Reform America
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Politics & Power

What's new on The American Borders Forum this week? Preview pane at the bottom of the page.

Reforming America: What Is Actually Broken?

When we sit around and talk about fixing the broken system how much thought do we give to what the real underlying problems are? We fall back on what weíve heard the pundits or our preferred political candidates say is wrong most of the time but how often do we do the research to see what the problems really are and what is causing them?

Take for example crime; has it increased per capita or is it just that with the advent of the 24 hour news cycle and the fact that violent stories get more attention we are more exposed to information about crimes than we were in the past? Are our prisons overcrowded because there is more crime on average or simply because our population has grown to the point where we no longer have adequate facilities to house the relatively static percentage of our population with a tendency to commit criminal acts? If a higher percentage of people are committing crimes, why? What caused the change in behavior? Is it something that can be fixed?

The truth is that we donít focus on the examination of problems but rather of rhetoric. We become so focused on what some supposed authority is saying we should feel about the latest crisis that we donít think to stop and make sure they are accurate in their assertions that there is something we should be worried about in the first place. If you actually look at FBI crime statistics for America, crime rates have gone down over the last two decades. In 1989 there were approximately 667 violent crimes and 5,107 property crimes per 100,000 people. In 2008 there were approximately 455 violent crimes and 3,213 property crimes per 100,000 people. What happened between 1989 and 2008 is that the US population grew from 246,819,230 to 304,059,724. Over fifty million more people live in our nation than did in 1989. More crimes were committed in total because there were simply more people to commit them.

On another front is education. According to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in 1990 the high school graduation rate was approximately 71%. In 2006 that rate had dropped to approximately 69%. In the intervening years the rate has risen and fallen with the 2006 numbers being higher than average for the time period in question. So do we have a problem or is between 65-70% of our students graduating high school pretty normal for our country? Is that the proper rate to ensure that we can sustain our economy with some unskilled workers, some moderately skilled workers and some highly skilled workers?

If we are to look for things to change in our nation we need to know what actually needs to be changed. Change for change sake is not always a wise course of action. Sometimes change brings about unforeseen consequences that result in far more harm than good. While we want to think that everyone should have the chance to be President, we all know that not everyone can be. We still need janitors and garbage collectors to keep our society functioning and one does not need a college degree to fulfill the duties of a janitor or garbage collector. In fact if that is your intended career path, college is a bit of a waste of time for you. It might serve you well if you get on Jeopardy but in the day to day routine of a janitor or garbage collector you wonít need to understand the principles of astrophysics or calculus.

The point is that we need to focus on real problems and be fairly pragmatic in our examination of the state of our nation. Just because someone screams from a mountain top that the sky is falling and that they know because theyíre closer to the sky than we are does not mean that the sky is actually falling. Every so often itís a good idea to look up for yourself and see if the sky is indeed falling or if there is just some idiot up on the hill screaming about an imaginary emergency. In a perfect world there would be no crime, everyone would get their shot at being king for a day and nobody would have to clean toilets. We donít live in that world. We live in the real world where there will likely always be a certain percentage of people that will do bad things, be emotionally or socially unsuited for anything but manual labor and never have any higher aspirations than getting stoned that night. All the hope and change in the world will not change that some people are destined for success and others are not.

There are real problems that need real solutions. We just need to learn to tell the difference between real and imagined problems. Perhaps our rapidly growing population is causing us problems. Maybe capitalism is flawed in its basic premise and that is causing us problems. There are numerous things we can look to as sources of our miseries but we need to make sure that what we point to as a problem is actually a problem before we try to fix it. If we want to fix something we might think about taking a look at the air and water quality around the world. We all need air to breath and water to drink. If we donít have enough of those things then our species will die and that would be a real problem.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom | Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net





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