This Country Is Broke

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I believe President Obama is on the right road to mending this country, but I also believe that legislation alone will not fix what is wrong with us as a nation, more importantly as a people. This country is broke. I’m not referring to the budget deficit, nor to the unemployment rate, nor to the foreclosures, bankruptcies, or homelessness. Rather I am referring to the heart and soul of this country. Greed and partisanship are destroying our nation. There are far too many people who would rather divide this country than find a solution to our problems. Self-righteousness and party politics are more important than governing. Bonus checks are more important than a country on the brink of financial collapse. Politicians and many voters alike are seemingly more interested in spewing rhetoric than in reaching a consensus to help us discover a way out of the collapse of confidence our economy is suffering.

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There are far too many who are greedy: the executives who have taken and continue to take huge bonuses when employees of their own and other companies are losing jobs and homes, and when the taxpayers have bailed out these monolithic monsters time and time again, home buyers buying more house they could afford and even some who in reality couldn’t afford any house, worse yet the mortgage companies who sell these borrowers a pipe dream, and the supposed restructurers who offer to help homeowners out of debt and foreclosure but in reality are only after their fee leaving the homeowners in worse financial conditions than they were, and the bottom feeders- the real architects of this recession- the investment bankers and mortgage companies who speculated on the bad debt of the foreclosure market hoping to make a profit. Bernie Madoff may have pulled off a whopper with the people he conned into investing in his bogus scheme, but the bankers and mortgage companies who built this house of cards should also be in prison. What has happened is criminal, if not a crime. Sound business practices and common sense could have prevented what happened. Only greed could have caused this catastrophe.

Let me state again, greed triggered the crisis we are in and will continue to hold us back from recovery unless we change. Sound business practices and common sense have been thrown over if favor of MORE and BETTER and NEWER. We want MORE, BETTER, NEWER; be it house, money, clothing, cars, vacations, technology, and all other material goods. Sales people have to quotas to sell more each and every quarter or they will be fired, businesses want to show profit for all quarters, not just for the year in total. Electronics, cars, appliances are all designed to fail after a few years so we buy, MORE, BETTER, NEWER. The old concepts of creating quality products for a reasonable price, of a day’s labor for a day’s pay, of earning enough profit to provide good paying jobs and to invest in the future of the company and this country- the concepts that turned this nation into a world leader – have been thrown out in the race for MORE, BETTER, NEWER. Greed is destroying this great nation.

Values cannot be legislated. We need to change who we are and how we live. I do believe that many have begun this process and many are and have always been giving and caring. I do not wish to paint the entire population with tar and feathers and dishonor. I believe President Obama was elected by a grass roots movement of these good people who want change, not only in Washington D.C., but change that can reclaim this nation as a country of compassionate, understanding, and generous people.

Politics has always had an unsavory side, but once upon a time, people went into politics because they felt called to govern the country, they felt called to help their constituency, and they felt called to guide this nation to greatness. I believe President Obama is cut of this cloth. He is a leader, a governor. Unfortunately he must also play politics, if he is to succeed at his job. If the citizens let their representatives know how important it is to place country ahead of party, if we open our hearts and minds to those with differing opinions, if we reach across the aisle, we can come together to solve our problems.

If anything good can come of this difficult time, and I believe it can – times of upheaval and strife are needed for transformation – it is that we will move past the narcissistic and greed driven society we have become. We will again value, honesty, kindness, and benevolence. Time spent with family and friends will be more important than the huge bonus check, reaching out instead of building fences, discussion instead of rhetoric, coalitions instead of conceit, and quality and value instead of MORE, BETTER, NEWER will guide us down a road to a resilient and powerful United States of America.

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