Generation Debt, and other writing by Anya Kamenetz
Hi, I just finished your book. Very good. I was generally aware of the material, but the details you provided were good to get. Also it was well written. I have a blog also --- wwwarringtononourcrazyworld.blogspot.com (notice no . after www) I am a grandmother worried sick about what kind of a country my grandchildren will live in. I'm pasting in here my latest post -- firstname.lastname@example.org THE ENEMY IS US The scariest ones are not the terrorists hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or incarcerated in Guantanamo (assuming some of them actually are terrorists). No, the scariest ones are the power hungry, greedy, and willfully ignorant living among us. They have been at work undermining our well-being for decades. First, let’s consider foreign policy. For decades we have been meddling in the internal affairs of other nations to protect what we think are our own interests. One of the earliest major examples is Iran, where we (through our CIA) unseated the democratically chosen Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953 because he wanted to nationalize the country’s oil industry. And we brought the Shah to power. We know the result of that misguided meddling. It was hatred of the Shah’s cruelty that brought the fundamentalist Muslim cleric Khomeini to power. Had we respected the Iranians’ right to run their own affairs, even to make their own mistakes, we might be peacefully buying oil from a state-owned Iranian oil industry today. There followed a litany of interventions, from Chile to Nicaragua, overthrowing any democratically chosen government too leftist for our liking and supporting any dictatorship, no matter how evil, that supported the “free’ enterprise of the rich and powerful and the foreign policy of the United States. If we were not overextended in the Middle East right now, we’d undoubtedly be plotting the overthrow of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. God grants us the free will to make our own mistakes, and we should follow His example, and stay out of the internal affairs of others. Second, let us consider the economic policy of a US government bought by the power hungry and greedy. A policy of negotiating “free” trade agreements that allow the largest corporations to avoid all our labor laws and environmental protections in order to outsource all our decent jobs to wherever production is cheapest. Not best for anybody, just cheapest. What good will cheap consumer goods do us when the planet is destroyed and the only jobs available are tantamount to slave labor? With friends like these, who needs foreign terrorists? And speaking of security, what security can any nation possibly have when it has lost the ability to manufacture most of its necessities, including military necessities, and is dependent on foreign oil? But our greedy corporate executives are only interested in short-term profits for themselves. They are not really interested in spending money on alternative energy and energy efficiency or in keeping our manufacturing base. They don’t really care about our security, our citizens or our future.. Furthermore, we have almost totally abandoned our own children. Most of them cannot find any decent jobs. And most of them can no longer afford higher education. Due to declining state and federal support, there has been a 47% increase in public college tuition (in inflation adjusted dollars) since 1995 while all forms of grants have declined. Loans have increased. But the loan programs only ensure that those students who persevere graduate with an impossible debt burden while delivering billions of dollars of federally guaranteed profits to private lenders. We don’t help students, we help the rich. And then we wonder why our grown children can’t make it and have to move back in with us. Now we come to health care. The US spends over 15% of its total economic output on health care, while Britain spends about 8% and Canada 10%. Yet they both have higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality than we do. Of course, they, like other industrialized nations, have universal national health care systems. Our present system spends much, much more on paperwork than our much maligned Medicare system and provides more profits for the rich shareholders of private corporations than health for the people. But the greedy who have bought our government continue to make it impossible for us to care for the health of our own people, including our own children. Most of our young adults have no health insurance. Finally, it is the willfully ignorant who, along with the power hungry and greedy, have saddled us with a President who is their puppet and the epitome of their worst qualities. With his tax cuts for the rich, his refusal to listen to advice, even that of his own military experts, his delight in rolling back environmental protection regulations, his totally ill-considered and arrogant Iraqi invasion and incompetent occupation, he is quickly bankrupting the nation. We are now in full-on freefall, and 9/11 is not the main reason. The main reason is that we DO NOT BEHAVE LIKE CHRISTIANS. We do not do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We do not respect the rights of others to self determination, we do not care for our children and workers, we do not protect God’s clean air and water, and most of all, we do not set up a system of public financing of political campaigns that would restore true democracy.
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