After winning reelection in 2004, President George W. Bush made restructuring Social Security his top domestic priority.
The emotional trauma exposed a vulnerability that lay beneath all outward signs of success: a career as film critic for New Yorker magazine, a resident of New York’s upper west side, and the father of two children.
“All around us we see signs of this confusion. Americans are often called a “materialistic” people and we certainly are surrounded by material possessions and revel in them. But at the same time, the “real world” of physical location seems to be evaporating before our eyes.”
But wherever it originated, the word conjures up an instant picture of young people in cheap sportswear, swigging alcopops, brandishing knives and selling each other drugs whilst getting their fifteen-year-old girlfriends pregnant. They are a favourite subject for the right-wing tabloids, and where the term “chav” is found, the words “feral”, “benefits” and “underclass” will often be somewhere in the vicinity, not to mention “lifestyles funded by your taxes!”
Perry describes a world without a middle class, a world in which, according to 2006 statistics, one percent of the world’s adults own forty percent of all global assets. The richest ten percent own eighty-five percent, while the poorest half own less than one percent.
No less than the American financier who donates a museum wing on condition it bears his name, or the merchandiser who endows a university institute named for him, the results of Renaissance patronage had to be, first of all, highly visible.
“India is a status-quo power: it wants nothing that Pakistan has. Pakistan’s rulers, however, are obsessed with Kashmir, which they have repeatedly tried and failed to wrest from India through war and militancy, and with a desire to “cut India down to size” by bleeding it through terrorism. What needs to happen is for a new political culture to prevail in Pakistan, one that privileges peace, dialogue, co-operation, tourism and trade instead of resentment, bigotry, militarism, intolerance and violence.”
Debs was the great voice of socialism in the United States for the first two decades of the 20th century, a five-time presidential candidate for a third-party crusade against capitalism. He was a homegrown rebel, born and raised in Indiana, and a powerful speaker who knew how to translate socialism into an American idiom.
“Around the entire world what I see is Europe and China investing into and buying greater shares of foreign economies—and thus gaining significant political and even military leverage over them—at our expense. Power has to be a fair balance among a range of tools, including the military, in order to be used effectively. We’re not doing that now, and I don’t see a good strategy coming out of Washington as to how to do it better.”
Meanwhile, walls of buildings were rising, mud roads were being paved, library books were being delivered on horseback, archaeological digs were being excavated, and Orson Welles was directing an all-black version of Macbeth set in the Haitian jungle. Along with the carpenters and secretaries, painters, sculptors, writers, and actors had also joined the ranks, though with some confusion on how one measured an artist’s full working week. The WPA was feeding a need, both for the individual and the community.
In my view, the Americans’ most serious problem for the longer term is the development of a new class of super-rich, while at the same time their middle and lower classes find themselves increasingly burdened by debt and worried whether their jobs will be “outsourced” to India or China.
Back in 2008 the United States had what was called a “California style” referendum. Empire or No Empire. Simple as that.