Are We Broke?

A friend asked me if I believe it when I hear people say “America is broke“.  Like anyone who has ever planned or read a budget, I know that numbers are data — but that data means something only when it is translated into information that tells a story…so, with hard and cold numbers, is it possible that the answer to the question as to whether or not America is broke can be both ‘yes’ and ‘no’?  

Here’s my take:  It’s not just a matter of numbers, it’s also an issue of the language we use to describe the situation.  Words have power; they can lift people and give them hope OR they can destroy and divide.  Broke means ‘lacking funds’ but it also means ‘separated into pieces or fragments’ or ‘incomplete’.

There is money in this country — and not just the money that we’ll eventually have to pay back to the Chinese.  The country has resources but we fail to properly allocate and use them because, as a nation, we are separated into fragments.  Right now it seems the very few who control nearly all of the resources are complaining that the rest of us are a bunch of broke-arses who are trying to take what they stole when they engaged in this largest transfer of wealth this nation has ever seen earned in the form of higher taxes.

If we weren’t so fragmented, we would have REAL conversations, not just bullshit political posturing in Washington.  Debt is all over the news these days so let’s really talk about debt:  the nation wouldn’t be in so much ‘debt’ if we didn’t have the Federal Reserve system which is not a government banking system but, rather,  privately owned by wealthy bankers who take taxpayer money and then lend it back to us at loan shark rates. We also wouldn’t be in financial trouble if the tax codes were rewritten (or at least enforced) such that the super wealthy paid their fair share and, more importantly, if we could get the loopholes out of the system such that corporations pay.   Then there’s those pesky skirmishes overseas

How many people, except for those at the top, think it’s fair, for example, that General Electric is worth about 5% of GDP but not only doesn’t pay any taxes — but they actually get a refund? The value of that company is staggering — so you’d think they’d pay good-sized taxes. They don’t. They have a full-time crew of people (at least those they don’t outsource those jobs overseas) whose sole function is to ensure that the company pays nothing.  Nice way to pull those ‘America is great’ and ‘We’re patriotic citizens’ cards!

We’re broke because we (1) don’t want to reform our tax system and/or get the rich and corporations to pay, (2) keep our heads buried up our arses by saying that reforming healthcare is equivalent to socialism, (3) refuse to admit that the Federal Reserve system is working against us (and the rich don’t want that to go away), (4) won’t stop these gazillion-dollar wars which are preventing us from using those resources to create jobs and do some infrastructure development, and (5) reduce our military presence overseas…no need to maintain bases in places that are vestiges of WWI and WWII.   And that’s just for starters.

No matter what you think of the deliverer of this message, Van Jones is correct in saying that we’re not broke…or at least we don’t have to be.  It’s just that the wealth is concentrated in the hands of too few people who don’t care if the country goes to hell as long as they are comfy. Folks who keep voting against their own best interests better recognise what’s going on…maybe, because we’re not lobbyists, we don’t have real power…but all bad things come to an end; this, too, shall pass.

In the words of Marvin Gaye…makes me wanna holler…*sigh*



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