By Steve McCann – – – –
There is an unquestioned disconnect between the vast majority of the American people and the so-called elites or ruling class. Whenever I am in the company of those that are members of this exclusive fraternity, and when the conversation inevitably turns to the subject of the irascible mood of the electorate, I offer what I consider to be a valid theory as to one of the primary reasons why. That is: a plurality of the populace, myself included, firmly believe the United States is approaching the point of no return to its founding as a nation of individual freedom and opportunity, and that the 2016 election is the most significant in 150 years insofar as determining the long term fate of the country.
More often than not these acquaintances react as if Chicken Little had just escaped the asylum and was running amok claiming the sky is falling. However, in an effort to be kind to the loon in their midst, I have been told, as a figurative pat on the head, because of my personal background as displaced war orphan from World War II that I am hypersensitive and what is going on in America really isn’t as bad as I claim.
Not as bad as I claim?
Not since the presidential election of 1932 has the American electorate been so mired in discontent. Despite the best efforts of the media to portray this discontentment as limited to the Republican base, a variety of polls have confirmed a vast majority of the populace shares this same sense of disgruntlement. Innumerable polls taken over the past seven years are consistent in showing nearly 7 in 10 Americans believing the nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Further, nearly 60% think that the next generation will be worse off than they are. And few have any faith that the economic outlook for the country will improve in the near or distant future.
Beginning in the late 1980’s, the cognoscenti declared that expansive government spending, globalization and free trade, combined with a comprehensive and overarching regulatory regime determined to root out so-called corruption and inequality as well as save the planet from the over blown evils of global warming, would be the course the nation should pursue. The result of this foolhardy and myopic scheme:
- In 1988 the national debt of the United States stood at $2.6 Trillion, today it is over $19.0 Trillion– an increase of 635% (and projected to reach $29.0 Trillion by 2026). On the other hand the debt of all the nations on earth has grown by only 135% since 1988.
- Since November of 2008 the working age population has increased by over 18 million. However, the number of those employed has increased just 5.5 million. Meanwhile those unemployed or no longer in the work force has ballooned by 12.4 million to a staggering total of 102 million or 40.4% of the working age population.
- Another factor impacting on the economic health of the American people is immigration. In 1988 there were 16 million immigrants (including less than a million illegal aliens) living in the United States. Today that number has skyrocketed to 42.4 million (including an estimated 12 million illegal aliens). This enormous increase (165%) in the immigrant population has not only put pressure on a stagnant job market but it has also been a major factor in the decline of median income in the country.
- The upshot of all the above is that since 1988 the income of the top 5% has risen 39.3% (adjusted for inflation) and the income of the bottom 50% has fallen by 1.9%.
- Since 2008 the Obama cabal has added over 18,000 pages to the Code of Federal Regulations. It is estimated that complying with federal regulations costs the economy nearly $2 Trillion per year and is, along with taxes and innumerable mandates, one of the principle reasons for the lack of new business start-ups and loss of jobs to other countries.
One of the primary hallmarks of the United States had been that of a classless society wherein economic factors allowed the citizenry to take advantage of the marketplace in order to move up or down based on their efforts and willingness to work. However, this scenario is disappearing as the opportunities for upward mobility cease to exist. In its place a class driven society, similar to all other quasi-socialist nations past and present, is now becoming inevitable as even the Bureau of Labor Statistics admits that the level of Americans working and in the labor force will continue to decrease over the next 8 years.
Another of the primary factors in the decline of the United States is that the nation’s elites, rather than view education as the means for the people to attain success in a competitive world, have recast it into a vehicle for their pet theories and political views. Whether it is the promulgation of faux self-esteem, the obsession with the so-called evils of capitalism and the nation’s past, and the theoretical joys of socialism among other inane curricula, the education establishment has assured that the American people are rapidly becoming among the least well-educated populations in the world.
In 2013 American 15 year olds ranked 32nd among industrialized countries in math, 20th in reading and 24th in science. In 1988 this same age group ranked among the top 5-10 nations in the world in these same categories. Further, recent polls have indicated that as a byproduct of the radicalized education establishment, nearly 7 out of 10 between the ages of 18 and 29 would vote for an avowed socialist. Thus it is clear that the future of the country is on very shaky ground.
As for the issue of freedom: in a recent analysis it was determined that the United States now ranks 12th among the nations of the world in economic freedom (6th in 2008) but a dismal 31st in personal freedom (17th in 2008). The authors of the study commented:
The decline reflects the long-term drop in every category of economic freedom and its rule of law indicators. The US performance is worrisome and shows that the US can no longer claim to be the leading bastion of liberty in the world. In addition to the expansion of the regulatory state and drop in economic freedom, the war on terror, the war on drugs and the erosion of property rights due to a greater use of eminent domain all likely contributed to the US decline.
Using the cudgel of the mainstream media, the entertainment complex and the education establishment, the Left and its surrogate, the Democratic Party, have successfully inculcated into a plurality of the American people a belief that there are no moral absolutes and that the state can grant any rights that it so chooses to whomever it chooses. Further, the nation’s founding documents are arcane, racially insensitive, and unsuitable for today. Thus religious liberty, property rights and freedom of speech are under aggressive assault. The Judiciary is now almost under the complete control of these same statists, and with the death of Justice Scalia the last line of defense, the Supreme Court, is in peril.
The vast majority of the American people sense that the future of the nation and that of their progeny is in serious jeopardy. However, one of the most troubling aspects of the current unease and angst among the general public is what this portends: when anger and frustration evolve into deep seated passion, reason is too often a casualty. As Thomas Sowell recently wrote:
Too many nations, in desperate times, especially after the authorities have discredited themselves and forfeited the trust of the people, have turned to some new and charismatic leader, who ended up turning a dire situation into an utter catastrophe,
This has been true throughout history whether in England in the 1650’s, France in the 1790’s, or Russia, Italy and Germany in the 20th century.
In the current campaign for the next president, there are candidates attempting to tap into the ire of the citizenry by either promising that a purer form of socialism will magically solve the problems or by claiming that they, by sheer force of their will and personality, will part the seas and save the nation. Unfortunately, due to the ill-education of the populace as well as their angst, far too many seeds of this demagoguery are falling on fertile ground. The election of any of these candidates will only exacerbate and make permanent the nations woes.
So to my ruling class friends safely ensconced in Washington, New York and other enclaves among the like-minded and wealthy, this nation is at the point of no return to the country of freedom and opportunity that allowed you to be where you are. The folks in fly-over country know it and so should you.