On 30 April, a suicide bomber in Mosul killed 8 and wounded 19 people. The war on the ground in Afghanistan is much worse owing to the reckless Obama policy of expanding it, despite all evidence that the US has lost and has zero chance of accomplishing anything but body count on all sides, especially innocent civilians, more thorough destruction of the country, and more debt for the US.
Job losses accelerated under Bush, but barely improved under Obama. Bush doubled the public debt as has Obama, both of them promising that the move would stimulate growth by strengthening finance capital. Finance capital - Wall Street - is strong, but main street is suffering because Wall Street is piling up profits because government has not compelled banks to use public money to help stimulate economic growth.The issue is not the rising debt, but that the top ten percent is continuing to benefit from both the crisis and the recovery while the bottom 90% is paying the price.
Even worse, the projections are that in the next ten years, public deficits will average 4.2% of GDP, or 1.2% higher than the EU permits its members; hence the sinking value of the dollar and high price of gold and silver. Again, it would all be worth the sacrifice, if it were a shared one and if it held the promise of a better future for the middle class and workers.
That is not at all the future, however, as the US is looking at the end of its global economic preeminence and age of affluence that started in the 1880s and began to wane one hundred years later. Both Bush and Obama promised that bailout money in the trillions was necessary to save jobs and keep the economy going, presumably living standards steady. Taxpayer money went into banks and corporations but people still lost their jobs and suffered sharp drop in living standards, while the economy remains anemic.
This is not to trivialize social issues, all of which are very important, but they are for the most part a matter of personal choice. Clearly, many right wingers have a psychotic obsession with guns, as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee confirmed on 30 April 2011 before the National Riffle Association when he called himself a "gun-clinger and a God-clinger". As a presidential hopeful, Huckabee's populist speech was tailored to the given audience, indicative of political manipulation with the intent to distract. What does gun ownership and personal religious choice have to do with the numerous problems confronting America? How does owning a gun solve the problems of public debt, 9% unemployment, immense trade deficits, declining living standards, lack of health care for millions of people, deteriorating educational system, a foreign policy based on military solutions, etc.
Many argue what if McCain and Palin had been elected in 2008 America would be worse off, and I would not disagree. In September 2009, Glenn Beck stated in TV interview that the Obama was better for the country than McCain - an endorsement from an extreme right winger for Obama that says a great deal about the importance of symbolism for the office of the presidency and lack of substance between Democrat and Republican.
But how different would America be under McCain/Palin? In foreign affairs and economic issues, America would be about the same as now because its waning economic power determines both its forced compromises with allies and belligerent position toward Third World countries. America would probably be a bit poorer with a weaker working class and middle class, and much more ideologically polarized because the Republicans thrive on right wing populist issues with the nefarious covert purpose of distracting Americans from substantive issues impacting the health of the economy and US policy abroad.
The road to downward socioeconomic mobility and rising aspects of authoritarianism in America is not inevitable. However, it is very likely to continue because the bourgeois political and socioeconomic elites are only interested in preserving their privileged positions. For those asking themselves what can be done, to paraphrase 19th century Russian scholar Nikolai Chernyshevsky, the answer rests with the kind of society that people want. If the society that people have now is satisfactory, then they should honor the social contract. If they feel that their government has violated the principles on which the social contract was founded, then they have to decide a course of action, as John Locke (Second Treatise of Government) advises.