Five Important Political Issues that are Ignored and Need to be Addressed
In the media, as well as in political speeches and press releases many political issues are brought up over and over again like the economy, taxation, and the wars overseas. These issues may be legitimate problems for the government, but there are many other issues that are rarely mentioned and just as important. Many of the major problems in the United States, like the economy, can be broken down into many smaller issues. Here are five huge problems that need to be addressed, by voters, the people in office, and the media.
The war on drugs has a huge effect on governmental spending, and the United States judicial system. Even though the war on drugs is not a popular issue among politicians or the media, it effects almost every citizen and has international implications. In 2009 alone 52 billion dollars was spent on the state and federal level on the war on drugs. Astonishingly 55% of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug relates offences. Finding another approach to the 'war on drugs' would help the economy, the prison system, and foreign relations. Every years thousands of Mexicans are killed by cartels trafficking drugs bound for the United States. The United States even dumps round-up over the jungles of Colombia and Venezuela by aircraft ruining local food crops, the wildlife, and causing extreme health concerns. Marijuana legalization has become an increasing popular issue among the public, but a complete overhaul of the United States government's view of drugs needs to take place before things can rally change.
The United States has the highest officially reported per capita incarceration population in the world. Every person incarcerated costs the government approximately $22,632 (2001), which is in turn paid by the taxpayer. Interestingly the conviction rate in the United States doesn't make it the most imprisoned nation on the world, but rather the conviction sentence. In the United States prisoners are given much longer sentences for similar crimes, compared to other nations, especially those that are non violent. Over 50% of the people in jail are non-violent. The government has also privatized incarceration, meaning that huge corporations like Corrections Corporation of America get billions of dollars in revenue, and hundreds of millions of dollars in net income. In a modern society that emphasizes personal freedom, incredible prison populations and harsh judicial policies should be a serious issue.
With the economy state a hot topic right now, military spending is seldom talked about. The United States spends astronomical amounts of money on the military, both for national defense and overseas wars. Plans in congress designed to deal with the debt problem are focused around cutting social programs, an insignificant expenditure when compared to the United States Armed Forces. When Soviet Russia collapsed, excessive military spending was the culprit, with an estimated 15-17% of their GNP in the late 1980s consumed by the military. Currently the United states has almost 5% of it's GDP constricted by military spending, around 700 billion dollars. Having that high of military expenditures is difficult to explain, especially when compared to other nations. This issue really needs to be addressed, and closely tied to the national debt.
Bar Graph of Various Nations Defense Expenditures
With the USA PATRIOT Act, and institutions like Guantanamo Bay the 2000s have been hard on personal rights. The Patriot Act violates the American people's fourth amendment rights by allowing wire taps, and other breaches of personal privacy, without a court ordered warrant. The government's use of Guantanamo Bay completely disregards the legal action of Habeas Corpus, which guarantees that detainees can't be held without trial. These infringements to constitutional rights should be a major issue with every American citizen who believes in the values that the United States was built upon.
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Benjamin Franklin
Money is power, and when 43% of the money is in the hands of 1% of the people you know the system isn't fairly taxing and distributing wealth. Before anyone ignorantly yells "Communist!" read this. When an impoverished mother of four gets a higher income tax on her minimum wage job than a millionaire stockbroker who doesn't have to pay a falsely named "death tax" you know that there are problems with the distribution of taxes and wealth. With the bush tax cuts income inequality was dramatically increased, with a portion of the rich population's taxes placed on the middle and lower classes. This has led to the middle class shrinking, and the upper class getting much wealthier. With the United States in a recession the legislative branch of the government has cut social programs and increased taxes on the lower class, while the bush tax cuts for the rich stay in effect. The gap between the poor and the wealthy in America is ever widening, an important issue for the vast majority of Americans who have to pay for the rapidly expanding wallets of the billionaires.
Every time a zoo keeper needs to clean the monkey cage he gives the monkies a shiny ball to distract them while he brings the shit out the back door.
Politics are the same. Politicians and the media constantly bring up issues that are not very important, but appeal to people's morals. When people talk about politics their arguments on an issue are rarely based around data and logic, but rather what they "feel." Issues like abortion, stem cell research, and gay rights are insignificant compared to the issues listed above, yet they are the ones talked about. These issues don't require any research, or analysis they only require a person to cast judgement and apply their feelings to the legislative process. Gay rights really only effect the gay population. It's really a non issue, simple human rights, yet it's a national issue that takes up considerable airtime on TV. Meanwhile, the United States Judicial system is crumbling under the pressure of the war on drugs, the middle class is collapsing, military spending is going through the roof, prison populations are incredibly high, and we have lost our rights to privacy and due process. In order to deal with many of the problems that our country faces we need to see through the distractions, find out how candidates stand on important issues, and vote for elected officials that will bring up and deal with the actual issues that our country faces. Do you want to fix the United States' economy? If we solve the problems above the government would become much more efficient, the national debt would dramatically decrease, and we would become much happier and more prosperous nation.
Which issue is of greatest concern to you?
If you select "other" feel free to list another understated issue that needs to be addressed in the comments below. Thank you for reading!