A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

USA: 2.0

Nielsen’s ratings tell us “American Idol” is the most viewed show in the United States of America and that PBS shows like “Frontline” don’t make the Top 20. I wonder what percentage of “Idol” viewers find “Frontline” “boring?” So while a large number of Americans drool over the failings of talentless sonic hopefuls, our country is crumbling. I suppose that’s the point of escapist TV. Here’s some evidence of the sorry state of our republic and why we need a complete “national makeover.”

  • General Motors, once the world leader in automobile manufacturing, needs more of our tax dollars or they face bankruptcy.
  • Nouriel Roubini, one economist who predicted our current financial slam dance is now saying many of our major financial institutions are insolvent and the only way to save the system is to nationalize it.
  • Moving on to the means to our ends, in January, we lost some 24 soldiers in the Army to suicide. That’s more than we lost in combat.
  • Paying for some of this economic Mariana Trench, the economic stimulus bill to be signed by President Obama on Tuesday raises the national debt ceiling above Twelve Trillion Dollars.

The problem is “the ugly American” as perceived by many in the rest of the world. We’re ignorant from failed education, yet arrogant from chants of “USA!” and we’ve been trained by our financial puppet masters to expect instant and cheap gratification. The problem is the illusion of “cheap” has been created by governmental and personal deficit spending and any gratification worth experiencing isn’t instant.

  • GM is the victim of the business cycle. They’ve been making cars longer than foreign competitors, so their legacy costs (evolving union contracts, pensions, and the cost to finance them) saddle them with an uncompetitive financial burden. They’re going down, so let’s not strap any more tax dollars to their rusting hull.
  • Nationalize the major banks, then break them up and reprivatize them as smaller, more localized entities so there’s real competition. Since 1959, the percentage of American business profits grabbed by our financial institutions has increased from 14.96% to 33.36% in 2007. A good deal of their $10.5T profit over those years has gone to the personal wealth of the Gordon Gekko’s running them.
  • War cannot continue to be a major instrument of our foreign policy. It’s 2009 people. Our last justifiable military action was booting Hitler out of Europe. Since then our warring ways have built a shameful military-industrial complex that needs to be largely dismantled.
  • Ten and One Half-Trillion (and rising) of national debt combined with $2.596T of US consumer debt is proof that we cannot afford what we’ve been sold as the “American Way of Life.” Is it just coincidence the $10.5T debt ($10.2T accumulated since 1959) is nearly equal to the profits (and profit growth rate) of financial institutions over the same time period? Probably, but with labor costs shrinking as a percentage of non-financial industry costs, where has the borrowed money gone?

I contend most of it has gone into the pockets of the “financial masters of the universe” and that’s exactly where it should come from to pay it back.


  1. Anonymous

    What’s your escape? Seems you are always on…

  2. fifteenkey

    Dear Curious,

    Good question. I don’t think I have one at present unless it snows heavily. Then I plug in my earbuds, fire up the Snowblower and escape. I need to get back to a workour routine. That was escape.

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