American Nero’s Fiddling

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Posted: Nov 18, 2021 1:09 PM
American Nero’s Fiddling

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Nero’s fiddling is an apt metaphor for the misplaced priorities of the progressive movement in American politics.

While America’s enemies abroad gain major advancements in military strength, the Biden Administration delivered to Congress a defense budget that essentially reduced the Pentagon’s purchasing power by 3%.

It wasn’t part of a general belt-tightening. In fact, even as the U.S. endured a $28 trillion debt, the White House actively pursued a stunning $3.5 trillion legislative initiative intentionally mislabeled as infrastructure, to obscure its real goal: a massive giveaway more designed to a model disastrously employed in Venezuela now and the Soviet Union in the past.

While both Social Security and Medicare face solvency crises in the coming years, which will rob U.S. citizenry of the returns they worked long and hard for, the left proposes granting access to similar benefits to those who never earned them.

Paying for those schemes prioritizes raising taxes over job creation. The sophomoric attempt to hike corporate taxes to pay for these schemes simply chases employment overseas, since the U.S. would have the highest rates of any of its trading partners. The downward spiral would be swift and devastating.

U.S. students are falling behind their global peers in key areas such as crucial math and science instruction. Their ability to knowledgeably participate in civic activities is endangered by the progressives who dominate the educational establishment, who prefer to turn their time, attention and resources to a bevy of divisive propaganda subjects, including the utterly false 1619 curriculum, “critical race theory,” and sexual instruction better left to parents.

Included in the list of misplaced priorities is an unrealistic approach to environmental issues. Yes, attention must be paid to the health of the planet. But pretending that the current, actual needs of humanity for energy can be ignored is sheer nonsense. Programs that halt gas pipelines, fracking, and other forms of carbon-based fuel production, or make the use of gasoline and heating fuels too expensive for vast portions of the population, is arrogance at its worst. The priority should not be inducing needless suffering. It should be developing the clean energy of the future, including fusion, and those currently available, nonpolluting sources of today, such as nuclear.

Solar and wind power are of limited use, but they will never produce the amount of affordable power required, and have their own, serious environmental issues. At best, they provide limited amounts of expensive and unreliable energy.

These nation-wide topics gain much of the attention but must share the stage with the misplaced priorities of local, leftist-run state and local governments in matters ranging from ridiculous transportation choices, offensive schemes to alter the character of middle-income communities, and ignoring the reality of crime.

Consider the ludicrous emphasis on urban bike lanes. Bicycles are used for commuting by less than 1% of the population in most major cities, but an inordinate amount of road space is devoted for their use.

Programs, such as those enacted in California and elsewhere to eliminate single and two family homes in favor of scatter-site housing for the indigent ignores the hopes and dreams of American families, substituting the goals of developers who can contribute heavily to politicians over the good of local residents.

Progressives continue to favor the welfare of criminals over the rights of victims and the safety of society as a whole.

The ideology over actual accomplishment is clearly seen in cities like New York, where the City Council, ignoring skyrocketing crime, a failed educational system, and numerous other major issues, spends its time debating whether to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from its chambers.

The left’s misplaced priorities endanger national security, the U.S. economy, and the personal safety and finances of the American people. 

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government