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MIA: America's leading force in a sad time 

Lowdown

The greatest problem our nation faces can be summed up in one word: leadership. OK, make that three words: lack of leadership.

America's corporate, political, media, academic and other leaders aren't. They're not leaders, because they refuse to stand tall, be bold, offer vision, inspire and ... well, lead. We've got too many 5-watt bulbs sitting in 100-watt sockets. They're squishing the historic can-do spirit of the American people, reducing it to a dispiriting ethic of surrender that says we-shouldn't-even-try.

Start with our leaders' willful abdication of the American dream. They've given up on the notion of producing a shared prosperity that creates a broad middle class. For more than a decade now, Wall Street and Washington have let millions of jobs disappear and pushed wages down. They now yawn at the entrenched jobs crisis eating the middle class, and rather than responding to the plight of millions of hard-hit families, they're trying to bust unions and kill minimum-wage laws.

They call it "the new normal," in which the workaday majority of folks should simply ratchet down their hopes and expectations. A national commitment to quality education, health care for all, and a decent retirement has been reduced to a "YO-YO" program:

You're On Your Own.

What about creating a vibrant new green economy based on renewable energy? Let China build it, they say with a shrug.

How about constructing a bold, nationwide, job-creating network of high-speed trains? Spain built a great one and even France has one, but we're told it's too much for America.

Our deteriorating and dangerous infrastructure? Better that we cut taxes for the super-rich and pray for God to take care of infrastructure.

These people are pathetic. And shameful. You can't call yourself a leader if you're too weak and too afraid to lead.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

  • The greatest problem our nation faces can be summed up in one word: leadership.

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