National Greatness Agenda: WHEN WILL AMERICANS BE PROUD AGAIN?

David Brooks, NY Times Opinion. Nov. 11, 2010

“Elections come and go, but the United States is still careening toward bankruptcy. By 2020, the U.S. will be spending $1 trillion a year just to pay the interest on the national debt. Sometime between now and then the catastrophe will come.

“It will come with amazing swiftness. The bond markets are with you until the second they are against you. When the psychology shifts and the fiscal crisis happens, the shock will be grievous: national humiliation, diminished power in the world, drastic cuts and spreading pain.

“The country is restive and looking for alternatives. And before the next round of voting begins, I suspect we will see another mass movement: a movement of people who don’t feel represented by either of the partisan orthodoxies; a movement of people who want to fundamentally change the norms, institutions and rigidities that cause our gridlock and threaten our country.

“My optimism is also based on the conviction that serious, vibrant societies don’t sit by and do nothing as their governments drive off a cliff.

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Editor’s Note: I suppose that there is some good news to report about the status of the American economy and American politics. Americans seem to be united in their anger at government, banks and big business. Actually all three appeared to be the same institution. The president went abroad with a message that was carefully crafted by banks and big business. The message was completely rejected by both our friends and our adversaries. The problem as I see it is that we have already lost our leadership position in the world and, as David Brooks points out, it’s going to get worse.

There is no possibility of any meaningful change without a significant change in our attitude toward each other as Americans. But if you look closely at the anger emanating from each political group in the total spectrum of American politics it is easy to see that they have much in common. And now the consciousness of American citizens is piercing through the veil and paperwork that has been used successfully to divide us. Everyone is feeling the pain and the biggest pain is our loss of pride in ourselves and as a nation. If you view this from a broader perspective, it looks like a nascent movement has already begun.

The rest of the disaster is coming. Despite all efforts by government, banks and big business to distract us from the inevitable catastrophe Americans understand not only that things are not right, but that they are getting much worse and that it is happening quickly. The overall business model that we have been following for at least three decades has been sucking the life out of all but very few elite Americans. Nearly all the other Americans know that business model has been operating and that it has been eating away at the core of our country the entire time.

David Brooks outlines the main attributes of the movement that is coming together and bringing Americans together. I think he is right and I think the movement has already begun. His optimism and mine derive from our view of American history. Most of the time ordinary Americans simply try to get by, working day by day and leaving the business of government and the national agenda to those who are elected to public service. When these “leaders” either fail to fulfill their function or allow third parties to dictate the rules and the national agenda, Americans have a history of awakening and rudely turning the tables.

There isn’t enough money in the world to buy our way out of our current predicament. The solution to our problems lies in a national agenda that is addressed to reality and dealing with the truth of how we got to this point of imminent catastrophe. Whether we make the corrections before the catastrophe occurs or afterwards, the solutions are the same. The business model in which the distribution of wealth and the power of government, banking and big business to control the national agenda must be reversed in much the same way that “trusts” have been busted several times earlier in our history.

Distribution of wealth is considered a bad thing by those people who control the microphone, even while they pursue policies and  an agenda that sucks wealth out of the entire country into the hands of a tiny group of financial deviants. That entire process must be reversed. The means to do so are readily at hand. The banks have painted themselves into a corner in which existing law with centuries of precedent must be overturned in order to maintain their survival and viability. The house of cards is coming down. The question is no longer whether the banks will fail. It is pretty obvious that they will. We don’t know exactly when and nobody to my knowledge has even considered the creation of a plan that deals with the aftermath.

We have lost our credibility in the world. We have thrown homeowners into the quicksand, the middle-class to the wolves, and  defrauded virtually  all major sources of capital in the world. We have allowed the creation of a proprietary currency (derivatives) that is 12 times the size of government issued currency in the world. We have put ourselves in the position where central bankers and politicians around the world, with full understanding of the consequences, may decide to put their trust in a new reserve currency replacing the US dollar. This will be the equivalent of a substantial increase in the deficit. Neither this administration nor any member of Congress has proposed anything meaningful to deal with these crises. What may be the worst part is that as a nation we have not expressed through any spokesman our apology for our own misbehavior and negligence. The acts initiated by Wall Street over the last three or four decades could be interpreted as an act of war, since we undermined the societies of dozens of countries.

