Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We have met the enemy...

One of the most memorable phrases gleaned from the satirical comic strip “Pogo” was, “We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.”  Unfortunately, today it seems too many Americans have taken the saying too seriously.  From clips on TV and statements of leadership, particularly from the Tea Party group, it seems some Americans view our national government as a foreign power which somehow has invaded us.  Those who incessantly attack our national government do major damage to our system.

Only a short history lesson can demonstrate why our government contains greater benefits than pitfalls and greater opportunities than drawbacks to those of us with American citizenship.  Our federal government has been the major catalyst in the greatest surges of prosperity in America.

As we emerged from the first Great Depression of 1929, the government put together the Jobs Program which included the Civil Conservation Corps.  Many of us still wonder at the magnitude and beauty of the national parks throughout the United States. Many of  those parks were built using CCC labor while providing jobs which enabled many families in America to survive the rigors of the Great Depression.

In all probability, one of the greatest advancements for the middle class and America as a whole was the GI Bill.  Fashioned as we emerged from the Great War, Americans invested at a time when our national debt was at an all-time high.  We invested in educating those who had served us and given of their time in the Great War.  While it benefited veterans, it benefited America far more.  It is a prime example of how government investment in a time of need can move us forward as it did in this instance.  It moved us forward in education, innovation, investment, entrepreneurism and prosperity.  America has enjoyed no greater surge forward than we did at the time we invested in making higher education affordable for a huge segment of our society–not just the rich and privileged.

The next gigantic investment in America which holds us in great stead today, without which we would be one of the poorest nations on earth, is the interstate highway system.  Proposed and pushed by General Dwight Eisenhower during his presidency, we invested billions in creating a transportation system which assured the future of much of our commerce, but also it is an example of how government can in fact be the stimulus to create jobs.  What advocate of making America’s national government insignificant would look back and wish for insignificance in our government’s role in creating the interstate highway system which serves us so well today?

Here’s another example:  Back in the ‘60s the anti-science, know-nothing, do-nothing conservatives in America considered our 35th president’s aim of putting a man on the moon to simply be a pipe dream.  However, the vision of John Kennedy and the Space Program, underwritten by our government, has resulted in numerous inventions that serve us in the form of business opportunities, human comfort and entertainment.

The plethora of patents and scientific advancements directly attributable to the quest to put a man on the moon is unmatched in any nation’s history.  Advances in medicine, communication, business technology and on and on would not have been possible without our government’s investment.  Had some of the naysayers in politics today been in control at that time they would have opted for a greater balanced budget and lower taxes instead of our quest to explore space.

Governor Perry, who belittles the effort of government to create jobs, conveniently overlooks the fact that a significant portion of the job growth in Texas, upon which he bases his quest to lead our nation, was fueled by government jobs.

Never in the history of our country is there a greater need for America to do what is necessary to make an investment–yes, even with borrowed money–in our crumbling infrastructure such as buildings, bridges, highways and public school buildings.  We also desperately need to invest in giving the next generation access to a reasonably priced cost of higher education, training them for the kinds of jobs which will make America competitive and return manufacturing back to the United States instead of India and China.  

At a time when we have gone from number one in the training of needed skills to number sixteen in the world, it is absolutely the wrong time to heed the “no tax at any price” voices.  It is the time to invest in order to lift ourselves by our bootstraps out of the doldrums of an economy devastated by two wars on credit and an insane desire to have wealth prevail over the needs of ordinary citizens.  


  1. Well said by a Gentleman that has lived thru it, fought for it , and lives it every day...

  2. Ignoring for a moment the belief you seem to hold that the government is a good steward of our money. If the government wants more money to play with, why don't we look at cutting unnecessary spending rather than raising taxes? When does it stop?

    If your personal debt to income ratio was as high as the United State's is, would you go the bank and ask for more money or would you take a look at your budget and see where you could cut some fat? What if it was your law firm? Since you are a very successful person, I think it is a reasonable assumption to say that you would not be making that trip to talk to your banker. So if you wouldn't do it in your personal life or for your business, why are you advocating we do it as a nation?


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