They may have their flaws, but …
“I know being a successful neurosurgeon doesn’t qualify you to be President, but …”
“I know while she was CEO, Hewlett Packard’s stock dropped dramatically, they laid off 30,000 employees, and she was fired, but …”
“I know he’s an avowed Socialist, but …”
And finally, “I know half the things he says are crazy, but …”
Ok, those are not actual quotes about four current Presidential candidates, but they could be. And they would be about Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Bernie Sanders and, of course, Donald Trump. But would those comments say more about them, or about those running against them?
I keep reading and hearing in the media that Americans are fed up. (In Sampson County terms, they have “had a bait.”) For years, they have heard the politicians promising, and have seen those promises unfulfilled. The fed-up Americans may not know all the facts, but they know things are not going right in this country, and they know the current crop of politicians are doing little to change it.
Here are some of the facts. In the U.S., since 1990, the total income of the top one percent individuals has gone up 109 percent. The incomes of the top ten percent have gone up 60 percent. How about for the rest of us? For the remaining bottom ninety percent of the U.S. population, our incomes have gone up an average of only two percent. An interesting fact is, that since 2000, the average median family income has actually gone down, from $57,724.00 in 2000, to $53,657.00 in 2014.
That being the case, why haven’t the bottom ninety percent revolted? Why have we sat by and let “those liberal college students” be the only ones protesting about ‘income inequality.” Well, lower gas prices have helped. It is estimated that the reduction in the cost of gas has been like a two billion dollar tax cut for the American consumer. So that has put a little more money in your pocket and has helped keep prices down on other goods and services.
Also, you may not notice that you are getting taken to the cleaners because the Federal government is giving out so many goodies. Since 2000, from President Bush’s Medicare Part D Drug Coverage to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, our Federal government has been spreading out the benefits. You can add in the stimulus program, the government bailouts, homeland security jobs and programs, the green energy program, the tobacco buyout program, (my personal favorite) and other handouts to the American people. By the way, it’s only a “handout” if someone else gets the money. It’s an “earned benefit” if you or I get it.
Making sure the American people don’t get too upset with the system has come with a cost. A huge cost. The U.S. debt rose from $3.41 trillion in December 2000 to $5.80 trillion in December 2008, at the end of the George Bush presidency. Under President Obama, the U.S. debt has skyrocketed to over $18 trillion, as of October 2015. And the only reason it isn’t much higher is due to low interest rates, which have been kept low by the Federal government, mainly for its own benefit. (Yep, that‘s why you’ve been getting so little interest on your money down at the bank.)
While many Americans may not know all the facts, (Who does?) they can sense that the country is heading in the wrong direction in dealing with the economy, and in many other areas, as well. And they see that the current crop of establishment politicians are unwilling, or unable, to deal with them. So, they are looking elsewhere in hope that someone, even if he or she has obvious flaws, will change the downward direction they feel the country is heading.
The general feeling among those fed up voters is that these non-establishment candidates for President will be better than those we’ve been electing. Well, they believe that they can’t be any worse. We may get a chance to find out. If it happens, I hope they are right.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.