Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/30/america-bravely-marches-towards-failed-state-status
It appears to me that it is Washington DC Republican Party that is the problem. California’s state and local governments have been fairly effective at dealing with the pandemic.
Ever since California has voted the Republican Party out of power here in California, we have had much more effective government. Balanced budgets every year on time. Increased spending on education and infrastructure. The 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act that resulted in a reduction of greenhouse gas emission levels to 1990 level while still growing California economy even with the 2008 crash.
Every step of the way the Washington DC Republican Party has stood in the way and made every attempt to sabotage California’s economy. California would have universal public health insurance by now if the Washington DC Republican Party had not been sabotaging it.
The problem is the Washington DC Republican Party. Look at the rotten fruit that the Republican Party has as President. That is the problem.
The observations made in this article are difficult to accept, but obviously are painfully true as the pandemic and its effects rage on in our society.
Using two measuring sticks, institutional capacity and administrative capacity, to identify and explain why the US has fallen to this dismal level of response to a virulent threat is much more instructive than throwing around the term “failed state”. When the Congress has been neglecting the interests of the majority of citizens for so decades, faith in government is lost. When the Executive Branch has been deliberately weakened by several recent administrations, the essential activities of government for the majority of people go undone.
The author makes a strong case for linking this national crisis to income inequality accompanied by the transfer of power from the majority of people to an elite minority. When looking outward at a country that has fallen to this level of governance, it’s leaders are called corrupt. The USA better look inward to stop the slide into a corrupted “failed state” before it’s too late.
Over the decades of my lifetime, California has been in the vanguard of many events that went national. Maybe its response to the pandemic will lead other states into a similar response and state-supported programs.
The observation that wealth inequality leads to greater failures when addressing something like a pandemic is something illustrated in the book “the Spirit level”. Virtually all of a Societies ills are due due wealth inequality and NOT just poverty.
As such a goal of any society should be to address that first and foremost. If the society does not address that they collapse and will become failed states.
The problem with too many Countries in the World is that they they try and follow that meme called “The Free market” wherein it claimed the “Free market” will fix all a societies ills. by design the “Free market” ensures wealth inequality.
In other words in a Country that does not want to become a failed state and one that collapses into anarchy, the role of a Government should never be about supporting “the Free Market”. It should be about ensuring a fair distribution of a Countries wealth.
Welcome, David, and a big Amen to what you say.
David James is spot on that the GOP prevented California from launching single payer medical insurance. Although the GOP blamed their 2003 Governor Davis recall on Gray’s mishandling of Enron energy market manipulation, the real reason is that Davis was on the verge of signing single payer into California law and the GOP needed to stop that at all cost. Gray’s successor Governor Terminator twice vetoed single payer.
Having worked in west coast energy for decades I had a front row seat during the Enron manipulation and can assure you that had Davis not handled Enron the way he did, California and other states would have sustained far more damage than they did from Enron.
The GOP knows that if one state goes single payer, the rest of the US will follow, just the way it happened in Canada during the 60s.
Pizzagati understates the problem…“Societies that TOLERATE income and wealth inequality” ?
More like ENABLE “income and wealth inequality”.
The US has been a rogue state for at least three years.
If by republican party you mean both wings, I agree. If not, please explain why the democratic wing in CA. has not enacted single payer healthcare, an issue with overwhelming support across the board with the people.
As I see it both parties are in full support of neoliberal policies that create this huge wealth inequality that has a strangle hold on everyone but the very rich.
In Iowa there is a noticeable difference between R and D. Perhaps you could become acquainted with Congressman Steve King, the racist nationalist hero of Iowa Rs, who served as Gov Reynolds campaign co-chair. Though I am largely politically naive, I’ll take an Iowa D over an R in any election.
Apparently all our leaders are good for is looting America, stealing from us in a systematic manner and give it to their rich donors. Nothing else. Because where are they now that this country is literally on fire and needs leadership? When it needs people to do their jobs as elected leaders which for once doesn’t mean spending all day on the phone sucking up to the rich and instead guide this country out of the chaos?
Where are the Pelosis, Shiffs and Schumers of the world and their usual grandstanding and virtue signaling? Issuing resolutions verbally condemning murder? Is that supposed to be brave and pass as a real, tangible solution to a systemic issue? Is this compassionate governance? Is this the standard now? Isn’t opposing murder just bare human decency?
