In my last blog I began a three-part series entitled "The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky". In part I, I listed a few ways that we can be hopeful about 2009, including reasons such as innovation, volunteerism and environmentally sounder decision-making.
Since that blog, I've been labeled a traitor, a tree-hugging liberal, and several other derogatories that cannot be listed here, kids. However, I think this blog that I write now will balance things out...hopefully so that we can have a completely clear view of what to expect in the future, good and bad. I encourage you to send hate mail/comments if you disagree. No expletives, please.
Now - the bad news. Read on to learn about the downside of 2009.
The Bad: Part II of II
It's been over 2 months since a new administration has taken hold. Are we surprised that the world has not yet become a Utopian paradise as promised during the campaign?
Luckily, according to the latest Gallup Polls, Americans for the most part understand that our economic and cultural shifts will take time to implement. 60% of those polled still have a favorable view of this administration, and most of those do understand that the nation's current economic woes are not a direct result of the decisions made during the past 2 months...yet.
There are more downsides to 2009, not just economic. At the risk of inducing you to swig a few more shots of Pepto-Bismol, I encourage you to read through the following blog to understand that beyond our personal money and survival concerns, there are some other things to which we should devote our vigilance.
- Economic seismic shifts - As we've already seen, the President has taken on the Financial Sector and the Auto Industry. In each case, massive downsizing and reorganizations have been put into play, in exchange for taxpayer funding in the billions. The most recent casualty is Richard Wagoner, CEO of GM (forced out of office in part by the Obama Administration). But the real ripple effect will occur within the UAW, the collective bargaining union that is responsible for the auto workers of American Auto manufacturers.
A little history lesson: according to Joseph B. White of the Wall Street Journal, the UAW's relationship with GM has prevented the car manufacturer from downsizing its operations for over 20 years. When Honda began making automobiles in the United States in 1982, their workers were primarily non-union, which led to a leaner, meaner organization on our shores. GM, in contrast, continued to capitulate to the wishes of the UAW, and subsequently has spent over $103 billion in health care and pensions alone for the past 15 years. Further, another $20 billion will be needed by GM to fund these plans beginning in 2010. Where will the money come from?...
The net result is going to be the same in every industry bailout - bloated, oversized organizations will partly or fully become the property of the United States Government, while it eliminates jobs, increases unemployment, and thusly puts pressure on other industries to remain solvent, primarily by driving prices up to compensate for lost revenues. Taxes will also rise - a lot. On this note I definitely do not claim to be an expert, but speak to any fiscal conservative and you will hear a resoundingly similar theme emerge.
According to latest analysis by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, this pattern will continue to occur for several quarters, potentially ending at the close of 2009.
- Moral and Ethical Debates - The stage is set for several very contentious issues to come to the forefront of American Politics, again. Regardless of what side of the coin you fall on, your notions of right and wrong will be challenged. I do not write to change your mind one way or the other on these issues, however I will list a few to remind you of your need to be aware and potentially active in the ongoing national debate:
(Each topic is linked to pages on Wikipedia.org, which explains more about the subject matter. Nothing graphic or obscene is linked, whatsoever)
- Partial birth abortion (pregnancy termination in 8th and 9th month)
- Euthanasia of terminally ill or advanced age individuals
- Stem Cell research from human embryos
- Freedom to worship in a manner chosen by the individual
- Same sex marriages and adoption by same sex couples
- Capital punishment / death penalty
- Torture of detainees by US Government agencies
At the core of these issues, I believe the questions to ask are these:
- "Who is the individual?"
- "What rights are afforded to the individual?",
- "Should these rights of the individual be sacrificed for the good of the nation / world?"
Deep questions. Good luck.
- National Integrity - A very sensitive topic during the 2008 elections had to do with as the famous / infamous Michael Savage describes; Borders, Language, Culture. As my Uncle and I argue about nonstop, there is a line that needs to be protected in order to maintain the cohesiveness of the United States. It is evident in our National policies toward immigration / national defense, our education curriculum, and our embrace of world ethnicity. But where that line should be varies, depending upon who you talk with.
Reverting back to history for a moment, The Roman Empire formally ended in 476 AD, after centuries of political debate, in-fighting with steadily approaching Germanic tribes, and a military establishment that grew too vast, not being able to change with the times (kind of like GM with swords and horses). Thereafter, until 1453, the Roman floundered as a second rate collection of nations, attempting to regain its former glory and maintain its political influence.
In a way, we can think of the United States as a modern day Roman Empire, what with all its years of expansion and contraction. The policies of presidents and administrations since the 1950's (when outgoing President Eisenhower warned of the expanding industro-military complex) have brought America to one side of the coin or the other - bend to the will of various nations of the world, or muscle other nations into agreeing with our policies.
It will be very interesting to see if the current Presidential Administration parallels the history of the Roman empire over the next few years. Hadrian's Wall might have already been built (think technology, folks). But has Diocletian emerged to lead our country, or perhaps another infamous emperor?
Obviously, In several parts of this blog, I've been free-flowing to get some ideas out there that might cause you in web-land to ponder our collective futures. The bottom line is that we don't know what is in store for the United States during the rest of 2009. Much of it is likely going to be stressful, and test ourselves and our businesses more than ever before. While I want to keep this blog on a cautious note - I will say that I am still optimistic about the Nation...and the World's future in the short and long term. In my next blog, I will discuss why we are "lucky".
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