Can Anybody Define the American Crisis?

August 13, 2012

People widely agree that the United States is in crisis but just as widely dispute its nature.  Perceived problems are depicted as matters of urgency, presenting a stark choice between ruin and renewed glory but only if this, that, and the other recommended change is adopted  immediately.  Problems are perceived so differently that solutions from one standpoint are exactly what not to do from the standpoint of a different calamity.  It’s very clear that a wide spectrum of society is going to feel more than normal dismay after November’s election.  Many will believe that the last chance for the survival of civilization has been missed.

This post is not meant to offer solutions or even to categorize elements of the “crisis” that tend to be grouped together.  Rather, it is to build a raw inventory of trends, developments and conditions that have been identified as flirtations with an apocalypse.

  • Creeping socialism.
  • Unemployment, particularly among the youth, and too much neglect of the long-term dimension of current joblessness.
  • Not enough clerical staff to administer required paperwork and effective customer service.
  • Crippling student debt.
  • Illegal immigration.
  • An overly expensive criminal justice system that jails too many people.
  • Too much power in the hands of people living inside Washington’s beltway.
  • Too much public debt.
  • Too much private debt.
  • A toxic legacy of racism.
  • Islamic terrorism and rogue nations that support terrorist causes.
  • A failed primary and secondary education system that is no longer cost effective or a world leader.
  • Political leaders funded by big money interests and more interested in promoting party gamesmanship than solving national problems.
  • Too much stress on state’s rights.
  • Insufficient delegation of decision-making to state and local government levels.
  • Excessive government spending and taxation.
  • Expensive foreign policies that disregard George Washington’s advice to avoid unnecessary entanglements in the affairs of other nations.
  • The lack of proper campaign financing reforms to protect democracy from big money corruption.
  • Insufficient reliance on market incentives to allocate factors of production and distribute final goods and services.
  • An economic system that rewards short-term profits and ignores the triple bottom line of planet, people, and long-term money profit.
  • A daunting tangle of government regulations that cripple the effort of start-up companies.
  • A health care system that woefully lacks cost effectiveness and is crowding out other activities.
  • Globalization and the exploitation of such in unfair trading practices against by many countries against whom America competes.
  • An ideological and unenlightened Supreme Court that seeks wisdom from all the wrong places.
  • Immoral, irreverent, and violent pop culture.
  • The fourth amendment.
  • The second amendment.
  • A new class of political leaders for whom denying the existence of global warming has become a test of party purity and acceptance.
  • The widest income disparities in decades.
  • Too many frivolous lawsuits.
  • Religious intolerance.
  • The creations of Silicon Valley.
  • A system for vetting party presidential candidates that leaves many voters disheartened about the trustworthiness of anybody seeking public service.

Obviously, this inventory is incomplete.  Please feel free to add to add other pet complaints to the list.

Copyright 2012, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.


One Response to “Can Anybody Define the American Crisis?”

  1. Yohay says:

    Quite a long and depressing list…
    I think that the biggest issue is military spending, and a significant reduction could boost the US economy. While there’s a vast majority of Americans who want to see big cuts in defense, this topic seems to be almost off the agenda.