By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
In a fast-paced world, the needs of daily living trump everything else.
I’m going to guess that today, only weeks after Robert Mueller’s vaunted report, a lot more Americans are worried about putting food on the table than impeaching our 45th president.
Try as he might to get our attention, Donald Trump is simply not living up to the priorities that most people attach to the more pedestrian elements of their lives. Things like health care. Good jobs. Cost of medicine. World peace. Safety. Security. For that matter, safety of Social Security.
Even last night’s box score holds more interest to some people than anything the president did during the same timeframe.
And yet, save for the box-score part, the president is mightily involved with all the aforementioned topics — or should be. No person has more potential influence over the outcome of so many important subjects.
Still, the Executive Office is only one-branch on the three-armed tree that supports this country. The miracle of minds that decided upon the separation of powers also gave us Congress and the Supreme Court. And while the court seems to plod on by plan, occasionally snagged by the unpredictable, Congress seems to have greatly lost its way, struggling to understand its responsibility amid the tension that defines modern America.
Sticking with the box-score theme, Trump/Congress are battling to the end, with the game tied and no one on base.
Or, looked at another way, the rest of us don’t have a chance of winning if some real leaders don’t step up to the plate.
While the pols fixate on impeachment, here is what’s not getting done:
– The U.S. national debt is $22.2 trillion. It has grown by almost $3 trillion since Trump’s inauguration, abetted by the wild-spending ways of both Democrats and Republicans.
– Increasingly, people are illegally crossing our border, mindful that not much is happening to fix the problems in their countries that are driving them here nor the situation in our country that encourages them to keep crossing. That scenario, that lack of decisive action regarding immigration, has existed for the last several presidential administrations.
– The divide between upper and lower class has widened to the point that some experts say the top 1 percent control as much as 90 percent of the wealth. The only fix is fostering conditions that allow the poor to advance, such as education, jobs, crime control and adequate health care. Oh, and compassion for their circumstances.
– The cost of medicine, the growth of painkillers, and the advance of the most potent, illegal, cheap narcotics ever known have placed an entire generation at risk of not being healthy — or of becoming addicted. What an irony, in this great country, that so many of us cannot afford the drugs that can save us but can afford the illegal ones that can kill us.
I read recently where Medicare might be insolvent by 2026 and that Social Security might do the same by 2035. Given the aging of our society, it seems inevitable that a catastrophe is in the making — without some real action. And we’ve known this for years.
For two years we’ve been stuck with this endless news cycle regarding the president’s ineptness and all the reasons that he should be gone. However, that should be a decision of the electorate in 2020, not Congress in 2019.
There are too many other priorities. I’m afraid we’re so focused on the president that we’re losing sight of the real ball. And we risk getting bonked at the plate.
Dennis Grubaugh is editor and partner of the Illinois Business Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or (618) 977-6865.
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH