Amid widespread pessimism, denial rules in minority America
Posted on December 4th, 2011

Nimal Fernando

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ With little less than a year to go for the next presidential election, a large part of Americais in a singularly pessimistic mood.

A cocktail of macro issues — the lingering recession; a stubbornly high unemployment figure (8.6 percent); dysfunctional government; loss of international clout ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” is fuelling anƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ever-rising chorus of criticism from an increasing section of the citizenry, that the nation has lost its moral compass.

Some of these concerns have been raised by individuals with a track record that still gets them media attention … such as Mike Gravel, ex-senator and former presidential candidate, who has been quoted as saying that he fears the U.S. is going downhill and the leadership does not even acknowledge the problem.

Feelings of doom and gloom are to be expected in an economic climate in which, as a recent survey of government and industry data points out, nearly half of all Americans lack economicƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  security, meaning they live above the federal poverty threshold but still do not have enoughƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  money to cover housing, food, healthcare and other basic expenses.

The survey, by the advocacy group Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), found that 45 percent of U.S. residents live in households that struggle to make ends meet. That breaks down to 39 percent of all adults and 55 percent of all children, the group found.

As the survey puts it, “this is a wake-up call for Congress, for our state policy-makers, really for all of us. Nearly half of our nation’s families cannot cover the costs of basic expensesƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  even when they do have a job. Under these conditions, cuts to unemployment insurance … andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  other programs families are relying on right now would push them from crisis to catastrophe.”

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Currently, the poverty threshold for theUnited Statesis an annual income of $22,314 for aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  family of four. A little more than 15 percent in a nation of some 312 million people lives at orƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  below that level, and the group wanted to look at the remainder, “many of whom live on theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  edge and are chronically at risk of financial crisis or falling into poverty. More than four out of 10 adult women live in households that cannot cover those basic expenses, slightly more than the proportion of men, 37 percent.”

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Millions of Americans have probably begun to despair that a considerable ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ number of those elected to do the people’s business in Congress have checked into a hotel that has done away with wake-up calls.

The gridlock in governance, however, is helping give form and shape to mass frustrationƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  such as being witnessed by the staying power of the Occupy movement.

Given that this groundswell of support comes from a citizenry bent on curbing the runaway power of the corporate sector, which maintains its near-stranglehold over a minority of (new) Republicans and has a huge influence on GOP policies, the next presidential, and congressional polls could well see an end to the status quo which perpetuates the present gridlock.

Should that come to pass, a national majority that will have given the nod to a second term for Barack Obama and democratic control of both houses of Congress, will expect a far quicker pace of structural reform and a far less cumbersome structure of governance in a country known and respected for its commitment to spreading democracy globally.

Introspection at all levels of society is easily detectable, if one chooses to ignore the sense of denial, especially among Tea Party diehards and their republican representatives.

Independents are finding it disconcerting that this minority of right-wing extremists believesƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  that business as usual will write another happy ending to this story. What they wish to ignore, even as they seem to derive comfort from the balm of denial, is dire warnings from respectedƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and authoritative economists that the free market might not be able to make the nation bounce back as usual; not with a skewed tax structure and the kind of deficits the most prosperousƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  nation in history will find unable to shrug off.

It has long been habitual for a section of the citizenry to only point toAmerica’s relativeƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  strength in relation to the rest of the world. They prefer to only read the positive part of the story,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  such as the fact thatAmerica remains the most dynamic society in the developed world and still attracts the most immigrants and most global investment.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The inherent danger in such a position is that the current crisis, which shows no signs of going away anytime soon, will, in time, undermine those very strengths and sap the nation of its enviable vitality, can-do spirit and boundless enthusiasm.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Hopefully, at least some family elders would have garnished the recent traditional Thanksgiving spread with dollops of realism.

2 Responses to “Amid widespread pessimism, denial rules in minority America”

  1. AnuD Says:

    What is happening in the world.

    Because of the great success in ARAB SPRING, though the final outcome is not clear yet, America is going for Asia (Russia and China) and also their allies Mostly Syria and Iran.

    That will be a challenge, I think.

  2. jimmy Says:

    Obamas is a very smart President
    He will win the Presidency in 2012

    Democrats are for Middle class unlike Republicans who are for big companies and Millionaires
    President Obama is trying to close the tax loopholes the Rich enjoy and Republicans are against it

    The outcome of Presidency is always decided by Independents . I am very sure Independednts will vote for Obama again who cares depply for middle classs and poor

    I am sure USA will pull through as it does all the time . The economy will recover .
    USA is doing much better than Europe anyway

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