Their governance seems limited to keeping the masses distracted enough so they don’t realize both parties rob them blind. Just last month Pelosi was parading around her $24,000 fridge filled with designer ice cream giggling about chocolate - in a country where tens of millions of people were and are losing their jobs, and with healthcare and safety, each week and which she CHOSE to do nothing about. Remember this was all A CHOICE. It was a choice to give her rich donors unlimited and unfettered access to the treasury to loot at their leisure. it was her choice to make sure wallstreet and corporate America are taken care of. She chose to write legislation to bail out lobbyists and debt collectors while refusing to insure paycheck protection and healthcare for american workers during a pandemic!
This was all a choice and it happened all in a bipartisan fashion. Not a single person in Congress voted NO on the CARES ACT, as that criminal bill is called. Not. A. Single. One.
The riots and the “lootings” are just symptoms. Even the people who are doing this to get their hands on free stuff by taking from these big box or luxury stores have a good reason. Honestly, I don’t blame them. They are the actual looted ones. The american people have been looted in a systemic manner for decades by the corporate overlords. As David Sirota put
“Working-class people pilfering convenience-store goods is deemed “looting.” By contrast, rich folk and corporations stealing billions of dollars during their class war is considered good and necessary “public policy” – aided and abetted by arsonist politicians in Washington lighting the crime scene on fire to try to cover everything up.”-
Corporations like Target, Autozone, Nordstrom, Apple, Sephora etc are insured, just like all of the chain multinational overlords. All that shit is replaceable, they can write it off against their tax breaks and loopholes (if they pay taxes at all), which come out of the people’s pockets anyway. Beyond that, it’s just stuff. A man’s life was extinguished in broad day light in front of a handful of people who just stood by. And his murderer was about to get away with it cause it was just another day for officer Chauvin if it hadn’t been for the looting and rioting.
People are drained, they have been looted and exploited and reduced to nothing more than capital stock to make the wealthy richer while themselves being disposable - be it in their communities , at their jobs or in the eyes of their government that does nothing to protect them. To protect us. The country is on fire, a failed state, and they are hiding in their ivory towers waiting for the fire they seto to settle so the looting can continue.
I have not yet seen Guillen’s work. It sounds like his findings corroborate those of Richard Wilkinson, who has worked with income inequality and various sorts of social epidemic for several decades. (The short version is yes, of course, they correspond extensively and dramatically).
Given that coronavirus is far from the greatest of our problems and far from the worst that we are causing, Pizzigati might state his excellent case even more strongly. We can get by without the vaccine if we have to. Without something more closely approximating equality, Hell and high water are on their way.
It’s been this way for a while. Frankly though I’d rather have America as is be a failed state than a rogue state that terrorizes the globe. Because maybe then something worthwhile can resurrect from the ashes.
I couldn’t agree more Bill.
“I’ll take an Iowa D over an R in any election.”
So I take it Iowan’s have EIM4A? Or any other structural change the people overwhelmingly want? Did your representatives vote against the legal theft for corporations, we now call the bail-out bill?
You and I both know the answers to these questions, by accepting that there is any meaningful difference between D’s and R’s, your continuing this kabuki Theater we call US government. LOTE voting helped get us into this mess, the D side of the two headed monster knows all they have to offer you is someone slightly less evil to get you to vote for them - Less evil is still evil.
PS, Bill I live in MS., as bad as King is from your state, I can match or beat him with one from mine, they’ve just learned to keep their racist views private here.
AOC voted no on Cares.
Cowardly Pelosi made it a voice vote so it was hard to trace. Alexandria’s office says she voted no and later on Democracy Now she said she could not support it.
But your point is well taken as to the other alleged progressive Democrats; and what is the point of voting for it when they would lose-they would at least take a stand and be in good conscience.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal D-Seattle, later voted no on the Heroes Act; which I am sure Mitch the Itch will sit on.
AOC voted no on Cares.
no, she did not. She says that but there is no evidence for it. And it doesnt matter - a quiet, cowardly no you talk about afterwards is irrelevant. Not like she tried to build a coalition with other progressives to hold it back or went on TV raising a stink about how Pelosi is making it a voice vote/forcing everyone etc. She stayed quiet. She is complicit. No more excuses for people in power failing us. NO MORE!!!
Many more than 3, mayb 300
“failed” is too strong, but we are a failing state, declining infrastructure, rising homelessness, gun violence and hate crimes, weakening countervailing power to corporate rule, loss of civility, inability to deal with income inequality, climate change, oppression of minorities, international agreements…
Our virus toll is a anther sign of weakness, but there is so much about the virus we don’t know - note countries such as UK, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Sweden have relatively high death rates, while Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Poland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong are examples that do not. Hard to generalize
marching towards a failed state? we are here already…