There Are No Excuses in the “Richest Country in the World”

While everyone has been obsessed with life in Donny World, the United States passed a remarkable milestone last week, thanks to the Obama Economy. (And no, you cannot give Trump credit; he has done nothing in 16 months, except pile on the National Debt.)

Despite the constant attempts to negate it and to roll the United States back to the days before it was the case, this country is still the richest country in the world. And this week, we were reminded of just what that means, as the Federal Reserve reported that the net worth of households and non-profits topped $100 trillion (yes, that with a “T”!). The actual amount was $100.77 trillion. This increase of 3.3% for the year, was fueled by rising home prices and offsets somewhat a small decline in the stock market. (Yes, that’s right; despite Donny’s constant bragging, one primary measure of the strength of the economy, equities to corporate net worth, actually dropped slightly, from 112.68% last year to 111.76% this year.

Now, I won’t call this a major economic indicator, but it does prove one thing, above all else:

We are not broke.

The problem with having the Republican Party in charge of most levels of government is that everything they say and do indicates that we simply can’t afford to do anything to help the poor and those who are having a difficult time. Under the GOP, we have become a “can’t do” nation, incapable of leading the world and showing an example of how a society can fulfill its promise and also care for its people. And it’s all based on the concept that we “can’t afford” certain things.

Well, I hate to break it to everyone, but we have plenty of wealth; enough to make all excuses moot. At the very least, we should be able to have what so many other countries have, even though most of them have far less wealth than we have.

For example, why is the richest country in the world the only one where someone who gets sick or injured can lose everything trying to treat it? We spend upwards of $3 trillion on healthcare every year (again, that’s with a “T”), and yet, countless parents of sick children have to hold fundraisers to be able to afford the healthcare their child needs. In most other developed countries, holding a fundraiser to pay for medical bills would be considered fraud, since all such bills are paid for, and there is no need for that. Yet, here we are; GoFundMe pages appear daily to help families pay medical bills that should be paid by the “richest country in the world.”

And right now, to pay for the college education they need to become productive citizens in the “richest country in the world,” millions of students are stuck with crippling debt and they are paying interest rates on that money that are far higher than the average mortgage, with less favorable terms. How is that okay, especially in a country with $100 trillion in wealth?

Then, there is the infrastructure, which is pathetic, to say the least. Our roads and bridges are in horrible condition in many places and we are courting tragedy daily. Yet, the “richest country in the world” can’t afford to fix its roads and bridges and replace buildings that are falling apart because, according to the Republicans in charge, we don’t have the money. Of course, they also keep cutting taxes for the richest among us and they turn a blind eye to the fact that we have plenty of wealth, and we managed to accomplish that with the higher tax rates.

This is ridiculous.

The problem with the GOP is, their ideology treats every dollar spent by government as “waste.” Instead of seeing taxes as the “cost of living in the greatest country in the world,” they see it all as “theft.” They can’t conceive of the fact that building out infrastructure increases wealth because so many of those dollars circulate through the economy and create more in taxes than they cost us. They don’t see that dollars spent on private health insurance is wasted because the person using those dollars is unproductive and not contributing at the time. And the student loan problem is a compete waste of money because it’s unnecessary. Increase grants and reduce the need for loans and you solve the problem. Not only that, but consider how much we would increase the wealth of the nation, over and above where it is now.

This is another reason to get rid of the GOP. They don’t know the value of investment, and they certainly don’t understand how money and economy work.

Or do they?

The thing is, though they see building out the infrastructure as a waste of money, they treat the Defense Department like a jobs program… therefore, they seem to understand how government can create jobs and wealth. Yet, they act like we’re broke. There is no excuse why people who control billions of dollars in wealth should see their taxes cut in half while a family struggling to buy food should see a tax increase and see their SNAP payments cut.

We’re not even close to broke, and the Federal Reserve gave us $100.77 trillion worth of proof.

Also published on Medium.

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