2010-02-05 / Columnists

The Progressive

Angry
Commentary By John Paul Culotta
Most Americans are confused, worried, perplexed, and angry about the state of our political, economic, and social prospects. This nation is fighting wars in foreign lands and nervous about the prospect of terrorism in our own cities. Technological threats are also a worry. Many fear the deficit. Others have other concerns – how to maintain a family with a reasonably secure and comfortable lifestyle in such troubled economic times. Many fear their children and grandchildren will be less prosperous than they have been. This has resulted in an angry populist reactionary movement fueled by Murdoch’s media empire.

All Americans have a right to be angry. The average American has seen his standard of living become difficult to maintain while a select elite, who have played havoc with the financial institutions that fuel our economy, gain unimaginable riches. Fraud, deception, and a lack of regulation for a few decades have made most Americans less secure.

Financing war by borrowing from foreign countries – countries that do not share our values regarding human rights and dignity – has resulted in a deficit that appears horrifying. At the same time, other nations are strengthening their infrastructure and transportation systems. Our social safety net is unraveling as states and cities cannot meet the demands for services. Too many Americans do not have adequate or affordable health care insurance.

Our friends at Fox news think the remedy for our ills is to protest any progressive solution to our needs or fears. They fear for our nation – claiming it is becoming socialistic. What actual evidence of this is there? No major industry is being micromanaged by the government.

The proposals for health care reform do not eliminate private insurance companies from having a major role.

There are no major job creation proposals that are simply government created employment.

All Americans know this nation faces serious challenges. Most of our problems are and were caused by disastrous and simpleminded policies of previous administrations – both Democrat and Republican – and a people that believed that living with high personal debt would allow them the pleasures of a home and middle class life.

What this nation needs to realize is that what the American people need is employment that guarantees enough money to live without incurring unreasonable debt.

No party is developing a policy that will ensure this. Americans need to channel their anger into a new labor union organizing campaign and stop claiming to be modern day tea party protesters.

Clamoring for less taxes will not resolve all our social and economic needs. All of us understand that sometimes we need community resolve and government intervention. I do not know of anyone who wants alternative or private industry police and fire departments.

Why is there such an opinion that governments can only cause harm. For generations of New Yorkers our public schools have been the vehicle of entry to a better life.

Most of us feel these public schools have not been as efficient as in the past. At the same time using public funds for charter schools that may be crony ridden and antiunion and sometimes a source of excessive enrichment for the operators appears not to genuinely address the problem of making our public schools better. In Philadelphia public funded charter school operators have been indicted for fraud. Privatizing public schools is not a panacea.

Angry Americans must understand that simple solutions are not the answer to our woes. All segments of society – private, public, and faith based – have a role and we are all part of the solution.

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