After writing eight books, ten movies, two Vegas shows, a dinner show, a television series, four hundred blogs and one famous poem over a ten-year period, I concluded it might be time to pause—drive around the country, do some cooking (I’ve been cooking and doing dishes at a restaurant in Montebello known as the Eastside Chippery) and frankly, do some thinking and try to rediscover myself.
And while much cogitation has been about my own life, my mind has at times wandered to the contemplation of the world around me, not as a blogger / pundit, but as a hard working American. Not so surprisingly, over the course of the last two years a variety of people have asked me to share my thoughts on what’s going on or as many might think, what’s going wrong in our country, yet I have refrained. Why? Given that I am not known for being shy with respect to speaking what I believe to be the truth, irregardless of who it might offend, even the rich and powerful, actually, especially the rich and powerful. Well, simply put, I decided that it was best to give our leaders a chance to right the ship. And yes, I knew that they would fail. And yes, I let them do so, while I cooked and did dishes. And I’ve thought about and continue to think about this decision a great deal. There is not a problem that our country faces that there is not a solution to, but a solution is in the realm of the abstract unless implemented…And do Americans really want solutions? I haven’t decided, none-the-less, I have concluded that I would at least share a few observations.
The National Debt is close to 15 trillion dollars. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling the Federal Government will default on many of its obligations. Note: Our government borrows 40% of every dollar it spends.
Additionally, the Federal Government has 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities.
More than half of all states have budget deficits, as do more than half of all American cities.
California, which has the largest economy of any state, has a deficit of approximately 20 billion dollars. Los Angeles, the largest city in the largest state of the union has a 400 million dollar deficit. And my hometown of Montebello CA, which is eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles has a deficit of approximately 24 million dollars and will most likely have to declare bankruptcy.
Unemployment is 9.2% but real unemployment is 20% or greater.
Thirty percent of homeowners owe more money on their homes than their homes are worth.
Oil prices are averaging close to a hundred dollars a barrel, which translates to gasoline prices averaging approximately four dollars a gallon.
Food costs are at record highs, the price of corn, coffee and other staples has risen by more than 30% in the last twelve months.
Health care costs are at historical highs.
The War On Terror (at a cost of more than 2 trillion dollars), which encompasses Iraq and Afghanistan, has been waged for ten years to no successful conclusion.
The War On Drugs, which has been waged for thirty-nine years at a cost of more than 20 trillion dollars, has yet to be successfully concluded.
More than 2 million Americans are imprisoned.
On average 50% of all marriages end in divorce and 50% of married people admit to being unfaithful in their relationships.
On average 50% of teenagers by the age of fourteen are sexually active. And admit to using illegal drugs.
The high school dropout rate has increased from 14% nationally to 25% in the last two years. Fifty percent of high school students in the LA Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, dropout.
More than 50 million abortions have been performed since abortion became legal in 1973.
There are more than 15 million illegal aliens residing in America.
Rates of children being diagnosed with autism and juvenile diabetes are the highest in recorded history.
A majority of Americans agree that American work ethic has been replaced by a sense of entitlement.
On the world stage, America’s power and prestige is in decline. North Korea and Iran continue to advance their nuclear programs. Revolutions in the Middle East have brought to power those who desire Muslim fundamentalist democracy.
The State Of The Union is troubled.
The budget should be balanced not over a period of time but now. This should be done by the reduction of spending, not increased taxation.
Unfunded liabilities can be primarily attributed to Social Security and Medicare. Funding deficiencies with respect to both programs can only be resolved by limiting payments to an individual to what that individual has paid into the system.
Unemployment is a complex issue, however an initial step towards regaining full employment is the elimination of the minimum wage and an end to extended unemployment compensation.
Energy prices must be low. A 100% federal income tax credit that can be applied toward all electric vehicles and solar panel roofs would be a start.
Food costs can be lowered immediately by ending the mandatory use of ethanol in fuel mixtures.
The War on Terror, I have written about previously. Three years ago I called for an overwhelming force of one million men dispatched not to nation build, but to utterly destroy the enemies of the United States.
The War On Drugs should be ended. Illegal and legal drugs are more available than ever and this failure of a policy has cost more than the entire national debt.
The American prison population should be reduced by 50% and an emphasis should be put on rehabilitation over punishment.
Divorce and infidelity are manifestations of a spiritually troubled society. The government cannot and should not be involved in what is essentially the realm of religion, but as a people we can insist that those who aspire to positions of leadership hold to the highest standard of behavior in their personal lives. However, this should be from the point of public life forward and the politics of personal destruction should be abandoned.
Youth culture must be given a new direction. Sex, drugs, and video games, topped with a sense of entitlement must be replaced with a sense of purpose. After school sports, job programs and the arts should be of the highest priority.
Education in general must be completely retooled. Technology and super teachers in auditorium-sized classrooms are the future, we do not need more teachers, we need better teachers.
Abortion is murder and it should be illegal in the United States.
Illegal aliens should be deported, all of them. And there should be a sensible way for those who wish to come and work in America to register and do so.
The food being given to children at school and at home must be improved. Physical education programs must be mandatory.
American work ethic will be reinvigorated when we as a people acknowledge that we’ve been too easy on our leaders, our children and ultimately on ourselves. Childhood should not be a 22-year trip to Disneyland. Children should be educated and they should work. And then they should play sports and have some fun. Leaders who have the time to play golf? No, our country is in need of leadership that tends to the people’s business 100 to 140 hours a week, which is the number of hours I spend working in my restaurant. As for ourselves, we need to ask what our purpose is. In generations past, Americans were dedicated to the pursuit of liberty and building a country. Again, more simply put, they were producers more than they were consumers, their intention was to leave the world a better place than the way they inherited it. Ultimately, we must all resolve to make this our purpose, if we want the American dream to live on…