State of the Union: Solutions to Real Problems, or Rhetoric?

Will the State of the Union Address Provide Solutions?

MUNCIE, Indiana – Morton Marcus starts off a recent OpEd titled, When is Enough Enough, writing, “From what I understand, most Hoosiers are more concerned about the economy than they are about same-sex marriage, alcohol at the State Fair, or any of the other inconsequential matters now occupying the General Assembly”. We’d like to add our federal government as another slinger of dung among Hoosiers and the American people.

The Oligarchs push their beliefs on us through a system of academia and “reporting” in the newspapers which they own. It’s comical to watch this program repeat itself time and time again. It’s a game of propaganda and rhetoric with the sole purpose of burying us so deep in worthless shit we have to sift a lifetime trying to discern what it all means.

For instance, health reports are coming out again and they still show Indiana’s wellness in the bottom tenth of the country, yet our lawmakers defeated a bill meant to expand Medicaid since our Governor dislikes Obama. Every state around us now is expanding Medicaid because refusing to do so guarantees the state loses hundreds of millions from the federal government – tax dollars which Hoosiers already send to Washington. Instead of us getting those tax dollars back, the federal government is sending to the smart governors surrounding our borders. Brilliant!

Unless you’ve been on vacation to sunny Florida, the paid for academic shills in Hoosierville have been peddling the Oligarchs favorite myth  – “The poor have no money because they make poor choices. They have just the same ability to be millionaires like everyone else…opportunities are all around for the taking, but they’d rather do drugs or have sex.”

I guess if you believe poor teenagers are the only ones having sex or experimenting with drugs and alcohol, then maybe this myth still lives in your Kingdom.

But if you appreciate statistics, we have 49% of Hoosier children qualifying for free and reduced lunches. For Muncie Community School Districts, we’re now at 73% of kids qualify for free or reduced lunches. These are real issues.

If you’d like to explore this database, it’s an excellent website supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation where you can compute any number of data points about schools. You’ll learn this is NOT the exception, but rather the rule across the United States. They show a disturbing trend which has gotten worse, not better.

Is this a problem of lazy kids with drug ridden parents, or is there something else going on?

When you take a look at these negative trends, and compare them to legislation and policies being made in Indiana and across the United States, it does raise obvious questions. None of which are being addressed. Our education reform in this state does not address poverty…in fact, they are making existing problems even worse. If it makes you feel any better, Indiana isn’t alone.

According to an October 2013 report from the Southern Education Foundation, 48% of the nation’s 50 million public-school students were in low-income families (qualified for free or reduced-price meals). This level of child poverty implicates not just lack of access to breakfast or lunch, but the children face:

  • Housing insecurity
  • Lack of resources available at the local school
  • Lack of resources available in the child’s home and community
  • Living in an unsafe community
  • Lacking access to enriching programs after school and over the summer
  • Lack of access to medical and dental care
  • Increasingly higher expectations that educators have for a child’s academic and employment future
  • The likelihood of the child being subjected to disproportionate discipline and being pushed into the school-to-prison pipeline
  • Lack of practical and affordable college options

These are real issues facing half our kids in this nation.

So, in advance of the State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, we wonder if he’ll be promoting the same message of the U.S. is improving, but not everybody is participating in the recovery speech we’ve heard since he took office, or will we get something real.

I hope the POTUS has visited the interesting website from the really smart folks at MIT which calculates costs of living across the United States. If you are a single parent of one child living in Delaware County, you need to make $17.31 an hour to make a “living wage”. With our service driven economy, you’d be lucky to make half that amount, which means working poor or poverty. And since Governor Pence refuses to help them out, you’re one hospital emergency room visit away from financial devastation or bankruptcy.

When you look at all the mounting evidence, it really helps cut through the meaningless drivel we hear by our elected officials and the on-air personalities hired to read scripted notes about current events.

We need to wake up from our deep sedation where everything is just fine…”Our government and business leaders know what they’re doing and are bringing us solutions which will make everything better…all we have to do is trust the system and it will get better.”

We’ve been “trusting the system” and guess what? We learned from Oxfam last week that “the world’s 85 richest people own the same amount as the bottom half of the entire global population,” which is over 7 billion people.

I’m afraid the truth is our elected officials are part of the problem, therefore, we cannot expect them to offer up a realistic solution. They are entrapped within a system owned by the Oligarchs. The progressives are hammering at it from the left and the libertarians are chiseling away from the right. The libertarians want no government, while the progressives want a government which works for the people. They can both get what they want if they stop fighting against one another and compromise.

Although, while I was editing this article, I saw on Twitter that the republican caucus in Arizona is attacking Sen. John McCain for being too congenial with the democrats – he’s too liberal. Longtime Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar similarly got attacked for voting too often with democrats, so I don’t think the Tea Party are interested in “compromise”.

There was a recent article in The Economist addressing, “Why aren’t the serfs protesting in the streets”. Their conclusion was, “Maybe the gradual demise of the labor movement and the power differential between rich and poor Americans make it unlikely we will see a raid on the barricades any time soon.”

Ah, maybe we have more than a “wealth or income inequality problem” in this country, and in this state. More on that later…right now we’re focused on the 2014 State of the Union.

Tonight at 9:00pm…SOTU address by a democrat president followed by a republican rebuttal. Will those in power put forth a plan to exercise their “power” by helping the people, or will they simply broadcast more manure toward the plebeians hoping we’ll disperse and go back quietly into our small villages and resume working in the fields.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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