2011-08-12 / Columnists

Commentary On Things Present

S&P Jukes USA
By Peter Stubben

Last Friday night the S&P Rating Agency shockingly and stunningly smacked down the Financial Capital of the World ... the United States of America.

America – for at least the last century – has gloriously led the world of finance and prosperity with equal measures of capitalism and democracy ... a dynamism that not just built the world’s greatest economic power, but stooped to the world’s lowliest villages to lead an unparalleled path of prosperity for all the world. From Rockaway’s gentle blue and green to the rolling thunder off Oahu’s North Shore, never in the history of the world have the people of one great nation been more prosperous.

From Thailand’s rice paddies to Chile’s temperate forests, never in 5,000 years of recorded history have the world’s peoples been more prosperous. Impossible you say ... well yes, except for the Goodness and Greatness of America.

At home, Americans worked hard and played hard. The nation was blessed with enormous natural resources, harnessed by unflagging and unflappable people power. They invested in the immediacy and sought rewards here-after. Abroad, they bargained their own precious blood for the liberty of others.

For the last 40 years though, President Jack Kennedy’s clarion call for independence, industriousness and ingeniousness has been rejected and rebuked. “Ask not what your country can do for you,” John Fitzgerald Kennedy implored on January 20, 1961, “Ask what you can do for your country.”

Too many Americans now ask Kennedy’s question incorrectly ... on the 17th Floor of the GE Building; on Gun Hill Road in the Bronx, on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, on Hallmark Way in Kansas City – from Rockaway Beach, Oregon to Rockaway, New Jersey to Rockaway Beach, New York City. And, reflecting this rebuke to Emerson’s ‘Self-Reliance,‘ the wrong question is asked way too often in City Chambers, in our State Legislature and on the steps of Capitol Hill.

Out of this forty-year sojourn into ‘What Can/Must the Government Do for Me?’ an unwieldy beast of government actions and services has been jerry rigged. The President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) just reported “duplication, overlap and fragmentation” throughout government. For instance, they found 15 different USDA agencies regulating ‘food safety’; 80 programs in USDA, Commerce, HUD and SBA underwriting economic development programs; 100 programs in DOT regulating surface transportation; USDA, EPA, Indian Health Services, Interior Department, HUD and the Army Corps of Engineers all regulating water needs across the US-Mexico border; EPA and Treasury wasting $5.7 billion per year on ethanol production; 24 different agencies collecting the same federal data; 17 different programs under FEMA providing grants; 18 programs in three agencies managing domestic food assistance programs; over 20 programs in three agencies working on homelessness; 80 programs in eight agencies duplicating transportation disadvantage programs; 44 programs in three agencies working on job training projects; 82 programs in 10 agencies working on teacher quality; 56 programs in 20 agencies working on financial literacy ... and the list goes on. Today’s priority becomes tomorrow’s federal agency.

The quagmire is not in Iraq and Afghanistan, dear Rockaway Readers ...it is on the Potomac! Notably, in that very same Inaugural 50 years ago, JFK also declared ... “... the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” “Let the word go forth ... that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”

“Let every nation know ... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

“The world is very, very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.”

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

“For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”

“All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” “... let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

To Re-ignite Growth and Prosperity, as Jack Kennedy might have said, two unflagging and unflappable hard-workin’ locals seek to turn the tide. Will the tide turn? Well ... it does every six hours on Rockaway’s beach, so why not in Rockaway’s heart.

Will you, dear reader, turn the tide? Bob Turner – a cable TV exec and Entertainment Industry businessman – built his own business, managed his own budgets, hired and fired his own people, set and executed his own business plans, and has been a lifelong resident of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and now Breezy. Will you send him to DC on Tuesday, September 13? Jane Deacy – a pioneer, as one of the first female NYC Police Officers – served the city in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and was tested every day on the job. Will you send her to Albany on Tuesday, September 13? Their lived-lives are testament to the assertions of Jack Kennedy, and both need your support.

The progressives ask us to place our Faith in Government; the Bible asks us to place our Faith in God; and the Founders asked us to place our Faith in ourselves and our neighbors, our fellow Americans. Despite the unthinkable downgrade of last Friday – and all its nasty implications and repercussions across the globe – I have great faith in my neighbors.

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