America’s 21st Century Government: The Worst In This Country’s History?


While future historians will make that judgment, this government is, without question, the worst I have witnessed in my lifetime. Specifically, I’m speaking of the government we have had in place since this country’s entry into the 21st Century.

This assessment includes both the Bush and the Obama administrations, the Congress, together with various other government departments and agencies from the State and Defense Departments to the Pentagon and the CIA. The degree of incompetence and lack of wisdom and judgment in governing this nation is simply astounding.

Why do I call this the worst government; what are the facts and the evidence that would support this premise? While we could compile an endless list of its shortcomings let’s concentrate on just 5 areas in which it is completely failing this country and its citizens:

*Job creation: what could be more important to this country than the creation of jobs that provide gainful employment to Americans whose labor and earnings generate consumer purchasing power which, in turn, fuels the American economy. In addition, good paying jobs strengthen the middle class, the foundation of America; and as a result, the reliance on government welfare programs is greatly reduced.

Job creation involving skilled, good paying jobs barely exists in the America of today. It’s a fact that the major U.S. corporations have no real interest in creating these kinds of jobs for Americans because they are totally hooked on cheap overseas labor.

This is a situation in which a competent government with strong leadership, seeing the great danger that this poses for our country going into the future, would not allow this bleeding to continue and would take steps to make job creation a top priority. While the government does create jobs in many areas for its own operations, in this case, I’m talking about government’s role in working with the business sector to create new industries and new opportunities for American workers.

One of the many initiatives that could help to spur this creation would be a total reform of the corporate tax code to make U.S. corporations more competitive in the world; it’s old, it’s outdated and out of step with the times when considering the global economy and the intense competition that comes with it.

One very obvious area of job creation would involve ambitious programs to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. This would create millions of new jobs as would the development of new sources of energy designed to begin the phasing out of oil over a period of decades.

But none of this is happening as this Congress has shown no inclination to strengthen the most important foundations of America. This Congress and the great majority of its members, by their lack of action on this issue, are doing monumental damage to this country. This degree of irresponsibility is incomprehensible and is indicative of a government that has lost its sense of purpose and direction.

*Energy: the development of solar power and other new sources of energy is critically important to the future of America and in greatly reducing our dependence on oil, for a variety of reasons. Further, instituting high priority programs for this development would also create many millions of new jobs for Americans in a variety of connected industries.

We have to begin the process of replacing oil as the primary energy upon which the entire world depends as a means to aggressively attack the problem of climate change/warming that represents a distinct threat to life on this planet. From reviewing history we know that the control and distribution of oil have caused a great many wars and much destruction and misery in many countries.  When we eventually phase it out in favor of solar power, as well as wind and other energy sources, then there is no question but that we will all live in a much more peaceful world.

As an example of how control of oil has greatly contributed to the incidence of wars, few Americans realize that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was actually initiated because of oil. At that time, Japan was at war with China and needed large amounts of oil to fuel its military. The U.S., which supplied the large portion of Japan’s oil needs, and which opposed the Japanese aggression toward China, took steps to punish Japan by placing an oil embargo against it. This infuriated Japan’s leaders and, soon after, they launched the attack on Pearl Harbor as deadly retribution.

In more recent times we have learned that one of the major reasons, quite likely the most important one, why the civil war which erupted in Syria was a dispute over the construction of a pipeline within that country. Qatar and Saudi Arabia were intent on transporting natural gas from Qatar utilizing a pipeline originating in Qatar and then proceeding through Syria and then onward to Europe.

When President Assad of Syria vehemently opposed the idea he was targeted for removal from office by those two countries, an objective fully supported by the U.S. government and some of its Western allies. The result was a U.S. bombing campaign, the entry of Russian air power and massive turmoil within that country resulting in hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing into other countries. But the word coming out of the Obama administration would have Americans believe it was all about ISIS terrorists.

As important as this development of new sources of energy may be, do we see any kind of aggressive programs being created by this Congress to work with the business sector to accelerate that development? Absolutely not; nothing of any kind is being done by this do-nothing, useless Congress.

*Healthcare:  as we know the American system of health care does not cover all Americans as is the case with the various countries of Europe and Scandinavia. It is very expensive for most Americans, with overall costs often being twice as much as many of those other Western nations.

It is, in fact, not a fully integrated health care system, but a combination of five separate systems; private medical coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare (the Affordable Health Care Act) and the Veterans Administration system. It is beset with mountains of tedious paperwork and fraudulent practices by many individuals and organizations within it that waste billions of taxpayer dollars.

Could America have a single payer, universal health care system which would cover all Americans, be far less expensive and far more effective? Without question, it could but all the special interests that profit greatly from this current highly faulted system are doing everything in their power to prevent that from happening. And the Congress bends to their dictates and does nothing to remedy the situation.

*Corporate money and power; anyone who recently watched the 60 Minutes segment in which U.S. Representative David Jolly, Republican of Florida, reported on the massive amount of time that members of Congress are forced to spend on fundraising would have come away with a feeling of disgust and revulsion.

He stated that the hierarchy of both parties requires its members to spend from 20-30 hours each week in contacting constituents in the solicitation of campaign contributions. Jolly, supported by a few Republicans and some Democrats, introduced legislation in January, called the Stop Act, which makes it illegal for members of the U.S. House and Senate to personally solicit donations.

Why should the American people pay each of these members of Congress $174,000 a year to spend some 30 hours a week to raise campaign funds? But that’s exactly what is happening as these “representatives of the people” do just that instead of spending that time in solving this country’s mounting problems.

While the best way to remove this money and power from our government would be to reverse the Citizens United Case this Congress has the power and authority to do that in a different way. It could develop appropriate campaign finance reform legislation that would pass any Constitutional test and would see that all corporate money would be banned from any and all Congressional functions; and that elections would be completely funded by a combination government/public system.

If these legislators would do that then they would no longer have to be slaves to the current system of fundraising and would be free to act in the best interests of this country; they would no longer have to fear corporate retribution if they didn’t toe the line. But the chances of that happening in the foreseeable future are slim to none; not in this worst of Congresses.

*Perpetual War: if this were a functional, effective Congress, not controlled by corporate money and power and the defense industry, we would not be engaged in constant wars and military confrontations around the world. If we had a Congress that acknowledged that these ongoing wars were sucking the wealth, the lifeblood out of this country and accomplishing nothing positive then it would be the dawn of a new America; one which would maintain a very powerful military but would not go to war unless it faced an imminent threat and there were no other options.

But if we think that this government and its many war hawks, who are obsessed with and addicted to perpetual war, are going to back off their deadly agenda  then we better think more deeply; and if we wait for Congress to act on this matter in any way we will wait forever.

This 21st Century U.S. government’s achievements are virtually non-existent while its failures are monumental. That’s why I believe that historians of the future will conclude that it is the worst in American history.


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.