America’s leadership class has failed us

Local and federal political conditions have created a climate where the people who make this country work have been penalized past the point of tolerance. This is partly because our leadership class has failed to meet its responsibilities.

This is big. This is a failure at every level of society, in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, from the local to the national levels. The public-sector leadership is more culpable than the private sector’s, but neither can be pardoned.

How did we get in this mess? Well, our leadership has lost its way, plunging us into serious trouble, and no one can figure out how to get us out. It’s dawning on significant numbers of Americans that we’re facing problems with appalling solutions.

Start with our political leadership. Overspending, deficits, higher taxes and bloated government have become the norm. Few new, productive pathways are being cut by the political class. Its leaders have allowed the emergence of a corrupt culture that, like the chicken-and-egg scenario, has produced morally bankrupt leaders. This includes county and city politicians who have wildly overspent on public pensions, entitlements and debt buildups. Politicians largely have abandoned taxpayers, whom they look upon as a group with bottomless wallets, people whose only value is in paying for the giveaways that get the politicians re-elected.

Our education leadership has led us into an education abyss, producing many K-12 “graduates” who are unprepared for the workforce and who have not mastered writing, math, civics and proper English. University leadership has fallen prey to the vulture of political correctness and the social “sciences,” spawning graduates who are falling behind the competition on the world stage. Just as bad, these graduates leave school knowing nothing about their responsibilities in a republic like America.

Media leadership has failed us. We are badly served by the decline in quality and the failures of the so-called “fourth estate.” We are hit with media deception and drive-by journalism. Mainstream media outlets inflict dishonest “spin” reporting, report biased information and rigged polls, and present opinion and propaganda as impartial news. A compliant mainstream media is blindly devoted to left-wing proposals, pushing an anti-capitalist mentality in the public mind.

We are seeing terrible failures among the local and national ethnic and minority leadership. Voters can’t seem to find many enlightened local minority leaders capable of seeking solutions other than “more money.” It’s even worse at the national level, where leaders have failed to create economic development models and jobs with living wages for inner-city residents. Self-anointed national “leaders” have allowed the disempowerment of ethnic and minority communities, all the while extorting corporate America for money and blaming everybody but themselves.

Let’s not leave out business leaders, some of whom have allowed profits to trump ethics, and others who have cozied up to politicians and failed to hold them accountable. 

The bottom line is this: Our leadership class has failed to lead us through the labyrinth. In many ways, these “leaders” are taking us deeper into the weeds, heaping on more spending and higher budget deficits. In particular, the political class has not told us the true state of our looming financial calamities and the growing dangers we face.

Except for some refreshing newer faces, our political leaders have forsaken a prosperous future. They have allowed the unproductive people in our society to become more important than the productive people. That’s inexcusable, and it can go on only so long before our national house comes apart at the seams.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.


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