important post! And for once I can read something about our deficits--and I don’t just mean monetary deficits--without getting angry. Because you are correct, we are becoming an empire in its twilight, but our debt is only part of the story, as you articulated.

    Years and years ago, I read something about the history of Spain. They went from a world power to irrelevance, and the deciding factor was that they stopped making things, stopped producing and became solely consumers. Their military adventures contributed to. Sounds familiar.

    But there is more at play here, I suspect. It’s almost as if the very concept of nationhood is over. Nativism, yes, but not a sense Made in America. There are no Fortune 500 companies which can be called purely American--they are multinationals, and have no sense of place, patriotism or community. US Steel did. The only completely “American” companies are Ag companies--because the land they grow on just happens to be here--but they are not stewards of it.

    Oh, I have so many thoughts, but feel overwhelmed. Let me just add that the other part of the debt debate that sets my hair on fire is when they talk about “shared sacrifice.” Let me tell you-- I don’t want to sacrifice one cent as long as that 98% doesn’t. And it had better be proportional! Nobody better talk to me about cutting any entitlements until the rich are taxed at a MUCH higher percentage.

    I’ll have a bunch to say later, but thank you Sue for an outstanding piece!

    • SueInCa says:

      Britain, the same as Spain. The sun never set on the British Empire. I get angry too about the sacrifice part. And I am with you on that. My husband and I have plenty but it does not stop us from feeling the pain of others, as I know you do as well.

      One thing I do not understand is that Obama had such a high percentage following him and he let it slip away. How could he not know that people would back him against the corporate interest? He said it himself, all through the campaign. But campaign is the operative word here, without those corp dollars he cannot run an effective re-election campaign.

      I just wish someone would speak up louder.

  17. creole-girl says:

    Fantastic, thought provoking article!

    • SueInCa says:


      That is one of the best things about this site, we can all contribute. I find it very invigorating to try my hand at writing opinion pieces. Check out the archives, there are tons of good pieces.

  18. Abbyrose86 says:

    This is both to Sue and Adlib.

    You both provided excellent thought provoking commentary.

    I have way more to say on the subject, but I need to think it all through and come back tomorrow with what I would love to add and share on this topic.

    It’s late now and I’ve been here way too long today.

    Thank you both for your insightful thoughts.

  19. AdLib says:

    Fantastic and important article, Sue!

    The politicians know that the American Dream is already gone for most Americans right now. They see corporations dominating our democracy and society. Yet, if they want to get elected, they think it will sink their chances to be seen as making a Malaise Speech.

    Re-examining Carter’s Crisis of Confidence speech, I don’t see how anyone can come away from it now without being stunned at the honesty and frankness, to imagine a President or politician saying these things nowadays is very hard.

    If you haven’t watched this recently, you really need to:

    So much I want to quote from this but I will try to limit myself:

    Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy.

    …we are losing our confidence in the future, we are also beginning to close the door on our past.

    In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.

    Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.

    The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next 5 years will be worse than the past 5 years. Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.

    As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.

    These wounds are still very deep. They have never been healed.

    Looking for a way out of this crisis, our people have turned to the Federal Government and found it isolated from the mainstream of our Nation’s life. Washington, D.C., has become an island. The gap between our citizens and our Government has never been so wide. The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual.

    What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.

    Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. You don’t like, and neither do I. What can we do?

    First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course. We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this Nation. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this generation of Americans.

    So Carter asked us to come together, sacrifice as an act of patriotism and to preserve a better future for future generations.

    He lost re-election to Reagan whose motto was, “You don’t have to sacrifice anything, you’re Americans, you can have it all!”

    And the public, to their detriment, bought into that BS which has a lot to do with where we are today and what has happened to our economy and standard of living.

    These Reagan lies were intended to ultimately benefit the wealthy at the expense of the other 99% of Americans. “Trickle down economics” remains the GOP mantra and economic philosophy, despite its abject failure. In fact, that was the excuse Repubs just gave for why the tax cuts for the wealthy were good for America.

    We have one party in denial, the other party fearful to affirm the truth and a still somewhat deluded public that’s for the general idea of cutting spending but against most specific cuts.

    The public has to grow up. Being born on this particular patch of Earth doesn’t entitle you to have everything you want. 99% of Americans will not be millionaires, that is the way it has always been. Face reality America, what’s good for millionaires will never be good for 99% of us.