When will Americans be proud again? When they decide as citizens and as voters that they will exercise their ultimate power over the national agenda and who serves in official capacity. When will Americans regain credibility? When the American agenda is returned to the credo of truth and justice. When will America regain its position as a world leader? When the world takes us seriously because we tell the truth and take actions to correct things that have gone wrong––in other words, when people around the world stop seeing us as a bully and start seeing us as “a light on the hill” where we serve as a symbol of hope and progress for humanity.

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National Greatness Agenda

By DAVID BROOKS

Elections come and go, but the United States is still careening toward bankruptcy. By 2020, the U.S. will be spending $1 trillion a year just to pay the interest on the national debt. Sometime between now and then the catastrophe will come.

It will come with amazing swiftness. The bond markets are with you until the second they are against you. When the psychology shifts and the fiscal crisis happens, the shock will be grievous: national humiliation, diminished power in the world, drastic cuts and spreading pain.

Nothing in this past election has averted this disaster. The Republicans talk about cutting deficits, but a party that campaigns to restore the $400 million in Medicare cuts included in the health care law is not serious about averting a fiscal meltdown. Some Democrats, meanwhile, don’t even bother to pretend. Look at the way many Democrats completely rejected the draft proposal unveiled by the chairmen of the fiscal commission. Nancy Pelosi, the public sector unions and many liberal commentators are not only unwilling to compromise to prevent a catastrophe, they’re unwilling to even consider a compromise. They seem to regard anybody who would negotiate as fundamentally immoral and unserious.

The report from the chairmen lists some of the best ways to raise revenue and cut spending. But it comes with no enactment strategy. In this climate, asking politicians to end the mortgage deduction and tax employer health care plans and raise capital gains taxes and cut benefits for affluent seniors is like asking them to jump on a buzzing sack full of live grenades. They won’t do it.

So we continue on the headlong path toward a national disaster. And along the way our dysfunctional political system will leave all sorts of other problems unaddressed: immigration, energy policy and on and on.

Yet, I’m optimistic right now. I’m optimistic because while our political system is a mess, the economic and social values of the country remain sound. My optimism is also based on the conviction that serious, vibrant societies don’t sit by and do nothing as their governments drive off a cliff.

Over the past few years, we have seen millions of people mobilize — some behind President Obama and others around the Tea Parties. The country is restive and looking for alternatives. And before the next round of voting begins, I suspect we will see another mass movement: a movement of people who don’t feel represented by either of the partisan orthodoxies; a movement of people who want to fundamentally change the norms, institutions and rigidities that cause our gridlock and threaten our country.

You can’t organize a movement like this around pain — around tax increases and spending cuts. But you can organize one around a broad revitalization agenda, and, above all, love of country.

It will take a revived patriotism to motivate Americans to do what needs to be done. It will take a revived patriotism to lift people out of their partisan cliques. How can you love your country if you hate the other half of it?

It will take a revived patriotism to get people to look beyond their short-term financial interest to see the long-term national threat. Do you really love your tax deduction more than America’s future greatness? Are you really unwilling to sacrifice your Social Security cost-of-living adjustment at a time when soldiers and Marines are sacrificing their lives for their country in Afghanistan?

Like the civil rights movement, this movement will ask Americans to live up to their best selves. But it will do other things besides.

It will have to restore the social norms that prevailed through much of American history: when narcissism and hyperpartisanship was mitigated by loyalties larger than tribe and self; when competition between the parties was limited and constructive, not total and fratricidal.

This movement will have to build institutions to support the leaders who make the hard bargains. As in the civil rights era, politicians won’t make big changes unless they are impelled and protected by a social upsurge.

