Thursday, November 26, 2009

Living Standards Declining in America

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The US used to boast the highest standard of living in the world. Those days are long past. Today --the US is among the most inequitable nations on earth where also is  found those nations enduring the very worst standards of living. The US --once number one --is not even in the top ten.
According the ranking, the country with the best living conditions is the Scandinavian country of Norway. Helped by a relatively small population of only five million people, combined with an abundance of energy resources such as oil and natural gas, the people of Norway also live in one of the most democratic countries in the world. Further contributing to Norway holding the top ranking in the report has been the ability of the socialist government to continue to provide the generous social benefits the government provides due in large part from its massive sovereign wealth fund, which is the second largest in the world at approximately 330 billion dollars.
--The richest country in the world does not have the highest living standards
About the current crisis begun in the Bush years --some have said that the stiumli were/are 'too small'. The real problem is that the wrong people got the 'stimuli'. Those getting stimuli were the very banksters who created this mess to begin with! Much of the 'stimuli' wound up in offshore tax havens where may be found much US 'wealth'! Much (if not all) of the 'stimuli' never stimulated anything but the greed. Is there any evidence that the 'stimuli' created a single job? Were any industries in any way 'stimulated'? Were any 'stimuli' given those who might have used the money to get out of poverty, buy a home or get an education?

'Trickle down' stimuli did not work because 'trickle down theory' is bullshit!

Wealth nor 'stimuli' trickle down! Wealth did not trickle down for Ronald Reagan, whose tax cuts began the current trend, and wealth has not trickled-down nor stimulated a recovery. Alas! Nothing is learned from the lessons of history. The lesson to be learned from the Ronald Reagan debacle, the sad effects of which we still live with, is that 'stimuli' are mere windfalls for elites and, in fact, began the trend in which the wealthy got richer and the those just getting by fell off the bottom rung.

Now --this is not a hit job on Obama. The current situation is the result of trends begun with the ascension of Ronald Reagan to the White House. It was Reagan's tax cut, benefiting only the upper quintile, which resulted in the long term trend in which just one percent of the total US population now owns more than some 95 percent of the rest of us combined. Only coincidence theorists believe that it is only coincidental that those nation's having the highest living standards are, likewise, those nations boasting the more egalitarian societies.

But nothing will change in America, however, until attitudes are changed. Tragically, attitudes change slowly. A significant change may require a major depression, perhaps a generation or two before the reality of it all seeps in.
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