Here are some things we must deal with. There are others too, but these are some we won’t be able to avoid. Solutions won’t come easy, and will take time. If we don’t tackle them, our future will be severely and negatively affected. So far we’re doing nothing about them.
We have lost equality
We know what our nation is supposed to be like. It’s supposed to be a democracy with equal opportunity for everyone. Our basic structure and laws are spelled out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which speak of “We, the People”. We have lost that to the cascade of mega-wealth that is buying laws favorable to itself, and unless Republicans decide to change their tune and work for the benefit of the country, we will find no solutions to current problems. Particularly over the past thirty years, we have slid ever faster down the slippery slope that crashes at plutocracy—rule by the rich—something we thought we had escaped from centuries ago. Already, 120 Americans die every day because they can’t afford medical care, while the fortunes of the rich skyrocket.
Our loss of equality will continue until we as united states, as united citizens, take back what we have lost by ending this nasty class war and re-establishing basic equality.
We are shedding too many jobs
It has been clear since the dawn of the Industrial Age that new technology destroys old jobs. New technology means fewer jobs, which is labeled “increased productivity” because fewer people accomplish the same work. But it doesn’t increase productivity for those who are displaced and unemployed. What is different today is that we are losing far more jobs than ever before, because new computer-related technology is ubiquitous, and is replacing so many jobs in every field. We don’t have ways for these displaced people to earn a living. This factor alone will create unsolvable unemployment more extensive than we have ever experienced in the past. Add to this the robotic revolution. The new generation of industrial robots may bring manufacturing back to the US, but it will do so at the expense of even greater loss of jobs.
We must find a way that everyone can work and generate enough income to support themselves and their families. We know what the plutocratic alternative looks like, and it’s ugly.
The work week is too long
The most logical and immediate solution to the problem of not enough jobs is to redefine the work week. The standard work week once consisted of 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, so it’s not like shortening the work week has never happened before. When unions became powerful in the mid-20th century, they were able to demand the 40-hour week we have now. The country thrived.
The time has come to change it again. The final result must be that all those who need jobs—which is at least one per family—will be able to find one. Income from every job must be adequate to provide for all essentials, plus medical care and retirement, however they are financed. The work week will no doubt be considerably shorter. Only a national law will be sufficient to establish this.
The fly in the ointment is that people must somehow earn enough in a shortened work week to live on. Not so easily accomplished when real wages have actually declined for decades for millions of full-time workers who were already underpaid, and who can’t even buy essential goods on their present earnings.
The global climate is changing ever faster.
It is decades too late to do anything about climate change. We are reaping the fruits of our folly from past decades, when we were repeatedly warned that we must take action immediately. Now it’s too late, and we are compelled to deal with the consequences of our inactivity. The recent results include hurricane Sandy, record drought, falling water table, record snowfall, flooding, wildfire, swarms of tornados, several severe heat waves, and coastal flooding. Every monthly planetary temperature record has occurred in the past two decades.
Worse, the carbon industry and their political servants want to make it worse. As long as they make more money, everything is OK, they think. They want to drill many more oil wells, dig many more coal mines, frack much more gas, into the infinite future, creating ever worsening climate change, when all evidence suggests we have already passed the tipping point leading to genuine worldwide catastrophe.
One foot of sea level rise is likely in the next decade or two, yet we’re still doing almost nothing. It will only get worse because of our continuing failure to stop pumping heat-trapping agents into the atmosphere, especially in the US, the world’s worst polluter. The only thing we can do now is to try to figure out ways to deal with the changes.
We could try to keep it from getting worse, but that would take a monumental unprecedented worldwide effort, and we can’t even agree to do something, anything, just in the US, the world’s greatest producer of greenhouse gasses. Worse yet, Republicans are determined to pretend that major increases of greenhouse gasses will have no effect. What if we discover this year’s major changes from drought and high temperature are permanent? How would we deal with major losses of vegetable and fruit crops if California’s Central Valley went dry? How would we deal with permanent fresh water losses anywhere? (The deeper wells already being drilled in the middle part of the country suggest that it is already happening.) What happens when seaside cities become permanently flooded? All these things will affect every one of us.
Global climate change will soon make all other concerns seem inconsequential.