The Common Sense Revolution
What would happen if the organized inaneness so engrained in the United States’ economic and political fabric were removed?
January 30, 2009
A nation addicted to shopping and debt. Banks failing, jobs disappearing. It is a clich to say that it is often darkest just before dawn. In fact, more and more people at this juncture seem to doubt there will be another dawn. While the odds are long for many of the economic rescue measures, perhaps the biggest boost to the U.S. economy and overall psyche comes from a counterintuitive source.
To see the why and how, explore the following range of questions:
1. Which nation has afforded itself the luxury of spending 50% more on health care than even the most “socialist nations in Europe, while not even managing to cover 16% of the population?
2. And which nation is completely undermining its original commercial advantage over all other regions, certainly Europe, as well as much of Asia, by obscuring the tremendous benefit of operating as a continental economy?
After all, that lay of the land offers vast economies of scale especially when compared to Europe, which was inefficiently divided into dozens of princely territories until the onset of the Common Market project.
Why then would policymakers and the powers-that-be in the United States refuse to organize its banking and insurance markets via a unified commercial code in a consistent fashion rather than rely on a quasi-medieval patchwork of state-by-state standards that lead to regulatory arbitrage, if not systemically induced chaos?
3. And which nation led the world in food science and research into the health effects of various forms of nutrition by setting up the Food and Drug Administration all the way back in 1906, including the establishment of such useful public education tools as the first nutrition pyramid in 1992?
Given that impressive track record, why then is the United States of today giving its fast food companies what amounts to a free reign in systematically fattening up its people? Is it really wise for the country to put a stop to these malicious efforts only when the next mega class action lawsuit will be launched by a bunch of trial lawyers?
4. And do you still recall which nation was the first one to set up an effective regime in combating environmental pollution, via the establishment of a national agency with real enforcement authority, in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency, back in 1970 a reform undertaken by a Republican president to boot?
Could the nation in question really be the United States? And how could this proud legacy be squared with the machinations of the country’s highly influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is given to crying foul on any environmental regulation, whether in times of great national riches or during times of economic doom?
Is it really in keeping with American pride about the nation’s competitiveness that, based on the U.S. Chamber’s logic, it can win the global race only when its top corporations produce “dirty,” while other competitors in Europe and Japan manage to observe stringent environmental regulations?
5. And who still recalls which nation was the one to dominate global car production to the degree that, aside from its own “Big Three,” every other company in the world active in that sector at best seemed to be destined to be a niche player, if it wasn’t slated for extinction?
Given that proud and powerful legacy, why does that nation then tolerate for its car manufacturers to be so much on the ropes that their situation is redolent of what happened to Russia’s car production after the end of communism?
And why would a nation so determined in its pursuit of independence not give some meaningful expression to that desire by refusing to waste way too much of its collective disposable income on gasoline purchases to support the lifestyles of the rich and famous in the Persian Gulf?
This saga could be spun on and on. But let’s end it here and ask yourself one simple question: What would happen to the United States and its economic future if, at long last, the various forms of organized inaneness that currently seem so hopelessly ingrained in the nation’s economic and political fabric were to be removed in one fell swoop?
Could one single president determined to focus the American people on re-discovering a joint path to a secure future accomplish that? What would that require beyond calling a spade a spade and by kicking all the profiteers and rent-seekers from the politics of anti-modernism and anti-common-sense into the dustbin of history, right where they belong?
Irrespective of party stripe, anybody not completely blinded to reality must see to which national, and indeed global, calamity the cumulative effect of practicing all these highly unenlightened policies have led the United States.
It is long overdue for the United States to reclaim that other original advantage with which it was fortunately, and in great contrast to the then-highly doctrinaire societies of Europe, equipped right at its birth. Call it the mantle of enlightenment.
The journey may have been long and winding and may have taken well over 200 years. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if a black Jefferson in the White House were to reestablish enlightenment paired with pragmatism and common sense?
That would be tantamount to reawakening the core ingredients of the nation’s political DNA as well of its true global legacy and mission.
It is long overdue for the United States to reclaim that other original advantage with which it was equipped right at its birth? Call it the mantle of enlightenment
Anybody not blinded to reality must see to which national, and indeed global, calamity the cumulative effect of practicing these highly unenlightened policies have led the United States.
It is a cliché to say that it is often darkest just before dawn. In fact, more and more people at this juncture seem to doubt that there will be another dawn.