A Nation of Discontent
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, numerous polls have confirmed a vast majority of the populace shares this same sense of disgruntlement. Yet the nation’s political, academic and corporate classes, whose lifestyles have never been better than they are today, are surprised and dumbfounded by this phenomenon. These elites prefer to look at this chapter in America’s political history as just the ranting of an immature and essentially ignorant citizenry who will, in time, see the error of their ways and settle for whatever crumbs the ruling class throws their direction.
Perhaps the explanation for this overarching angst can be made more readily apparent to the elites by painting a portrait of the America they have created since 1988 -- the high water mark of America’s power and influence -- and the near irreparable damage that has been done to this nation and its people.
Beginning in the years following the end of the Second World War, the American populace was the benefactor of unprecedented peace, growth and prosperity -- the most resounding in the history of mankind. Living in a nation whose future prospects seemed limitless, the people increasingly turned inward in the pursuit of leisure and lifestyle leaving the governance of the country to the various elements of the ruling class secure in the thinking that this nation’s upward trajectory was unstoppable.
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 should be the course for the nation to 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 approaching $18.6 Trillion-- an increase of 615%. On the other hand the debt of all the nations on earth has increased by only 135% since 1988.
- The American Gross Domestic Product has recorded a growth of 110% over the past 27 years. By comparison global growth has been 218% and in the case of China it has been a staggering 1,900%.
- Among the reasons for Chinese and global growth is the American trade deficit. In 1988 this nation experienced a non-oil trade deficit of $71.1 Billion; by 2014 this same deficit had ballooned to $458.3 Billion. An increase of 545%.
- The impact of the above in combination with an excessive regulatory regime: in 1988 23% of all jobs were in the goods producing arena, in 2015 it is 13%. If these percentages had remained the same together with the current working age population, 34.3 million as compared to the actual level of 19.5 million would be employed in this high paying arena. Instead a significant majority of all the new job growth over the past 27 years has been in fields that pay on the average 40% less than the goods producing sector.
- The nation’s population has grown by 35% since 1988; however the number of employed Americans has only increased by 27% while those who have dropped out and are no longer in the labor force has escalated by 50%. Further the number of Americans living in poverty has increased by 61%.
- 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 the median income for all Americans has only increased (adjusted for inflation) by 6% over the past 27 years and has declined by 4.3% since 1999. Since 1988 the income of the top 5% has risen 39.3% (adjusted for inflation) while the income of the bottom 60% has increased just 0.5%.
One of the primary hallmarks of the United States was 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 and for a class driven society to dominate. This is now a rapidly eroding economy based almost solely on consumption which cannot be sustained without a vibrant wealth creating (goods and proprietary services) sectors.
The Political Parties
As the federal government has grown exponentially through the monies it spends and its regulatory regime, the political class (which includes the bureaucracy) has become the most powerful entity in the nation. While the nation’s economy has grown by 110% since 1988, federal government spending has skyrocketed 275% and is now approaching $4.0 Trillion (larger than the economy of Germany) making it financially the largest single entity in the history of mankind.
There is no business, institution or private individual in the United States that does not come under the influence of this leviathan. With so much power and opportunity to enrich oneself, the overwhelming majority of the elected and appointed members of this fraternity will do anything to remain in office. As a consequence there is now a permanent cycle of corruption at play in Washington D.C. Large corporate interests (including unions and Wall Street), assorted large special interest organizations and the super wealthy, through their financial contributions to the political parties, either make certain that their interests are protected or that they have access to government largess.
Because of the corrupting influence of an unimaginable amount of money and power and the fact that this nation can only function politically with two national parties, the founding fathers’ vision of a government of the people, by the people and for the people is rapidly becoming one that is by and for the ruling class.
Rather than view education as the means for the people to attain success in a competitive world, the nation’s elites have recast it into a vehicle for their pet theories and political views. Whether it is the promulgation of self-esteem, the obsession with the evils of the nation’s past, or the perils the planet faces due to mankind’s very existence, 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. Yet by 2013 the per student spending in the United States, the highest in the world, had increased by 58% since 1988 (adjusted for inflation) while the median income of the American people has only increased by 6%.
Perhaps no area of the American society has been so adversely impacted since 1988 as the culture. This erosion has been driven in large part by a majority of the elites determined to impose their lifestyle choices on the rest of the population. Using the cudgel of the mainstream media and the entertainment complex, they have successfully inculcated a plurality of the American people into believing that there are no moral absolutes and that the state can grant any rights that it so chooses to whomever they choose.
Thus abortion and the subsequent sale of human body parts as well as the loss of respect for human life, the erosion of religious freedom, runaway out of wedlock birth, the glorification of violence in entertainment, and the undermining of any ethical or behavioral standards combined with a woeful educational regime has resulted in a nation without a rudder and two generations of Americans unsure of who they are and unable to cope with whatever the future may bring.
The American Ruling Class since 1988 has accomplished the unthinkable: they have placed the nation on a collision course with chaos and decline. Virtually all their actions have either benefitted them financially or socially to the detriment of the rest of society. Whether they are those on Wall Street making untold millions shuffling money, or the public sector unions and their never ending financial demands, or the education establishment’s obsession with ideology and funding, or the political class and their avarice and narcissism, or those whose religion is extreme but personally profitable environmentalism -- they all hide behind the fig leaf of caring and compassion for their fellow Americans.
As the 2016 election approaches a majority of the populace is beginning to realize that they have been conned and manipulated. That, in fact, the future of the United States and that of their progeny is in serious jeopardy. If wholesale changes are not instituted soon there will be no turning back and potentially violent internal chaos and external threats will be inevitable. The American elites, comfortable in their current lifestyle, had better wake up to the rumbling beneath their feet before the volcano erupts.