LETTERS

Overgaard fires back

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

I tell things as I see them, and earlier I would worry about offending people, but now I think the political situation is so dire I am willing to take that risk, to try to wake people up. I hope I am wrong, but 30 years of observation makes me believe that Johan Galtung’s prediction, that the American Empire will collapse in about 2020 might be right.

I go overseas every year, and my dad still believes, like most Americans, that America can do no wrong. But every time I come back, it always appears to me that we are falling further and further behind.  

They have their problems in Denmark/Germany, from the Wall Street caused financial crisis, but the discussion about how to fix them and how to keep life for ordinary people dignified and secure in the process seems rational.  Coming back to the US, as I did last week, nothing in the discussions here seem reasonable.  I have come to believe that Americans have been the leaders for so long they simply can not imagine that they could lose that position. Call it indoctrination, arrogance, entitlement, superiority, spoiled brats, ignorance, ill informed or something else. The fact is that almost from the first day I was here, I found that Americans do not believe in, and are not willing to learn from other countries.

This is especially true for Republicans, they deny global warming etc.  Who cares if there really is global warming, we know that fossil fuels will run out, and that whoever invents  the technology for renewable  energy will own the future.  Everything here is done short sighted.

Several newly elected governors say they will turn down incentive money for new fast trains. How backwards can you be?  There is this 30 year conviction that private enterprise can do everything better than government.  It should be amply clear that is not the case, especially when the politicians are bought by the big companies to vote against reasonable regulations, regardless of how much the average person is hurting for lack of jobs.

The Republicans just voted against extending unemployment benefits. How mean can you be?  The hypocrisy is rampant, and the real purpose is just to get rid of Obama.  The Tea Partiers/Republicans  are suddenly worried about budget deficits and National debt. How come they did not worry about that while Reagan and the two Bushes ran both up to astronomical heights? When Reagan took office, the National debt was about $1 trillion. When he left it was almost $3 trillion. Then Bush One added another $1.5 trillion and Bush two added $3.8 trillion (very very little of that was demands from Democratic Congresses).  Clinton added a bit of debt in the first years, but the last years he ran budget surpluses as the only one.  

And now they demand that Obama fixes this mess in less than two years, without running some deficits to avoid utter chaos?  Even all that debt though,  is not necessarily of dire consequences. If there was no trade deficit, then it would just be redistribution of  money within the “family.” But we have huge trade deficits. We are naive in letting the Chinese export to us entirely on their terms, while they protect whatever industries they want (Clinton was very guilty here too). One western tire producer was not allowed to build a factory unless every tire was exported out of China for the first five years to protect existing Chinese tire manufacturers. What are we going to do about the Chinese?  Nothing — it is too late,  we owe them too much money, and generally borrowers do not dictate the terms to “banks.”

Taxes are not the problem. Everyone in this country did fantastic in the fifties and the sixties, even though marginal tax rates were sky high.  Lack of manufacturing income is our problem, and the high incomes that got the Reagan tax breaks are the ones that moved the factories to China.  Maybe high health care costs are a problem though. Private health care can work fine, but unregulated private health insurance never will.

As for biased news from Fox, the University of Maryland researched that subject in the run up to the Iraq war.  Of people who got their news from Fox,  80 percent consistently had one or more  facts wrong.

Next highest were listeners of  CBS, followed by ABC, NBC, and CNN  in that order,  and finally people listening to NPR/PBS  had the fewest  facts wrong — 23 percent.  Is it any wonder that the Republicans right now are proposing cutting all funding for PBS?  They would not stand a chance if all people suddenly could not be manipulated because they had the real facts.  I don’t  think FOX is any different today.   But try listening to Thom Hartman on AM 1470 week days from noon  to 3 for a well argued alternative view of why things are what they are these days.

Jorgen Overgaard

Penn Yan