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Letters to the Editor

Apathy to blame

February 9, 2011

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To the editor:

July 20, 1969, the United States was the envy of the world. Americans Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon. There were no venomous debates about whether these astronauts were Democrats or Republicans, liberal or conservative. They were Americans.

Forty years later, we are a country with a national debt exceeding $14 trillion ($45,000 for every living man, woman and child). The disparity between the wealthy and the middle class has never been greater and continues to increase. What happened?

In my opinion, the number one reason is voter apathy. We voters have been a pathetic herd of sheep that have allowed our elected officials to govern as autocrats for the sole purpose of remaining in office. The politicians know where the votes are so they align themselves with the undeserving (Wall Street, AIG, Fannie, Freddie, GM, unions, etc.).

In my opinion, city hall and Douglas County officials could be the poster children for no growth, stagnation and mediocrity. Our city’s public transportation system is a classic example of inefficiency. Empty buses polluting our air and creating potholes are an everyday occurrence. City Hall turned their backs on 120 new jobs that Lowe’s would have created with no taxpayer incentives. This past year, Douglas County officials raised our taxes because they didn’t have the backbone to cut expenses. Today, these same officials are providing Berry Plastics a $431,300 tax break to create 11 new jobs. Is it any wonder that taxpayers are mad as hell?

Comments

cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

"The disparity between the wealthy and the middle class has never been greater and continues to increase. What happened?"

What happened is that the enormous economic successes enjoyed in and produced by our country since the early '80s, under both Republican and Democrat political leadership, have resulted in large numbers of previously "middle class" folks becoming considerably more prosperous than they were before. As a result, while not in an "upper class" group economically, they are nonetheless no longer considered members of what some politically-motivated pundits describe as the "middle class." If you doubt me, then consider this: If a large number of people had not enjoyed at least a modicum of of economic success over the time period I described, then we never would have seen the enormous numbers of voters come out of the woodwork last November to cast out those who were doing their best to begin the process of taking away from them much of what they had earned. If the many socialists who have chanted the "we don't have a middle class anymore" mantra, which has been one of the linchpins of socialist propaganda in America since the mid-'80s, were right, the election results we saw last November could never have occurred.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

Vertie you can throw numbers at Cato all you want. He will still mouth right wing/Liberterian rhetoric. I stopped reading his post at the word "socialist". These people have no idea what a real socialist is and have no real concept of socialism as a political philosophy. Anything to the left of them is a "socialist".

cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Cait48, I didn't employ the word "socialist" until the end of my post, so thanks for reading most of it.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

"Vertie," you've attempted to cite stats using 2009 numbers generated after we had experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression, and double-digit unemployment was rampant. Did you consider that before you posted what you did? The point I made had to do with the results of the November election, which you can't refute.

Have a good day, Vertie.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 10 months ago

Jesse, Did you actually read the source you sited?

The numbers from your source show that the middle and lower class have shrunk since 1980 and the upper class has about doubled, exactly what Cato said. You are correct that the last 9 years of data show that trend reversing but what you did is called selective data mining; pulling out data to support whatever you want it to.

I guess integrity is not a core value of the Army anymore. Or are you trying to get yourself set up for a job as a politician when you get out.

Peacemaker452 3 years, 10 months ago

I can certainly agree that people make mistakes, such as assuming you are Army, not Air Force, sorry about that. That mistake, however, did not affect the argument that I was making. Your mistake had a direct impact on the facts of your argument and looked more like an intentional omission than an innocent error.

Feel free to ignore any parts of my posts that you like, won’t hurt my feelings at all. I do it to others all the time, most of the time because they are factually or logically flawed, sometimes just because I can.

Fossick 3 years, 10 months ago

"In my opinion, the number one reason is voter apathy."

The number one reason is that WWII is long over. When the US emerged from that war as virtually the only developed nation with a functional infrastructure, all of the world's gold reserves, and millions of returning young men ready to go to school, it was a given that we would enjoy a generation on top of the world. We could lend to everyone to buy our products, which were the best in the world. The fact that we had a worthy adversary in the Soviet Union necessarily drove the rest of the free world into our orbit.

Today, none of that is true. The rest of the world has caught up to us technology-wise. Why would they not after 60 years of peace in the developed world? The Soviet Union is gone, and like Rome when it finally put Carthage away, we have fractured internally and expanded our martial prowess everywhere imaginable. Not surprisingly, like Rome we have fiscal problems, bread and circuses, and an unhealthy reliance on foreign supplies to keep our society running.

The mistake in assuming the above is the result of voter apathy is in the presumption that if voters just cared more, they could elect politicians smart enough and honest enough to design a better world for us, or a better economy where everyone could be middle class*, where every kid was smart enough to graduate from college, and where America could go on forever as if the rest of the world was still smashed in little pieces. That is a rather strange faith, you have to admit.

  • Ignore the inherent contradiction.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 10 months ago

Fossick, very perceptive post. On the other hand, I don't think it's too late to turn the ship around, re-foster individual initiative as Reagan advocated, decrease reliance on government for individual needs, and avoid further comparisons to the Roman Empire. Can we elect people who will do that? As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and it is us." Will the bread and circuses doled out by government, or individual drive and initiative of the kind you have displayed in your own business, prevail? It's up to us as Americans, and only us, to see the light. Let's hope we do.

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

If voter turnout numbers are any indication, there is a significant number of people in this country who don't even vote.

verity 3 years, 10 months ago

Hear, hear!

And it seems that many who do vote don't bother to educate themselves on what they are voting for or against.

Prairielander 3 years, 10 months ago

Whether the middle class is disappearing may be a matter of semantics, but it does seem that the gap is widening between the wealthy (or at least well-off) and poor. The middle class was created in part by post-WWII manufacturing jobs that payed decent wages because of unionization. Many of those jobs are now gone, moved out of the country to lower-payed workers. But hey, that's capitalism.

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

They also wanted to open a store that was too big for the zoning requirements there.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

It is unfortunate when complex issues such as Lowes and Berry Plastics are misrepresented for use in a kind of political statement.

Such are the times we live in.

Aside from that, I sympathize with the letter writer regarding the frustration he feels.

We should be better than we are and it is frustrating to realize our inefficiencies. There must be somebody around we can blame for this.

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