Thursday, August 15, 2013

Morning Ramblings

While doing my cardio workout at the gym last night, I read a piece in a recent issue of Time Magazine.  The title was something like "Open up the door and let 'em in."  As you might guess, it was a pro-immigration piece.  "Why wouldn't we want more immigrants?" the writer asked.  She then proceeded to give us all the reasons why we should want more.  It seemed to me that her major premise was that population growth will drive economic growth.

     It has always seemed to me that driving economic growth by population growth is the lamest, most unimaginative form of leadership.  Never mid that open land is lost forever to urban/suburban sprawl.  The developers make a quick buck without ever explaining why we need ever more malls and retail stores... which create jobs... at the minimum wage level.

     Population is the 800-pound gorilla in the eco-living-room that everyone wants to pretend isn't there.    What is the optimum population for the US?  Does anyone bother to consider that?  Why are environmentalists not anti-immigration?  I'd like an explanation.

    Speaking of environmentalists... While they apparently are among those who don't mind letting millions more people into the US, they want to keep Canadian oil out.  We have a rare opportunity presented to us to day to become an energy independent, even an energy exporting, nation at a time when we desperately need to impact our (im)balance of trade.  But, no, on the assumption that we can halt the current climate change, they would have us remain dependent on Mid-East oil... a course that not only puts us in a posture of constant conflict in the Middle East, but has the potential for a collision with China, which also badly wants that Mid-Eastern oil.

      Have not two ten-year wars --- Iraq and Afghanistan--- and an Arab Spring turned into a long, hot and deadly summer --- witness Egypt, Libya, and Syria --- been enough to persuade us that we ought to stay as far from the Middle East as we can get?

     It's time to get our economic house in order.  This means not only exploiting the almost endless energy bounty we've been blessed with.  It also means solving the Trillion-Dollar Student Loan crisis.  In my view, higher education has betrayed Americans.  Public universities were founded with land grants and taxpayers' dollars.  Private universities are free from paying taxes.  Why?  Because they are intended to serve the citizenry.  When students and families have a cumulative debt of a Trillion Dollars, and recent grads are having a hard time finding jobs commensurate with their education levels, we in higher education have betrayed their trust.

    One solution?  A new WPA ala the Great Depression/New Deal.  We hear constantly how our infrastructure is turning to doo-doo.  Only just the other day I heard a report that PA is lowering the wight limits on thousands of the Keystone State's bridges because they are in such bad shape.  I hear this and I hear "jobs, jobs, jobs."  And good trades jobs rather than crappy service jobs.

    Hey... I'm not the brightest bulb on the human string.  There, I have publicly admitted it.  But it seems to me that if such solutions are slapping me in the face, they ought to be equally or more obvious to the bright lights who are supposed to leading this nation and corporate America.  Perhaps if they could stop thinking only of themselves for just a minute each day...  I mean, how could Jesse Jackson Jr. justify stealing $750,000 in campaign funds to buy luxury junk?  That's just today's headline.

    Not enough greedy pigs are punished.  The SEC has finally gotten around to indicting a couple of the thieves who contributed to the 2008 melt-down.  But Uncle Sam has hardly scratched the surface.

    And then there are the athletes who apparently will put any junk into themselves in order to make the mega bucks at the top of the food chain.

     Patriotism, it has been said, is the last refuge of scoundrels.  Patriotism can be among the highest of virtues too.  That's the thing about patriotism.  This nation is jam packed with patriots who served us in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade.  These are folks whose welfare we ought to be worrying about... not potential immigrants.  Those folks ought to be staying home and focusing are fixing their own broken governments and economies.

     Phew... I'm out of breath.  Have a great Thursday and a nice weekend!

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