Not “Really” Problems
What are some tongue-in-cheek reasons as to why Washington need not bother fixing the United States’ problems?
May 23, 2011
Amid relatively high levels of unemployment and lingering fallout from the global recession, many Americans are increasingly pessimistic about their economic prospects and the overall outlook for the nation over the near term. A recent New York Times/CBS News survey, for example, found a worrisome 70% of Americans saying the country is heading in the wrong direction.
Food and gas prices, unemployment, health care and Social Security are just a few of the major concerns troubling wide swaths of the American public. However, when examined from an objective, dispassionate perspective, it becomes clear that such concerns are not really problems at all.
Even a cursory examination of some of the commonly mentioned concerns exposes them to be nothing more than mere illusions. Washington need not bother lifting a finger to solve the challenges vexing the country. Indeed, many of these “problems” are not actually problems at all:
Increasing food prices: With higher prices for food, people will have to eat less and choose their foods more carefully by taking into account both cost and value, in particular eating more fruits and vegetables.
As a result, the unacceptably high levels of obesity (one out of four Americans) and overweightness (one out of three Americans) will be greatly reduced, thereby improving the overall health of the public as well as making Americans more energetic and happier.
High gas prices: Rather than drive, Americans will decide to walk short distances for their local errands. Also, they will limit those unnecessary lengthy road trips.
Consequently, traffic on roads and congestion in U.S. cities will be substantially reduced. Fewer people driving will in turn decrease overall demand for gas, hence bringing down the price to customary levels.
Widespread unemployment: Large numbers of unemployed workers clearly bring about lower labor costs and generate greater competition and increased productivity. Also, the hard-working and talented workers will be more easily identified and rightly rewarded for their skills, merit and performance.
Moreover, widespread unemployment imparts a valuable life lesson to Americans seeking work — namely, one is always in competition with others for employment.
Extensive outsourcing: The shipping of manufacturing jobs overseas reduces the number of polluting industries and contributes to improving the environment. Outsourcing prods American firms and workers to move into the more profitable high-tech and services sectors, thereby giving the economy enormous advantages in the future over countries stuck in producing low-cost manufactured goods such as televisions, refrigerators and washing machines.
Cuts in Social Security: People will simply decide to work longer, save more money and be judicious in their spending habits, especially during their retirement years. As Americans are healthier and living longer than ever before, government programs will need to be improved, updated and streamlined in order to give Americans more freedom and choice on how best to save, invest and live their lives in their retirement years.
Also, as women generally live longer than men — on average five additional years — actuarial adjustments will need to be made to Social Security so the payments are fair, ensuring that men and women will have equality in the number of years that they receive retirement benefits.
Reductions in health care: Many, including the elderly and unemployed, will progressively learn to be more responsible for their personal well-being, thus promoting healthier habits and improved lifestyles as well as encouraging the uninsured to secure appropriate health insurance.
This also conveys a positive message that everyone is in charge of maintaining their own personal health and wellbeing, not costly governmental bureaucracies, which are already bearing unsustainable healthcare costs and often covering unneeded procedures that have little if any health impacts.
High cost of education: The high costs of education are easily remedied by simply recruiting more highly educated immigrants. With such a strategy, school and property taxes for public education could be reduced or eliminated altogether.
Those Americans choosing to have children will then have the freedom to decide whether and how to spend their money on educating their sons and daughters. While some parents may choose home schooling for their children, others may prefer self education or apprenticeships.
Worsening debt crisis: The national debt crisis is puffed up by many on the left and right simply to advance their personal careers and political agenda. The purported crisis can be easily addressed through required cuts in government-sponsored health care, Social Security and social services.
Also, establishing tax reductions for all American taxpayers will significantly expand the economy, lead to increased revenue and accelerate the reduction in national debt.
Decline of the family: The American family is not declining, but simply evolving in response to powerful social, economic and technological developments, such as the movement from agrarian to urban lifestyles and the greater education and participation of women in the formal labor force.
Delayed marriage and childbearing, cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, increased divorce and separation, serial polygamy, single-parent households and same-sex partnerships and marriages are just some of the modern transformations in the evolving American family.
Illegal immigration: Illegal immigration is fine just the way it is, and the government should continue not interfering with this necessary, profitable and advantageous human phenomenon. Illegal migration reduces labor costs for all Americans and hence keeps the economy humming. Illegal migrants complement the country’s labor force, taking jobs that Americans need done but refuse to do, such as those done by nannies, gardeners, handymen, cleaning ladies, vegetable and fruit pickers, dish washers, day workers, etc.
And illegal migrants are certainly better off working in America than they were in their home countries, or else they would not still be here. Illegal immigration plainly provides the American economy with the needed and highly valuable flexibility, dynamism and efficiency to compete globally.
In sum, the current pessimistic outlook held by many Americans is not only groundless, but also debilitating. In fact, as has been aptly demonstrated above, Washington doesn’t really need to do anything to get the country back on the right track.
With just a few minor adjustments, many of the current concerns of the American public will fade away like fog in the early morning sun. It’s time to stop worrying needlessly and get on with life.
The current pessimistic outlook held by many Americans is not only groundless, but also debilitating.
Widespread unemployment imparts a valuable life lesson to Americans seeking work — namely, one is always in competition with others for employment.
Even a cursory examination of some of the commonly mentioned concerns exposes them to be nothing more than mere illusions.
The purported debt crisis can be easily addressed through required cuts in government-sponsored health care, Social Security and social services.
Director of Research, Center for Migration Studies, New York Joseph Chamie has recently been appointed director of research at the Center for Migration Studies in New York. Previously, he was the director of the United Nations Population Division. Mr. Chamie served the UN in the field of population and development both overseas and in New […]