The 21st Century presented America with exciting new opportunities; what in the world happened?

The stagnation, the regression that plagues America will continue. One day the people of America might rise up to put an end to it. But when is that ever going to happen?


Well, not much at all has happened in these past 16 plus years. The opportunities weren’t seized, the new directions weren’t taken and America lapsed into a state of stagnation. Its economy has been very lifeless, its middle class dying, and it’s once unique creative and innovative capabilities have been minimal at best.

It’s incomprehensible how a country that once possessed such an intense drive for excellence has regressed in recent decades. Yes, the 21st Century did provide tremendous new opportunities for America but they were not taken when we had presidents such as G.W. Bush, followed by Barack Obama. And now with Trump as president, we can just forget about new opportunities and new horizons.

If America is so wealthy and exceptional why is it that we have so many unaddressed problems?

And when we are bemoaning this country’s inability to move forward to achieve great things let’s not forget the U.S Congress which is clearly an anchor dragging America down, an albatross around its neck.

The U.S. is supposedly the wealthiest nation in the world and many politicians continue to mistakenly proclaim it to be exceptional. So if America is so wealthy and exceptional why is it that we have so many unaddressed problems and so many new opportunities there for the taking with no leaders to take them to fruition.

For those who disagree with the above premise about this condition of stagnation and regression and think that this country is doing just fine and proceeding down the right path, then they need to do this: please identify those outstanding achievements or advancements that have been made in this country since the turn of the century.

Now let’s examine just a few of these meaningful new opportunities to strengthen this country that should have been seized years ago, that should have become top priorities for aggressive development to make America truly exceptional.


What is more important for a nation and its people to have than a really effective, affordable healthcare system that covers all of its citizens, one that is the key to long and healthy lives?

America doesn’t have one healthcare system it actually has five. There is private medical coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and the VA, the Veterans Administration system. While there are some connections between them they mainly run independently and all of them are loaded down with massive paperwork that is a giant burden on the doctors, hospitals, the government and insurance companies.

Attempting to maintain five different systems makes for a great deal of ineffectiveness, together with a very large cost per capita, nearly twice as much as is the case for the universal health systems commonly found in Europe and Scandinavia.

What is the answer for creating a far better, much less costly system that covers all Americans? That should be a no-brainer. Senator Bernie Sanders talked about it time and time again. It’s what’s called Medicare for all Americans and, with the right people doing the transition; it would be the best and most effective way of providing healthcare for everyone. Sure Medicare has problems but they can easily be fixed.

Doing this would solve many problems that adversely affect many millions of Americans. This could be done, it should be done but we just don’t have the leaders to make this happen.

Our national infrastructure

We keep hearing that we must initiate an aggressive program to repair and rebuild our national infrastructure; our highways, the Interstate, bridges, waterways, the electrical grid and other areas. There are millions of new jobs that could be created. It would take about $1 trillion to bring this system up to normal, acceptable standards and, even then, it would still lag far behind many of those world class systems in Europe.

Solar power

Making the development of solar power and other forms of alternative energy should have been a top priority of this government many decades ago but this government has completely failed to understand the tremendous impact that it would have on America going into the future.

Control over the supply and distribution routes of oil has caused a great many wars over time. The question should not be about how many wars this obsession with oil has started but, rather, how many wars were not started because of oil.

Solar power development has been put on the back burner and nothing of substance has been done because of the very powerful corporations that keep making massive profits from the sale of oil; who refuse to spend the many billions that would be required to develop solar power and the other alternatives. And, as we know, these corporations and their dictates are closely followed by the members of Congress

Many people have no idea relative to one of the biggest reasons why the tragic war in Syria is being waged. It is, without a doubt, a civil war over who will control the Syrian government. But the underlying reasons for it are directly connected with the construction of pipelines, primarily for natural gas, through that country and into European markets.

Making solar power development a top priority would be comparable to the initiation of America’s space program.

Close observers know that this bloody war was initiated largely because the nation of Qatar, which has massive amounts of natural gas reserves, and its close ally, Saudi Arabia, had an arrangement with President Assad of Syria to construct one or more gas pipelines in Syria and then he suddenly backed out of it. And that led to this massive conflict that has devastated this country and millions of its people.

Making solar power development a top priority would be comparable to the initiation of America’s space program. But little to nothing is being done and the insane wars involving oil, gas, and pipelines continue unabated.

Tax reform, inequality of income

When you have all new income flowing up to the top what you are doing is continuing to stagnate this economy. The U.S. now has about 10.5 million people or households with total assets of at least $1 million, aka millionaires; it also has some 540 billionaires.

How much more wealth do these Americans at the highest levels of the income spectrum need? They have so much and keep acquiring more. Does anyone think that they are the main contributors to the consumer purchasing power that drives the economy? The economy, when it was booming, was primarily fueled by the purchasing power of the middle class.

Let’s stop talking about tax reform and get moving on doing something constructive. Lower corporate taxes to a more reasonable level but close all the many loopholes that allow tax avoidance. Develop a plan by which corporations would be given generous tax breaks to bring back trillions of dollars from various types of tax havens overseas and invest them in this country. A great deal of those funds could be used to repair and rebuild the infrastructure.

Make certain that those corporations that are serious about bringing jobs back to America can obtain significant tax concessions but also assess heavy penalties for those who refuse to use such measures to invest in this country and create new jobs.

Job creation

We keep hearing about the need in America to create millions of new jobs but when is the last time anyone, especially Congress, did anything concrete to make a plan to set it into motion.

Give people jobs, get them working and we can save billions upon billions in programs like food stamps and unemployment payments. And when we have millions of new jobs those who return to work will spend a great deal of money on essentials and items like housing and cars; and then this stagnated economy will once again return to being vibrant and growing. Consumer purchasing power is what we need to elevate this economy too much higher levels.

What is astounding is that this Congress doesn’t hesitate to pour billions of taxpayer dollars into the U.S. military empire all around the world. It recently approved a $54 billion increase in the already greatly bloated military budget.

The good news? There isn’t any, not right now. The bad news? Well…

There is no limit to the amount of money available for perpetual war but it’s difficult if not impossible to appropriate necessary funds for critically important domestic needs such as those outlined above. We need new leaders with a vision for the future and we just don’t have them. The likes of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and the rest of this do nothing Congress will never get it done.

The good news? There isn’t any, not right now. The bad news? Well, with the White House, Trump and the Republicans in charge and falling into a state of turmoil, and with the announcement of the stunning news that a special prosecutor has been appointed to lead the Russian investigation, don’t look for this pathetic government to develop new programs to strengthen the foundations of America. It will continue to do nothing but practice defensive politics.

The stagnation, the regression that plagues America will continue. One day the people of America might rise up to put an end to it. But when is that ever going to happen?


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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.