Monday, September 29, 2014

What Does, or Should it Mean to Be an American?...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

With the national debt presently at $152,155 per taxpayer, and the unfunded liabilities at $996, 668 per taxpayer (source), I is only a matter of time before the soaring symbol of American military and economic preeminence, the American Bald Eagle, will soar no more.

As we continue to pour billions upon billions of dollars into "making the world safe for democracy" the world continues to be a menacing place. The more we do the worse it often seems to become.

With a declining middle class here at home and a growing under class economically we continue to spread America's treasure abroad in humanitarian foreign aid. There was one a well know phrase "charity starts at home." I'm wondering whatever became of that common sense belief.

With grave issues facing our President and Congress more time and effort is spent in haggling over issues of relative unimportance than congress critters putting their collective shoulders to the wheels of government and solving the critical problems that affect Americans of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Which BTW is precisely what they were elected to do.

Yet with all our nation's serious issues, from defeating terrorism to affordable and available basic health care for all, to insuring equal justice under the law and protecting the human rights rights of all law abiding citizens, from grappling with the national debt and deficits to helping create a business environment that leads to increasing employment opportunities for those who need and are searching for work, it seems our national government and those who run it are more interested in party, ideology, and winning than in solving problems. This is, undoubtedly, to our nation's detriment.

As much as it pains me to acknowledge it, the primary source of our nation's inability to accomplish getting important things done now rests with the republicans, and more specifically the Tre Part.

Then we have ordinary citizen's who blog, ones such as those mentioned in the post immediately preceding this one, who merely add to and encourage the continuation of our national discontent. For reasons known only to themselves.

It is time for Americas to start acting like Americans and begin pulling together, in the same direction to solve our mutual concerns and problems rather than pulling the nation apart.


  1. "With a declining middle class here at home and a growing under class economically we continue to spread America's treasure abroad in humanitarian foreign aid ... "
    Why does this myth continue to propagate?

    Our humanitarian aid as a percentage of Gross National Income is lowest in the industrial world
    along with Greece.

    It is lower than our subsidized military assistance to Israel.
    But that military spending is good for the economy. At least in the short term.

    1. Sorry, Ducky, the "...percentage of national income..." bit looks like an attemp to cook the numbers, and obscure the fact that in real dollars, the US gives a very large amount.... in fact, more than any other country. Not less. And surely the aid to Israel has a humanitarian element too: without it, her people would be annihilated as specifically demanded by Hamas, Iran, and most Arab governments. No other country faces such a a direct and pervasive threat to kill off all its people.

  2. I like raw numbers. Since you brought it up I will get the data, it will be interesting. For now I'll just say IMO the billions can be spent better ways.

    Is it safe to assume you are in agreement with the balance of the post?

  3. It's a good rant RN. We all feel the same way. Why can't we reign in the spending and only use our precious resources in the leanest and most humanitarian manner?

    My guess would be that even the modern day Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, didn't have the energy, the support or the time to take on all of the world's demons. Mostly demons in the U.S. government.

    1. Gosh. Flying Junior, I intended my prior post to be considered my rant. But I'll accept this as one too.

      I think you're right. Maybe nobody has the energy, and the task is getting more daunting by the year. Hell, by the day!

      It is time for America to get its head out of its dark place and pull together, working out win-win resolutions where there is disagreement. Long term rational self interest is NOT always as one originally thought it was.

  4. And actually, RN, I am in agreement with your post in general, and in its specifics I won't nitpick over what I don't agree with.

  5. Here are some numbers, from Global Humanitarian Assistance from a couple of years ago.

    "Top 10 donors of total humanitarian aid 2009

    The 10 donors of humanitarian aid in 2009 were (in order): the United States; EU institutions (DG ECHO and others); the United Kingdom; Germany; Spain; Sweden; Netherlands; Norway; Canada and France. A slight change in order from 2008, with Italy ceding its top 10 place to Canada."

    The US government gave more than twice the next highest donor.... and as much as the next 4 donors combined. This is seen specifically in this chart buried in the article.

    I doubt this has changed since this report. I welcome information that it has, In fact, a less extensive report from 2013 from the same organization shows the US aid amount having increased.

    1. Thanks for the link dmarks. And solidifying the point.

      Ducky's point is we should be equalling or exceeding the nation with the highest percent of humanitarian aid to GDP, presumably because we are the wealthiest nation. But that is a superficial comparison.

  6. Foreign Aid???? I do remember reading some tables.....sometime ago...and at that time almost 50% of foreign aid was for military and/or political/security aid. Much of the money then 'given' for military aid was then spent buying US armaments. hmmmmmmmm.....give me liberty or give me a beer.

  7. Well ojjimm, foreign aid spent on the military to make te world safe for democracy and provide support and protection for our allies is a important form of humanitarian aid ad. Isn't it?

    BTW, I'll stand for nothing less than liberty AND a beer, or two, or three, or...

  8. This entire discussion is BS, in my opinion. America is fabulously wealthy. All we need to do is make some common sense changes and the debt will be able to be paid down easily. Bring jobs back to the US by putting a stop to the free trade nonsense. Roll back the Reagan tax cuts. Pass Campaign Finance Reform and overturn Citizens United (or pass a Constitutional Amendment to get rid of it). Invest in America by spending a LOT more on infrastructure, education (free education up to and beyond college), open Medicare to all (as a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce)... etc. The problem will persist as long as the Conservative fear mongering on the debt continues. God help us if we ever take the austerity path that the Conservatives want the US to travel. Then the Middle Class will die... which is, in my belief, what the plan of some of the plutocrats is.

    Okjimm is correct regarding foreign aid. I say cut that aid and add it to humanitarian aid. We need the goodwill this money would buy. It is cheaper than warfare.

  9. Dervish, I don't know where to begin, nor do I have the time to wade through the BS you have included in your post.

    Yep, all the money we have spent in aid, in the multi billions, has really bought love from those we have helped. Yep, we'll be appreciated more and engender nothing but goodwill all the while we are being made fools of.

    I am going to leave it at that DS.

    1. A wise assessment. Not worth the effort to refute a dozen already-refuted points.

  10. Comment submitted but not published. Does this mean you're retracting what you said about Democratic Socialism on Will's blog? Typed it while you were drunk, perhaps?


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