America, aka The United States, came out of World War II as a new world leader. It has been a little over 62 years and our leadership appears to be in jeopardy.
We will be history's shortest "Empire" or "World Leader" in terms of longevity unless we can return to that fine leadership that got us here. There are serious issues that are, in fact, turning into critical problems for us because we have no apparent leaders that can face these issues head on and provide us with the prescription to overcome them.
We need a viable prescription or else the issue that is becoming a problem will fester into critical mass and bring our society down like a lead balloon. There are nine major problems that need immediate attention if we are to survive as a world leader. Here they are:
• Social Security System – This program has accumulated a debt we cannot pay. It was a slick "ponzi game" created before the big war. Blacks would pay a disproportionate amount into the system as our lifespan was quite less than Whites. A bigger boom was the enormous increase in population after the World War II that created more into the coffers for a small retirement population.
That has significantly changed. This system is over $1 trillion in debt and we don't have a clue as to how we can fix it. Our politicians are saying "Don't Worry."
• National Debt – We are over $14 trillion in debt to the world. This is a record level and we have no strategy on how we can alleviate it. Our biggest creditor, to everyone's shock, is China, who holds 20 percent of this debt. If they were to call it in, our dollar would shrink to pennies.
Already, the Euro (European currency) is whipping our dollar like never before. Our politicians are saying "Don't Worry."
• Healthcare – This is a total crisis. Companies can no longer afford to offer it to their workforce and individuals cannot even begin to provide adequate coverage for their families. We are a first world nation with a third world healthcare delivery system. A third world delivery system at the highest costs known to the world, it's a living tragedy.
There was a time when doctors were rich and the masses were healthy. The doctors are no longer rich and we can't afford to be healthy. Our politicians are saying "Don't Worry."
• Terrorism – No time in history has a nation so strong be in the grips of fear due to a few minute idiots. Terrorists living in caves and bent on suicide are holding us in total fear. Rules and laws are being generated at the expense and quality of life of the general public because our security and intelligence forces have become totally inept. The CIA which was born from World War II, seems to be impotent. Our politicians are saying "Don't Worry."
• Education – A decent education for our children should be a right and not a privilege. If we cannot rely on a viable public education system, then we are going to produce inferior readiness for this competing global society. We can no longer lead the world if we cannot educate our children. We don't have a clue as to what will solve this problem. Our politicians say "Don't Worry."
• Trade Imbalance – 40 percent of what is in your grocery store's produce and fruit section comes from another nation. Our manufacturing plants are closing down and moving to other countries.
Their products will be sold back to us. Our manufacturing prowess was the key to our victory in World War II. Today, it is only a memory of what it once was. We buy more than we sell and our jobs are dwindling. Our politicians say "Don't Worry."
• Military Collapse – Our once proud military machine is a skeleton of what it once was. As a veteran of the U.S. Army, I am appalled at how we operate our military today. Reserves are used as regular troops and the combat strain on them and their families is enormous. Never have our troops been so demoralized as today. We are so weak that there can be no exit strategy regardless of the conflict. Our politicians say "Don't Worry."
• Sub-Prime Mortgages — The easy credit rip-offs have now hit our neighborhoods. Millions of Americans, especially Blacks, are losing their American Dream (home and property). As we get kicked out into the streets due to reckless financing schemes, all we can do is cry and face a credit collapse. Our politicians say "Don't Worry."
Don't worry? Hell, I am terrified! Can we find a JFK type of president and Congress this time?
Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.