America is not Compatible with America's Democracy
Debate Rounds (3)
Second round is opening statement.
Third round is rebuttal.
To clarify, by America's people I mean the citizens of the United States (or Canada). By compatible, I mean that America's current SYSTEM OF DEMOCRACY (not democracy itself) mixed with the overall character of the American people is bringing the nation backwards.
I will be arguing that America is not compatible with America's system of democracy.
I believe the reasoning behind America"s stagnation (and Canada"s stagnation, which has been left in the dust by its fellow commonwealth, Australia), lies behind the incompatibility of America"s system of democracy with her current people. The same rules of governance which have ensured America"s rise and success on the international stage are bringing it back to earth.
Regarding economic inequality (some of the passages I derived off an article that I wrote):
In a TED talk, Dambisa Moyo commented that out of today"s democratic countries, 50% are illiberal. Most of these countries are located in Africa. The reasoning behind this is the absence of the middle class. It is the middle class that can guarantee equality, by holding the leaders and elites accountable. Since the Great Recession, there has been a hollowing out of the middle class.
Running for office has gradually become more expensive: the 2012 American presidential elections cost well over 2 billion dollars. This massive budget has led to a series of "compromises" between political leaders and wealthy businessmen. Coupled with the decreasing transparency of this process, the welfare of the majority are safely overlooked for the prospects of a few elites.
About a third of the wealth of the United States is controlled by 1% of its population: oil tycoons, corporate officers, and media owners who blatantly abuse their powers. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, the very men and women who caused the economic downturn enjoyed record bonuses and dividends, as American taxpayers poured billions of dollars into the banks. By taking advantage of information asymmetries, these multimillionaires essentially blackmailed the other 99%, insisting that the American public would suffer if their corporations were not given more money " and no politician wants to be held responsible for the demise of the economy.
Lobbyists have grown far more influential in the running of this country than average voters. Businessmen and bankers have been using their influence to fatten their own pockets, at the expense of the American country and economy.
Democracy is based on trust, especially between politicians and voters. Voters expect politicians to fulfill their promises.
The division between American people and American politicians has grown. Politicians give empty promises, and refuse to give any concrete action. Author of "On Writing Well" William Zinsser derides the vagueness of a politician"s words. During a previous crisis, Zinsser reported a politician to have said: "We see brighter clouds every day", but a deeper interpretation would reveal that the clouds were still dark. Even Barack Obama, who campaigned "change you can believe in", really "only moved chairs on the Titanic", in the words of Nobel economist Joseph Stieglitz. He employed almost the same Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as President Bush, with Ben Bernanke at the head. Because of circumlocution and the lack of concrete action, citizens have grown distrustful of politicians in recent days, damaging a relationship that plays an integral part in democracy. This corrosion will lead to dissention and the social fabric which binds us together will begin to fall apart, as evidenced by the Wall Street movement. Furthermore, politicians are sometimes self-serving. They only wish for citizens to be "prosperous" under the years of their term (which is a short 4 years), with no thought for later years, no long term plan. They could lower taxes and raise welfare, accumulating massive amounts of debt, then hand over the problems they have created to the next presidency, and wipe their hands clean. But this wouldn"t be a problem if the American citizens were worldly-wise, which brings me to my next point.
Regarding the American people:
However, as much as voters expect politicians to fulfill their promise, politicians also need the voters to commit their utmost to their projects. However, most citizens today are ignorant and unmotivated.
About 50% of Canadian people are to some degree financially illiterate. Many people seem to think that a machine spits out the money. Only fifty-nine percent of the young adults in the United States in Generation Y (ages eighteen to twenty-none) pay their bills on time every month. (2008 Financial Literacy Survey National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc. and MSN Money). These people have no idea how the world around them works, yet they are deciding their country"s leader, their future, and their children"s future, based on a whim or the empty promises of politicians. Many citizens blindly threw their money into the housing bubble prior to the financial crisis, later losing their life savings. Many cheer at politician"s promises of higher welfare and lower taxes, unaware of the debt they are accumulating.
Many American and Canadian people have lost the virtues of their forefathers. Their perseverance, and their dedication are only a few of the qualities lost. The Toronto Rocket, for instance, is one of the most expensive yet most inefficient subway systems in the world. The employees receive ridiculously high salaries (higher than local teachers) while enjoying excellent welfare, for the easiest jobs imaginable. City workers at Windsor went on strike during the Great Recession, even though some were receiving $75 an hour. Instead of protecting worker rights, Union power has been abused, impeding the American growth. The over excess of individualism, and debasing of collectivism, has not been good for America as a whole.
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