Most important, this movement will have to develop a governing philosophy and a policy agenda. Right now, orthodox liberals and conservatives have their idea networks, and everybody else is intellectual roadkill. This coming movement will have to revive the American System: a governing philosophy that believes in targeted federal efforts to arouse growth, social mobility and responsibility.

Like the chairmen’s report, this movement could demand that Congress wipe out tax loopholes and begin anew. It could protect federal aid to the poor while reducing federal subsidies to the upper-middle class.

The coming movement may be a third party or it may support serious people in the existing two. Its goal will be unapologetic: preserving American pre-eminence. It will preserve America’s standing in the world on the grounds that this supremacy is a gift to our children and a blessing for the earth.

8 Responses

  1. Neil:

    David Brooks is promoting some centralized control gird, of which many of us distrust greatly out here. I don’t trust top-down demanded “by the gun’ solutions by ‘inspired’ bureaucrats and commentators.

    I trust individuals to interact in thousands of voluntary, serve each other, to get served, type transactions.

    ——–

    Your personal comments though here, are so well written and inspiring!

    Yes we desperately need to rediscover America again. And your comments are exactly a bunch of what we need to do.

    Canceling all bank mortgages for fraud and nullity, is one way to equitably distribute our worked-for wealth, without cries of socialism.

    Socialism has destroyed the work ethic, and replaced it with living off crooked phony dealings and political alliances to survive, all the way up to congress.

    Return to real money exchanged for real work, in voluntary exchanges.

    Liquidate, don’t nationalize the big banks. Let the little ones take over those roles, with some form honest banking and capital.

    Let others use silver and gold as a ready backup, to hold those banks accountable against any temptations to phony accounting in the future decades.

    As you noted, how we treat each other is important too. If we give a darn about the next generations, we will be working on your personal comments quickly!

    Thanks for your blog!

  2. Have you heard about ‘Get Out of Our House’?

    http://goooh.com/Learn.aspx?pageid=17

    It is one of these movements.

    GOOOH stands for ‘Get Out of Our House’ and is pronounced like the word ‘go’. It is a NON-PARTISAN plan to place 435 citizen representatives on the ballot in 2012, competing for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The members of each district will have an honest opportunity to fire the career politicians who have taken over OUR House and are destroying our nation.

    If you are tired of career politicians, GOOOH is for you. If you believe money has corrupted Washington, GOOOH is for you. If you believe politicians have too much power, GOOOH is for you. If you are weary of the death grip the two parties have on our government, and are ready to return control of our government to the people, then GOOOH is for you.

    GOOOH is NOT a political party. It is a system that will allow you and your neighbors to choose, among yourselves, a candidate who will truly represent your district. Members will select a citizen representative to serve their district. How our candidates get on the ballot will be dependent on when we reach our membership goal. Our preference is to compete in the primaries against the incumbent. It is possible we may have to run as an Independent in some races, or even form a party in a few states, but the goal is to run in the primaries. It is important to clearly state that we are not a third party. We have no platform and are a bottom-up organization. We are a process for selecting and funding candidates.

    GOOOH’s solution is simple: replace the politicians with 435 everyday Americans. We trust that representatives selected by their peers via the GOOOH system will serve our country better than the professional politicians obsessed with staying in power and controlled by special interest money and political parties. If we want things done differently, we must change the way we choose our representatives.

    Each of the founders of GOOOH have strong (and differing) personal beliefs about how we would like to see this country run, but we have put our differences aside to create a non-partisan process that allows everyday Americans to participate – on equal terms – with the rich and powerful. We have taken money out of the equation, added accountability to the process, and given the candidate selection process back to the people.

  3. colette mcdonald,
    TOO FUNNY!!!

  4. “When will Americans be proud again?” WHEN WE ALL AS INDIVIDUALS UNITE AS ONE PEOPLE TO RECLAIM OUR INDEPENDENCE AND ABOLISH ALL GOVERNMENT AND LAWS INCLUDING THE CONSTITUTION

    ANYTHING ELSE AT THIS POINT IS A DISTRACTFUL WASTE OF TIME. WHY WOULD WE HONESTLY WAIT AROUND FOR ANOTHER ELECTION AND HOPE WE GET LUCKY. WE COULD NEVER BE PROUD BY DOING THAT.

