Wealthiest sector of US must meet financial obligations — or else

Wealthiest sector of US must meet financial obligations — or else

Posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 7:02 pm

By RICHARD CHESTEEN
As a Democrat, I find it of interest when the Republicans declare that President Obama is engaging in “class warfare” because he has called for Congress to pass legislation that would either close tax loopholes or increase the low tax rates that the wealthiest 1 percent of our nation are currently benefiting from.
The Republicans are attacking the federal entitlement programs as consuming too much of the national budget. Democrats have generally agreed that significant cuts will have to be made in some of these programs. Too, Republicans are complaining about the number of Americans who pay no federal taxes at all.
The fact is that we have serious social and economic ills confronting this country. For the wealthy, the Piper will eventually play his tune of economic destruction no matter where they seek to hide their financial gain.
Without decent jobs and investment in our national resources, this country will fail. It will begin in our factories and government agencies. It will continue to spread into the agriculture sector. Soon technology will take a hit. At the same time, our national exports will decline and our trade balance deficit will climb. Insurance companies and pension funds will suffer because of the economic impact. Housing will stay stalled and the real estate market will not return. Soon the car dealer lots will be filled with vehicles they cannot sell. Bankruptcies will increase. Our national infrastructure will continue to crumble.
Eventually, the big banks and Wall Street will feel the impact of all these negative factors. However, this time the government debt will be so great there will be no $700 billion stimulus bailout.
And so a nation that was the uncontested most powerful nation in the world 10 years ago will continue to slip into morass. China and India will continue their forward economic march. Africa will follow with time. Europe, with its own unique economic and political problems, will seek to disassociate itself from weakened American financial sources. The dollar will become unstable and will cease to be the international standard. Our foreign debt will go unpaid and our ability to continue to borrow will be weakened or terminated. The interest on our national debt will take more of every tax dollar.
Soon we will be forced to reduce our national defense budget even as the world grows more dangerous due to religious extremism and rogue elements seeking to impose their political power over others.
The youth of America will face a dismal future. The bulk of those who finish college will owe tens of thousands in federal loans they borrowed for their education. Career opportunities will be restricted due to the state of the economy. Fifty million Americans will continue to have little or no health insurance. Due to possible cuts in Medicare and Medicaid tens of thousands will die an early death. Hospital and the medical community will have to compete for more sparse resources. Soon some of our brightest youth will leave America and seek careers in other countries.
As all this occurs, fewer individuals will choose to seek careers as educators. Public employees will become more dissatisfied as politicians try to balance governmental budgets by cutting salaries and benefits. Economic crimes will increase. The public will become even more embittered, as they see no effort by our political leaders to work together to solve the problems we face because of partisan bickering.
The Tea Party and Occupy movement will possibly be joined by other disillusioned groups. Our cities will be strained to keep the peace. General public disillusionment will grow.
It is in the interest of Republicans, as well as Democrats, to continue to seek governmental reforms and economic responsibility. However, this cannot be accomplished by leaving the wealthiest sector of our nation out of meeting their obligations.
Richard Chesteen, a longtime Union City resident, is professor emeritus in political science at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is former chairman of the Obion County Democratic Party and was a gubernatorial candidate in 1994 Democratic Primary. Published in The Messenger 12.14.11

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