What is becoming a very significant issue in this presidential primary is the state, or condition, of this country's government and political system that is not aligned with the needs and interests of the American people.
Donald Trump proclaims that if elected he would make America great "again." He is clearly indicating that he doesn't consider America to be great but that, by his leadership, he can restore that distinction. Bernie Sanders doesn't specifically talk about greatness one way or the other but concentrates on emphasizing that we have a failed government and that we Americans must rise up and take an active part in a political revolution if we are to reverse this condition.
Trump seems to think that he possesses the personal power to turn this country in the right direction. Sanders, on the other hand, has a vision for taking America in a new direction but he strongly believes can only be accomplished through a peaceful political revolution which is driven by Americans who will stand together to demand change and refuse to take no for an answer.
What then is the primary objective of this political revolution? It's simply this: a revolution in which the first and most critical task would be to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in order to remove Corporate America's control over this government and the political process. And the only way to do that is to elect a president who will subsequently appoint new Supreme Court Justices who will vote to reverse that decision.
If that is accomplished the money, power and suffocating influence of Corporate America will be removed from this Congress and our elections. Corporations must be completely banned from interfering in governmental affairs. Then, over time, when this Congress has been thoroughly cleansed of this political contaminant and new, more ethical, rational-minded individuals fill its chambers, that will open the door to address more badly needed government reforms.
Talking about greatness is one thing but earning that distinction is clearly another. To achieve it a newly constituted government would have to shelve a host of its former policies and actions and start anew; this time listening to the people and to their needs and wants and the direction that they want to see this country take. Here are some thoughts on how America can achieve this greatness; about what a great country and government would do and what it would refrain from doing:
The safety and security of the American people must be the #1 priority of this government. We should continue to maintain a very strong military together with appropriate alliances with other nations. What we don't need is a massive, extremely costly network of military bases all across the world and a Pentagon that has aggressively initiated actions to invade and occupy other sovereign nations which posed no direct, immediate threat to the U.S. That totally misguided foreign policy agenda must come to an end.
Instead, America should once again play a constructive, leading role in world affairs, not by aggressively using its military power but by creating strong coalitions with other major countries to prevent rogue governments such as North Korea from threatening other nations. But while that would be a tremendous step forward for the future we won't see that happen unless this political revolution proves to be successful.
Let's talk about the setting of priorities in U.S. foreign policy relative to potential enemies. It's astounding how reckless, misguided politicians continue to condemn Iran and even suggest that the U.S. consider launching a pre-emptive attack on that country which doesn't have a current nuclear capability, has just signed an agreement to prevent that possibility, and is not threating to attack the U.S. And then they watch as North Korea, which has a nuclear arsenal, is developing a missile delivery system, and has, on numerous occasions, threatened to attack America; and they do absolutely nothing.
Now we turn to jobs. How can a country aspire to greatness when the creation of jobs for American workers is not even one of its top priorities? The leaders of this government and the Congress must somehow grasp the fact that a strong manufacturing sector with a skilled, well paid workforce is the key to increasing consumer purchasing power which, in turn, fuels and grows the economy. What we need is for this government and the business sector to work together to make America more competitive in the world, and to strengthen this country and its middle class.
Major U.S. corporations justify their practice of outsourcing American jobs to cheap foreign labor because they say that they can't be competitive as long as they are weighed down by a corporate tax rate of 35%, the highest in the world. Well if we had excellence in government that problem could easily be addressed and alleviated.
A competent Congress would take the necessary steps to reform the corporate tax code, lower corporate taxes, close existing loopholes, establish appropriate tariffs on imported goods and services, and place strict controls on corporate use of tax havens and the practice of tax inversions. This would make corporations more competitive in the world and make certain that they pay their fair share of taxes. Unfortunately this is not a competent Congress.
Further, relative to the issue of job creation; if we had competent and visionary leaders and members of this government they would identify areas of significant potential to move this nation forward. We constantly hear that our national infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating. That may be a problematic condition but it actually represents a tremendous opportunity for creating millions of new, good paying jobs. This Congress knows that and does nothing.
Speaking of new opportunities we could also greatly reduce our dependence on petroleum if this government would lead the efforts to develop new forms of energy, in particular, solar power which would also create millions of permanent jobs for our workers. Yes we could do these things that would contribute to making America a great nation if we had excellence in government.
In a new, different America with a functional government Wall Street and its Banksters would no longer be allowed to bend and twist government regulations. Sanders and others have vowed to break up these too-big-to-fail banks. They would be restricted to lending money and banned from highly speculative practices such as dealing in toxic derivatives. This would help to prevent massive future bank bailouts using taxpayer dollars. One day, and soon, we must have this government prosecute and send devious, scheming CEOs to prison instead of just levying heavy fines on the banks.
We will never be able to call America a truly great nation as long as we tolerate the massive inequality of wealth and income that is now present. It's as if there is a pipeline that transports all newly generated income directly to the top of the income spectrum. What kind of a country has over 10 million millionaires and 536 billionaires and, at the same time, has 47 million Americans on food stamps and an equal number living below the poverty line? That's anything but greatness; that's a national disgrace.
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