Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fact or Fiction? It’s Hard to Tell These Days.

America is in decline. Many people, both left and right, would agree with this. When you ask what the reasons are for the decline, however, responses will be all over the board, from gay marriage to the Federal Reserve to The New World Order. So how do we come to any kind of consensus on the problem when there are as many answers as there are blogs on the Internet?

Back in the old days, or maybe it was just a dream I had, we used to rely on facts to lead us to solutions. We sifted through the known data and then made decisions based on what the information was telling us. That approach is not how we deal with things in 2012. Today, ideology, superstition and corporatism have replaced debate and consensus. Simple facts are now disputed. Genuine solutions are attacked as ideological assaults. Common sense is questioned if it does not fall into line with the religious doctrine popular at the moment. A fog of obfuscation hangs over this country.

Perhaps there is no such thing as a totally objective fact, but in order for this country to avoid total paralysis and make policy decisions and move forward, we have to select, and agree on, some set of data in order to even say, “Here’s a problem that needs to be addressed.” Then comes the even more difficult task of coming up with a solution. So is there objective data out there that points to a serious problem that exists in this country; data that isn’t from a political think tank or corporate PR agency? In my opinion (and yes, I admit I am a biased observer) there is, and it reveals a crucial problem that needs to be addressed: Income disparity and the destruction of America’s middle class.

Of course, here’s the real problem. The data may conflict with your ideology. So the million-dollar question is this: Is there a problem with the facts or does your ideology need adjusting to accommodate the facts? At least ask yourself that question.

Here are the facts. Decide for yourself.

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