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"A penny for your thoughts"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

America's longstanding to-do list

1)Infrastructure - U.S. haven't even kept up with basic maintenance and safety considerations for existing roads, bridges, water and sewer systems and the like. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there are $1.6 trillion behind in just bringing U.S. infrastructure up to reasonably good condition---never mind considerations for bold, expensive new projects.

2) Education - U.S. has slipped in terms of educational achievement. A lot of substandard schools are about to get money needed to make them safe and habitable and equipped for 21st century education. Pre-school education will get more support and college will become more affordable. And from the leaders of organized teachers unions, there is these days a willingness to consider needed changes in tenure and work rules in exchange for higher pay and better working conditions.

3) Health care - The U.S. is the only developed country in the world without some form of universal health care.

4) Energy - In 2000 the Germans enacted a law requiring utilities to buy a portion of their power from solar companies. That decision has helped Germany---not the sunniest of countries---to become the world's solar leader, creating nearly 100,000 new jobs. The U.S. has yet to make a major commitment to alternative energy development. But $4 gas combined with rising tensions in the Middle East have melded a clear constituency for solar, wind, biofuels and other non-carbon alternatives.

5) Sound economic management - Hedge funds are essentially unregulated and have thrived by producing outsized returns for their investors. They buy companies and then try to quickly run up profits by closing down “excess” capacity, laying off workers and squeezing their properties for short terms gains. Then they “flip” them---selling them for more than they paid because of improved balanced sheets. Hedge funds shouldn't be allowed to run roughshod over workers and communities to make huge short term profits for a few already wealthy investors. Hedge funds shouldn't be allowed to operate with favorable tax treatment and few regulatory or disclosure requirements. America shouldn't be rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and strip the U.S. of its manufacturing base.

America middle class income has declined over the past 30 years. while the top one percent has thrived. Now, in 2009, with unemployment about to go to 10% and all of the other ills known are coming, Congress is going to be forced to re balance the game in favor of workers.

Now, because things are so bad, it looks like America might do what they should have been doing all along. VIA

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