    The Greatest generation sacrificed for the freedom and democracy of next generations. The generations of the 60’s and 70’s sacrificed for the civil rights and freedoms of the next generations.

    How are most Americans sacrificing today for their children’s America? Or their grandchildren’s? Such a huge disconnect, parents bend over backwards to make sure their kids have the best education for their future but don’t you dare raise our taxes or ask us to sacrifice our expectations or lifestyle in order to give them a better future.

    There needs to be a true awakening to reality, to what it means to have an economy and democracy in the states they’re in and what it means to the futures of all Americans if the threats aren’t confronted and defeated.

    It would be great to have a very visible politician be brave enough to make this a campaign but I’m not holding my breath. I think it’s up to The People to get to that recognition on their own and create an environment where it is not dangerous for politicians to occupy such a position.

    It’s up to us. If we don’t make it happen then, to answer your question, I don’t have the greatest confidence that America can truly recover.

    • SueInCa says:

      I do remember that speech, in fact I posted it on HP not too long ago and someone posted it here. He was ahead of his time and drowned out by the louder voices saying, “take what you want, buy anything you need, trickle down will take care of you”. I just wish the right v. left thing was not so polarizing. If we could come together and take the best from both sides, we could make a huge difference.

      What you all did in Palm Springs was a good first step but in our “microwave” society if people do not see results right now, they tend to look at that other shiny object.

      • AdLib says:

        That is one of the public’s main issues, ADD. Accomplishing big things takes long term strategy and time, expectations of quick fixes, as those voting in Repubs last Nov. reflected, is wholly self-destructive.

        There are no quick and easy solutions to this massive problem that took decades to get into. At least the public should afford leadership the leeway to help get us out of trouble in the same amount of time it took to get in it.

      • jkkFL says:

        While I agree with both of you, it is possible that the shiny objects are disappearing, as well.
        The issue I see is there is no honesty- anywhere.
        The smoke and mirrors are working so well we are spending most of our time trying to get thru the subterfuge, so we don’t know where to start.
        We elect people who become unrecognizable the minute they enter the Beltway.
        We need a leader- not in DC, but a grassroots leader to act as Moses and lead us out of the wilderness. For many- it will come too late; for the rest- please echo our voices.

        • SueInCa says:

          That is an interesting propostion. I wonder if Jimmy Carter is available. He has nothing to lose now, he is free and if he really meant his “mailaise speech” he should be gung ho. Just a thought.

          I wonder how we incentivize a person like that? Who in the current scenario would you think? It is something I never really thought about but it is a great idea.

          • jkkFL says:

            I’m thinking we’d have a tough time prying Jimmy and Roselyn away from Habitat for Humanity! But, they are leaders in their chosen endeavor- can’t fault them for seeing that need.
            The only idea that keeps running thru the back of my head is to take a page from Egypt- social media..
            I don’t know if we can ‘find’ someone. As AdLib mentioned, we need an MLK or Gandhi- and they ‘found’ their mission- Or their mission ‘found’ them.
            Sometimes, the need finds the Leader..hopefully that will be the case.

            • jkkFL says:

              I found a link to Alan Grayson.
              Perhaps he will submit his thoughts.

            • SueInCa says:

              I wonder if Alan Grayson is free? I know he has money so could work for free. It would also test his committment. I think he could do so much more and have waaaayyyyy more impact than he would have in a congress that is paralyzed.

        • AdLib says:

          I agree completely.

          Because of the dynamics, we can’t look to politicians for this kind of hard-truth leadership.

          It would indeed make the most sense that someone rises up as a true populist leader from the grass roots (as opposed to the phony, corporate-financed astroturf Tea Party) and inspires the 99% to come together against their true adversaries in the battle we’re in over our democracy and economy.

          • SueInCa says:


            That is such a great idea. I don’t know why it did not occur to me. I mean the whole premise of my article was that DC is not motivated.

            • AdLib says:

              I was echoing jkkFL’s same proposition, it seems so intuitive that such a leader would have to rise from the grass roots, like an MLK or Gandhi, someone of genuine principle and with a charisma that can rally all kinds of people together.

              Such folks are rare but as things get worse and time passes, the likelihood of such a person breaking out would seem to become more likely.

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