Why We Can Never Return To The Nostalgic Post-War US Of The Baby Boomers.

The Baby Boomers who comprise the majority of the Tea Party movement fondly recall the world of their youth; a world of cheap gasoline, muscle cars, rock ‘n roll, full employment and US world dominance. They want that world back. And they are convinced that the only thing standing between them and the world of their youth is a liberal, out-of-control government that wastes their money on freeloaders.

I have bad news for them. That world no longer exists. And it’s never coming back.

You see, following World War II, we were one of the few countries that had not suffered significant destruction. While much of Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Belgium, Poland, Great Britain and the Soviet Union had been flattened, the US was essentially unscathed. That led to unprecedented industrial production and wealth for the US. We produced an astounding 50 percent of the world’s goods and services…goods needed to rebuild much of the world. We held two-thirds of the world’s gold. And Americans were looking to the future by investing in education and infrastructure through increased tax rates.

For those in the US, life was good. Really good!

Now contrast that situation with today’s economy. Instead of making the materials to rebuild other nations, we must now compete with them. Instead of exporting manufactured goods, we have been exporting middle class jobs. Taxes are near 60-year lows, reducing revenues and forcing our government to borrow money in order to maintain our crumbling infrastructure. We are recovering from the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression and two unfunded wars. And, according to Teapublicans, it’s all the fault of President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Say what?

The nostalgic world of the fifties and sixties was not the norm and never could be. Moreover, Americans got fat (literally) and lazy. We also got greedy. Instead of investing in our future, we cut taxes. Instead of maintaining our manufacturing base, our corporations became engaged in a race to the bottom looking for impoverished populations they could exploit in order to lower their labor costs. Instead of forcing multinational corporations to pay the true cost of energy and transportation, politicians enabled the export of jobs through government subsidies. And instead of promoting hard work and the American Dream, we eliminated estate taxes allowing the wealthy to create dynasties leading to unprecedented income disparity.

Truth is, today’s situation is the result of decades of bad political decisions…most originating during the Reagan administration. Doubling down on those policies, as the Tea Party demands, will not help. Instead of taking us back to the days of Leave It To Beaver, they’re more likely to take us back to the days of Oliver Twist and Scrooge.

Saber Rattling In Congress.

Following reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, some in Congress are demanding that President Obama intervene. Even though the use of chemical weapons have not yet been confirmed, some are calling the president “weak” for his failure to respond.

Such knee jerk reactions by the war hawks already have been responsible for far too many wars and far too many deaths.

In 1964, the war hawks used false reports of a North Vietnamese attack on US naval ships to ramp up the war leading to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands. In 1983, the Reagan administration not only turned a blind eye to Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iran, there are indications the US actually supplied the weapons. And, in 2003, the Bush/Cheney war hawks were in such a hurry to invade Iraq, they used false information to convince Congress to vote for a war that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands Iraqis and 4,486 US soldiers.

One would think that, after such obvious and lethal mistakes, our congressional war hawks and media would be much more reluctant to engage in saber rattling. After all, there are far more questions in Syria than answers. Were chemical weapons actually used? Who used them? What are the goals of those opposing Assad? What will happen to Syria if Assad is defeated, especially since it has been reported that the opposition includes factions of al Qaeda? Will the opposition welcome our military assistance? Will the new Syria become an ally?

What will Russia, a long-time ally of Assad’s, do if we choose to intervene in Syria? What will be the impact on the already flammable Middle East since Syria shares a border with Israel?

Given all of these questions, exactly how is the US to respond? Do we provide more sophisticated arms to the rebels, including al Qaeda? Do we create a no-fly zone that may lead to a far more serious confrontation with Russia, and may not even accomplish the goal of overthrowing Assad? Do we bomb military targets in Syria that will almost certainly antagonize Russia? Do we insert US troops on the ground in what could be a more lethal and lengthy war than Iraq?

According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, about 60 percent of US citizens interviewed oppose intervention in Syria.  It would seem that ordinary Americans have far more common sense than their saber-rattling congressional representatives.