As I See It
A number of readers have commented to me that my bi-weekly columns have taken a dim view of our future by dwelling on all the bad news we are hearing. Looking back over what I have written over the past year, I have to agree. So let’s take a look at what I find to be of great concern about our future.First comes population. During the last century, world population has tripled, and the population of the United States has nearly quadrupled, now being driven by uncontrolled immigration. As a result, both our country and the world are facing growing shortages of essential resources, the most critical of which is water. In this country, a deteriorating highway system is no longer able to handle the burgeoning traffic, leading to massive congestion in nearly all of our urban areas. And loss of habitat due to massive development is a driving force, along with global warming, in the massive worldwide extinction of wildlife species.The 20th Century population explosion, coupled with rapidly growing industrialization, particularly in China and India, has increased the world’s consumption of fossil fuels tenfold, pushing gas and petroleum demand to the limits of production capacity, driving atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to the highest level in centuries and causing a rapid rise in world temperatures. It is not pleasant to contemplate a future of declining energy availability and escalating energy costs, and the climate changes and rising ocean levels caused by continuing global warming.Next, let’s turn our attention to the Middle East mess. If there is any basis for optimism over the deteriorating conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing power of terrorism in the world, I have missed it. The resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaida, operating from a safe haven in the lawless tribal areas of western Pakistan, has been made possible by the support of the Pakistanis, and the tacit approval and cooperation of the government of Pakistan. The recent national Intelligence Estimate, prepared by our own government, acknowledges that our actions in the Middle East are creating more terrorists than we are destroying. The situation in Iraq is turning into the civil war that many have been predicting for years, and is in danger of spawning a religion-driven conflict against what we call Western Civilization – a jihad that could go on for decades.In addition, we have a long list of economic problems. First, our government has adopted a credit-card mentality, paying for the hundreds of billions of dollars we are squandering in Iraq, not by raising taxes, but by increasing the national debt burden on the next generations. Second, our negative trade balance (imports versus exports) was $650 billion in 2004, and has been increasing at a rate of $100 billion per year. How long can this go on without severe economic repercussions? Third, though the stock market recently hit a new high, which is good for those with significant assets, the vast majority of working Americans are seeing their real wages declining, while the costs of medical care and a college education spiral out of reach.Sadly, we are now learning about the extent to which corruption and moral turpitude have permeated the highest levels of our federal government during the past five years.And on the local front, we are seeing our pine and aspen forests dying out, and our schools being ravished by a rash of anti-social behavior.So as I say, “Show me the good news.” Gas prices are going down! I hope that in the upcoming election, we are not so stupid that we will let this minor development distract us from all of the truly serious problems that are threatening the future of our country.
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