- Posted March 5, 2013 by
San Diego, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
America was once ruled by some great men, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Franklin D. Roosevelt, all of whom dedicated their lives to establishing the land of promise, opportunity, and equality. All of our most prominent leaders surrounded themselves with equally determined and inspirational Cabinet members and representatives of the people. This is in stark contrast to the humiliating and completely ineffective political system we have in place today. We are now the laughingstock of the entire world, with an excessive number of meaningless political parties and a growing contingency of stubborn and uneducated politicians at the helm. America is no longer a democratic nation. The popular vote has no impact on our major elections, implementing any piece of legislation has become a farcical sideshow for our politicians, and the most innovative and forward-thinking civic initiatives end up facing such a barrage of bureaucratic red tape and legal challenges that this country has reached a legislative standstill. And who can blame our politicians for their inability to inspire and to act? They continue to receive their egregiously inflated salaries and world-class benefits while basking in the limelight and glory of this daily reality television series known as Capitol Hill. In order for this country to return to its days of political greatness and grandeur, a sweeping overhaul of our legislative system and a changing of the guard at all levels are necessary. A new wave of energetic and sophisticated politicians must enter the arena, focused solely on the best interests of their constituents and exhibiting total disregard for the special interests of lobbyists and the corporate machine. Until we successfully complete this detox diet, our nation will be viewed as the Divided States of America.
While political inefficacy has taken its toll on America, it would be heinous to overlook the disastrous economic state of affairs we find ourselves in today. Corporate profits continue to skyrocket, while overall income and GDP levels have remained stagnant. Golden handshakes and parachutes have become the legacy of Corporate America, with executives salivating over their compensation packages while undercutting employees, being showered with bailout funds, and enjoying an utter lack of accountability. I wholeheartedly agree with Jamie Dimon that he is “richer than you”, so it is clearly acceptable and understandable for JPMorgan Chase to be axing 17,000 jobs over the next two years. Other corporate behemoths are sitting on multi-billion dollar stockpiles of cash, all in the name of innovation. Monsieur Dimon and his cronies must be crying all the way to the bank. The number of billionaires is growing at a staggering, record-breaking pace, yet the poverty levels our nation faces today are historically unrivaled. The government claims to have injected trillions of dollars into the economy over the past several decades, under the guise of helping the average American, yet the wealthy continue to exponentially accumulate wealth while the impoverished continue to face an even bleaker outlook. With borrowing and lending rates nearly nonexistent, the 1% can transact amongst themselves in an unheralded risk-free environment while the 99% earn pennies on their already-dismal earnings and savings. And let’s not forget the ignorance of economists turning a blind eye to the renewed stock market and housing bubbles we are in the midst of. What this country desperately needs is a modern day Industrial Revolution, a resurrection of the domestic manufacturing of goods and services to give our economy a shot in the arm. Hiring and training workers through apprenticeships and similar programs will stimulate employment while guiding our transition from a nation of imports to a nation of exports. Simultaneously, more activist shareholders should unite to reinstate corporate accountability and to introduce stringent compensation reforms for executives.
Lackluster Education System
At the primary level, America’s education system has been deteriorating for decades, due in no small part to diminishing pay for our educators and a disappearance of resources for our classrooms and our innovators of the future. At the secondary level, students are facing exorbitant tuition costs while being deceived and misled with promises of grandeur following graduation. Instead of allocating funding to nurture the futures of our nation’s youth, legislators continue to insult taxpayers by focusing on ridiculous pork barrel spending projects, the majority of which are never actually completed. For the privileged and/or lucky students who manage to eventually arrive at institutions of higher education, the unaffordable reality sinks in. Public universities are inexplicably struggling financially while inundating students with steep fees, all in the name of opportunity. Law schools are unconscionably and knowingly churning out 44,000 lawyers each year to compete for a handful of job opportunities. The administrators at these cash cows are raking in $200,000 per student, whereas the average starting salary for fresh graduates is approaching a dismal $50,000. With high unemployment rates not expected to subside for years to come, job market newcomers are facing a daunting uphill battle against more seasoned and experienced workers. In order to solve this crisis, primary schoolteachers need more financial and other incentives to inspire the younger generations, secondary institutions must become affordable for all, and underprivileged students should have unrestricted access to a higher quality education. Trailblazers and pioneers like Sal Khan are best suited to lead this charge.
With drastic improvements to the political, economic, and educational landscapes, America can reestablish itself as the shining beacon of opportunity and prosperity.