Politics: 27 January 2011

Maybe Not a Person There

I’m a little late on getting to this, but it’s been on my mind since I saw it in real time. During the State of the Union Address, President Obama said, “I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on earth.” Oh yeah! That’s because everyone in that room was rich and had health insurance. As I’ve said before, I’m grateful to have been born in the United States—most of the world is much worse. But that doesn’t mean that the United States is the best nation on earth. If you are at the top of the economic/power ladder, there is no better nation than the United States. If you are not, there is.

I have a quotation from Roger D. Hodge’s excellent The Mendacity of Hope that encapsulates the problem in the United States:

TARP participants were asked to fill out a simple two-page form, several orders of magnitude less complex and less onerous than an application for unemployment insurance or food stamps.

And that about sums up the United States of America. If you are at the bottom and you need a couple hundred dollars for food, the government will treat you like a common criminal. If you are at the top and you need a couple hundred billion dollars, the government will treat you like the leader of the Allied Forces in World War II who happens to have fallen on hard times. It might be that poor guy’s own fault that he’s hungry, but he isn’t making anyone else hungry. Those who took billions of dollars from TARP not only made themselves hungry—they made millions of others hungry. And for doing so, they were generously rewarded.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Politics: 27 January 2011

  1. Frank,

    I enjoy your writings. What I see has really changed in America is that politicians have come out of the closet, financially speaking.

    Where as politicians used to at least go through the motions in disavowing any favoritism for the rich, or corporate America, they now boldly do so….it’s pathetic.

    The most frightening aspect are the decisions now being made by the far right supreme court. If there’s any hope for America, it could the appointments Obama might make in his tenure.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for stopping by. I agree with everything you say, except maybe about the Supreme Court. I think people over-estimate just how liberal Obama is. But a centrist court would be better than what we have now. What bothers me most are Alito and Roberts, because they are young and fit. Thomas is young, but not in the best shape. Scalia is pretty old and quite over-weight. Kennedy is the oldest, but he seems to be doing well. I don’t wish death on anyone, but I do believe that the deaths of Alito, Thomas, and Scalia while a Democrat was president would be a very good thing for this country. (I also think that Roberts is very bad, but not quite so much as the other three; and Kennedy is sometimes downright reasonable.)

    Money and a fourth estate that doesn’t do its job are ruining this country. "The Mendacity of Hope" is well worth reading. It is a fierce liberal attack on Obama, but more generally, it is an attack on our system of government. Neither I nor Hodge think that Obama would have debased his principals if he hadn’t needed $15 billion to run for the senate. The problem is the system, as you correctly point out.

  3. I can’t help but notice that the conservatives on the court are generally younger than the moderates (there are no liberals on the court). Could this have something to do with Democrats nominating qualified justices and Republicans just nominating ideologues?

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