  5. New Hilarious Fed Video: The Federal Reserve is Laundering Money

    http://www.dailypaul.com/node/149382

  6. We must copy the Chinese. Execute Corrupt Politicians and Banksters Sell their body parts. Dog or Cat food

    This is even better than Muslim (sharia) law.

  7. Fraud-closure biz fizzles out

    By JOSH KOSMAN

    Last Updated: 4:25 AM, November 15, 2010

    Posted: 10:34 PM, November 14, 2010
    Comments: 1
    More Print

    Bank lawyers prosecuting the 80,000 foreclosure cases in New York are all but admitting that the cases they have filed over the past number of years have been riddled with fraud.

    In the three weeks-plus since New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman put the foreclosure lawyers on notice that any fraud in foreclosure paperwork would be met with severe penalties — he is making lawyers sign affirmations promising they took “reasonable” steps to make sure the legal papers are true — practically no new foreclosure cases have been filed, The Post has learned.

    And existing cases have ground to a halt, a source close to the state’s foreclosure practice said.

    “Banks do not want to be the first to test the new rules,” the source said.

    The virtual shutdown of New York’s foreclosure business comes despite chest-thumping, bravado-filled statements made by some banks in October that they had nothing to be afraid of when it came to foreclosure fraud and that the lawsuits aimed at kicking delinquent homeowners from their houses would continue shortly.

    It seems lawyers pressing the foreclosure cases are not willing to bet their law licenses on such claims.

    The foreclosure fiasco will be the subject of Senate hearings tomorrow and a House hearing Thursday, when execs from major lenders like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are expected to testify.

    “Foreclosure should be the last option and we need to examine barriers to mortgage modifications,” Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), expected to lead the Banking Committee next year, said in an e-mailed response to Reuters.

    While many banks are not prosecuting foreclosures, they are still preparing those cases by sending paperwork to law firms on new homeowners who are behind on payments. The cases are just not being filed in court.

    “The spigot has not been shut off much, to my surprise,” a foreclosure industry insider told The Post, of the bank’s sending of the foreclosure paperwork to their lawyers.

    Meanwhile, the New York State Bar Association, which believes it should have been included in the rule-making discussion, is asking Lippman for a review. “The thought is the rules will stay in place and be modified over time,” the source said. The NYSBA did not return calls.

    Over the past four years the number of homes in foreclosure in New York has grown to 80,000 from 20,000, according to statistics compiled by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

    In Gotham, it now takes plaintiffs almost two years to repossess properties, double the time it took in 2006, the statistics show.

    Lawyers may look to increase the roughly $600 fee for prosecuting foreclosures to compensate for the risk and time in pressing cases. Banks who pay those fees would likely tack them on to mortgage balances, the source said.

    josh.kosman@nypost.com

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/fraud_closure_biz_fizzles_out_C1jme9Dx7jmnaX58BF55DK#ixzz15MlGFFPO

  8. It is my opinion and has been my opinion for a long time that military spending is the most needed cut in federal government spending there is. Not just one war, but two wars–you have to be kidding me. Look at Roman history–their republic went down the tubes, and they became a hereditary empire. The military became the power that produced the leaders after they were killed off by their own famility members or members of the senate or the military. I can see the “doomed to repeat it” with regard to the history of the US. The military is out of control with regard to spending. I saw a graph recently that shows a constant inexorable increase in military spending over the last 40 years. There is enough money to pay off the mess–get military spending under control. How many international military bases do we have? Too many. Afghanistan is not going to work. The terrain is too difficult to work in. Al Quaeda has moved into Pakistan. They are laughing at us. Close down the war. The Soviets found out about this and broke their spine on Afghanistan, so did other “great powers”. Too many and too much war–it will be the death of us as a nation. http://www.challengingforeclosure.com Sirak@challengingforeclosure.com

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