Wednesday, January 04, 2012

“Reawakening American Virtue And Prosperity”

Three days after first viewing the compelling chart shown below as it was published, I fell and shattered my wrist and broke my arm.  The contents of the chart crossed my mind frequently during three months of mending, a  process that continues for the foreseeable future with rebuilding strength and flexibility while the bone continues to grow around the screws.

Coincidentally, this accident also gave me time time to read and reread an incredibly insightful new book entitled The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity  by the noted clinical economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs unwraps the mistakes that were made by both the political right and left that created the disparity shown in the chart below, especially the economic misdiagnosis of the early 1980s.  He also lays out a precise and very achievable plan to get back on track.

The misdiagnosis in the 1980s led to the demonization of government at the worst possible time and some cuts that were just plain stupid at a time when we needed to be ramping up to cope with globalization.  We can only imagine how much further along toward energy independence we'd be today had funding for critical research not been slashed during that time as part of that demonization.

This book is a must-read for anyone, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, who is sincerely interested in putting this country back on track.  We the people only get to vote once every 2 to 4 years. Special-interests vote every hour of every day through not only their lobbyists but by funding the two major political parties.

Even when we do vote the effect is diluted by the long-outmoded electoral college system, a remnant from the concessions framers made to slaveholding states and by caucuses that serve no one but political junkies and the news media.

But there is hope, as Sachs so clearly illustrates in his book.  Election year polemics and scorecard news coverage aside the onus is on each of us as we strive to reawaken virtue and prosperity in this country by pursuing his ideas about which I will blog more in the future.

I hope you see what I mean once you study the chart below and then read the book at this link.

Which Group Got How Much - New York Times October 30 2001

1 comment:

toto said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.