Opinion / Chen Weihua

US' candidates have nothing to offer have-nots

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-28 07:49

There is no doubt that something is seriously wrong with a system touted by US government and politicians as the best and greatest in the world.

In his latest book The Great Divide, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that the inequality is a choice, the cumulative result of unjust policies and misguided priorities, from deregulation, tax cuts and tax breaks for the 1 percent. He argued that such policies are turning the American dream into an ever more unachievable myth.

While every presidential candidate has been making their "I will make America great again" vow, few have offered real solutions to address the growing inequality in the world's wealthiest nation.

It is such a wealthy nation that its military spending equals the next top 10 countries combined, a nation which has spent trillions of dollars waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it is a nation that randomly bombs countries from South Asia to Middle East to North Africa in the name of counterterrorism by launching Hellfire missiles costing more than $110,000 apiece.

Yet, instead of addressing serious questions such as education and tax reforms, many presidential candidates have been promising that they will take jobs back from the Chinese and Mexicans, clearly ignoring the basic economics of comparative advantages.

So far, there has been very little serious debate about the real challenges facing the US, such as exactly how the presidential candidates will help Main Street.

Instead, the mainstream news media have been deliberately misleading the public by focusing entirely on the shallow and offensive comments of real estate tycoon and White House candidate Donald Trump.

As long as US society is willing to indulge in such entertainment, there is no hope that the growing have-nots will be able to change their fate anytime soon.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA.

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