Throughout the history of civilization and governance of law, mankind has evolved on a continued path toward empathy and a standard of living beyond our basic physical needs. We have shifted from preying on the weak and helpless to supporting them collectively. We have shifted from mob rule to a system of blind justice, or at least in theory. Although we have come so far, we have not finished the journey. There are many aspects where we can see that we have strayed from our goals and many other aspects where we can plainly see failure.
Our prisons are over filled with people who will statistically never have much of a chance to return to society. Our sentences are not handed out fairly, with people of color and minority groups receiving harder sentences than their Caucasian counterparts. Our prisons are ran for profit by people who use that profit to encourage stricter laws and longer sentences, ensuring the money doesn’t stop flowing. But what about the families that are being broken? What about the children forced to grow up without the influence of both parents? What about the single parents working two jobs and still unable to make ends meet or be there for their children? Why are prisons being ran for profit? And why do our political leaders continue to reinforce this terrible cycle? Prisons need to focus on the end goal of returning prisoners to society. We need to rehabilitate these men and women and change the culture inside the prisons and outside. Get rid of private prisons. Get prison money out of politics and remember that these are “correctional facilities” and not a place to hide all the scary minorities.
Our education system is a massive failure. Our global standing on education is severely lacking compared to the rest of the civilized world. Schools are forced to choose between ignoring infrastructure improvements and ignoring purchasing new and updated learning materials. Teachers are forced to buy materials or ask parents to purchase them. Teachers should be able to focus on our children and their education, not funding their own classrooms. Our education system was designed as a factory model based on the ready availability of female college graduates, who at the time had little career options. What our school system has failed to do, unlike many other nations that are improving their education system, is learn how to invest and grow our teachers. We treat them like another cog wheel in the education machine, but we didn’t notice that this specific cog wheel cranks the entire machine. Nations like Singapore, South Korea, and Canada are years ahead of our American counterparts. Yet they spend significantly less on education. However they spend more on the teachers. Just 50 years ago the majority of Singapore’s population couldn’t read or write. Now they lead the world in education with a fraction of the spending. However they put a focus on personalized teaching and ensure a healthy teacher to student ratio. Remember how I mentioned that we relied on those female college graduates? Now that women’s rights have allowed them almost the same career options as men, that pool is gone. We are running out of teachers as we continue to underpay them and overload them with additional students and budgetary responsibilities.
Our nation has broken roads, crumbling bridges, dams that are falling apart, and one of the worst public transport systems in the civilized world. We can’t even afford the infrastructure we have, yet we continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on our military, year after year. This isn’t even including the black budget for programs that the government doesn’t want made public(also billions and billions). We spend equivalent to the next seven nations combined. “Peace through Strength” is a common mantra to hear from our leaders. Yet this spending has more dubious origins. In the early 20th century the world was a mess. Hundreds of millions dead in two world wars, pandemics, economic collapse, etc. After World War 2 most nations were either in ruins or busy with repairs. The United States and the Soviet Union were there to try and put the world back together. However, at the time, Democratic Capitalism wasn’t in favor with the world. Many people blamed how bad the world was on this system of economics and governance. Our Government feared losing this favor and devised a way to ensure that our way of life would be preserved. We made the Soviets out to be our enemies. We painted them as a threat to America and her interests. We witnessed the socialist movements in allies like Britain and France and we saw the Soviet Union rebuilding Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean nations. Even though our GDP was over three times as large as the decimated Soviets we turned them into a monster. We started turning Americans against other nations and themselves as the Government led us into the Red scare. Thrust into action by paranoia, we started growing our military at an extreme rate. By keeping high levels of military production we were able to stimulate our economy and push back on the expansion of communism. This pushing back involved many different aspects. Creating new allies and helping to rebuild is one of the positive aspects. Using smaller, poorer, nations to fight proxy wars with the soviets instead of doing it ourselves in order to boost public appearances is, however, less positive. Since the end of World War 2, many American historians refer to the period as the “long peace” because of the lack of official wars. This is another lie. Since world war 2 we have had several major military operations in other nations such as:
We have also used our global influence to destabilize nations and regimes, often times by supporting fascists, drug lords, and organizations now classified as terrorist organizations. Sometimes we were able to justify those interventions with humanitarian reasons, but many were simply because they had something we wanted or we disagreed with their ideals. We could save hundreds of billions of dollars every year and still out spend the next three nations and actually chip away at our debt AND invest in our infrastructure instead of destroying infrastructure in someone else’s home for profit.
Our current tax system is a joke. Corporate interests and big money have created so many loopholes and work-arounds that these big concentrations of wealth aren’t paying their fair share. Amazon just had an amazing $11 billion in profits for the 2018 year. They paid $0 in taxes and received a $129 million dollar tax rebate. This isn’t the only company that didn’t pay taxes. Delta Air-lines, Chevron, General Motors, EOG, and Duke Resources all made billions in profits without paying taxes and instead received a rebate worth millions. Also, according to Business Insider, American billionaires paid less in taxes than the working class. The average American paid out around 28% of their income in taxes while billionaires averaged over 5% lower. Combine these loopholes with the fact that the IRS has steadily been defunded. In 2018 they were running with staffing that was the lowest it had been since 1953. Since 2010 there has been a 42% drop in auditing and the IRS was essentially forced to slash basic functions such has investigating people who don’t bother filing their tax returns. Who benefits from this? For the average American, the IRS interactions we have are mostly automated. However the Corporations and wealthy are the biggest beneficiaries of the IRS’ decay. Oddly enough however, under pressure from Republicans, the IRS spends 36% of its audits on the poorest margin of the nation, specifically those that qualify for the earned income tax credit. These are people with incomes typically under $20,000 annually. In fact, these audits are just as frequent as audits for people making $500,000 to $1 million annually. Is this a good use of the IRS’ expertise and authority as our national debt piles higher than Mount Everest?
Our nation was founded with the idea of checks and balances. An elected legislature or executive or judiciary can be just as abusive as a tyrant without such a system. This needs to be revamped. All three branches need direct report watchdogs that hold the other branches accountable. No longer should Presidents be able to dismiss Inspector Generals when they start looking into corruption. No longer should partisan bias hold up important legislation or block functions. No more should the House or Senate choose to bypass the Constitution or the will of the People for which they serve. We also need to implement term limits for our Congress members. Too often do these individuals spend decades in office devoting most of their time and energy fundraising for personal and professional benefit at the expense of the people. They are here to serve us and make laws for us, not the oil companies or other interest groups. We also need to ensure that we are bringing in experts and top minds for our leadership positions. There should be no reason the President fills his advisors with family, friends, and lobbyists. We should have actual advisors. Doctors, scientists, Military brass, lawyers, etc. These people spend years learning their trades and are factual experts in their field. A millionaire who has been CEO of six companies that pop up and disappear as quickly are not who we need creating and enforcing policy unless you want more of the same. It will not be politicians that solve our problems for us and many of those problems were created by politicians. It will be the workers. The experts that put boots to ground and did the work to earn a truly deepened knowledge. For the people BY the people.
This is just the beginning. These are just the first of many ways that we can turn this nation around and continue on our path toward a peaceful and efficient society as visualized by our forefathers and not the money scheme three ring circus that has now become normal in our lives. We the people need to vote in mass. We need to vote third party to get dirty money out the pockets of our elected officials. Once we have people in place who are not being bribed by the very vultures that are destroying the planet for our children we can enact REAL policy. Policy that returns the power to the people and kicks the greedy and corrupt out of office FOREVER.
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”