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Dysfunctional, Divisive, Inept; A Government Incapable of Governing

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I keep hearing comments such as: "We need to create jobs", "The U.S. needs a coherent national energy policy", "We should rebuild our infrastructure" or "We must have effective financial regulations to prevent another bailout." Yes, we should do this and we should do that but nothing of real substance is happening in America because our government is caught up in a massive gridlock and has become completely dysfunctional; incapable of rising up to confront and solve our most critical problems. This is a government of coulda, shoulda, woulda.

What we really should do and need do is to have our government join with the business sector to institute the biggest jobs creation program in modern history; one that would rival or exceed that of the New Deal under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He entered office in 1933 under extremely dire circumstances when the nation was still hemorrhaging from the Great Depression. FDR wasted no time to rally both the Congress and the American people to support him as he attacked the nation's problems; and how he attacked them!

Between 1933 and 1936 the nation witnessed the creation of some 25 major job initiatives and associated legislation that addressed America's critical social and economic problems. Compare that to our non-existent programs of today. Among those programs were: the WPA (Works Progress Administration), the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the TVA (The Tennessee Valley Authority), and the HOLC (Homeowners Loan Corporation). These programs were responses to the Great Depression and were referred to at the time as the "3R's"; Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.

Legislation included the Glass-Steagall Act that very effectively regulated investment banking until President Clinton agreed to repeal it in 1999. Best of all was the enacting of the SSA (Social Security Act), one of the most successful government programs ever. These programs of the New Deal represented one of the greatest governmental achievements in this nation's history. They could be and should be a perfect model to use to combat the deep jobs crisis we face today but they aren't.

Why is it that political pundits continue to insist that government cannot create jobs? If FDR did it with so much success then it can be done once again; but in America today it can only be accomplished by a government/business sector coalition. If these two powerful forces in America could somehow address our jobs crisis in a coordinated, positive manner, then great things could happen.

It would be correct to point out that Roosevelt had a Democratic Congress that supported him in his efforts to restore stability to the nation. But let's not forget that President Obama had a democratically controlled Congress from his election in 2008 to the congressional elections of 2010 when the GOP took over control of the House. That was the perfect time to use the Democratic power of the Congress to create and develop a very aggressive, innovative jobs program to attack the growing unemployment problem; it didn't happen as the number #1 priority went to health care reform instead.

Speaking of great achievements, many Americans still remember that exciting time in America's history when, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced   the creation of NASA's Apollo Program, the spaceflight effort to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. That program, initiated by JFK to counter Russia's threat to dominate space, greatly inspired and motivated Americans to strongly support that exciting new program to take humans to the moon and beyond,

Thereafter, when President Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency upon the tragic death of JFK, he used his persuasive powers in Congress and with Americans to launch the Great Society during 1964-1965; it spawned the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation designed to eliminate poverty and racial justice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period. And, a major achievement was the enactment of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 1965. These programs resembled and rivaled the New Deal in their scope and importance to America.

From that time, when the U.S. landed a man on the moon in 1969, to this day over 40 years later, I can think of no other great achievement made by our government that can compare with those I've mentioned. That is simply astounding and it shows that visionary thinking in our government has vanished. We seem to have evolved from a nation that was very proactive and creative to one that is stuck in a reactionary mode, one that it just can't shed.

A big reason for our apparent national malaise and failure to think big is that, over the decades, America has become mired down in a long succession of wars and military actions that have sapped its energies and its wealth. Also, politics in America have become much more divisive, confrontational and fraught with obstructionist tactics. Corporate America has exercised its immense power and influence to control the Congress to the extent that bold thinking and actions leading to innovative job creation have become non-existent.

America has seen its manufacturing sector go from being a world leader in decades past to one that has severely declined as U.S. corporations concluded that cheap overseas labor would greatly maximize their profits. Well, this nation and its people should not spend time crying and whining; they must accept the reality of "out with the old and in with the new" and help this nation turn into a completely new direction by strongly supporting a new manufacturing sector; that is, if our president and the government ever accept this important responsibility.

This president and the government have a brilliant opportunity to develop the most important far- reaching jobs creation program in the history of America. The need for a new industrial sector could not be more evident. America today is beginning to experience significant energy problems that threaten our future economic stability as petroleum becomes more and more scarce and much more expensive.

The new sector would be largely based upon developing alternate sources of energy and what is commonly called the "green economy." it's time to act now to develop all those alternative forms of energy so often discussed: solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, hydrogen, and others yet to be discovered. Developing this new manufacturing sector could kill two birds with one stone; it would jumpstart our efforts to replace petroleum as our primary energy source and, at the same time, create millions of sorely needed new jobs. We must not wait until a catastrophe is upon us; why in the world we are not doing this right now is beyond belief.

In pursuing this massive jobs creation program, let's call it America's Job Revolution, there is a great danger that once it gets underway and becomes very successful, we could see U.S. corporations once again get rid of American workers and transfer the labor to overseas nations. That cannot be allowed to happen ever again. As has been suggested numerous times, all Congress needs to do is   set up a taxing system for corporations that would give generous incentives to those who did not move labor overseas and give very painful tax penalties to those who did; plus creation of appropriate tariffs on imported products. It is high time that such legislation be enacted.                                                                                                            

Here's what it will take to get this extremely ambitious set of programs started; all of the necessary resources are now available in America today:

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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This Congress is a perfect example of why America ... by michael payne on Sunday, Jul 17, 2011 at 3:51:07 PM
How should a government create new jobs? By taking... by David Chester on Monday, Jul 18, 2011 at 9:34:29 AM
If you've read any number of my articles I never a... by michael payne on Monday, Jul 18, 2011 at 10:09:06 AM
Well thank you for not opposing my alternative way... by David Chester on Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011 at 4:34:40 AM
As mankind uses fossil fuels to power civilization... by Philip Pease on Monday, Jul 18, 2011 at 11:26:12 AM