America is dying: three steps to bring us back from the brink

Other developed countries are doing all these things; we can, too

Thom Hartmann


Photo by Craig Cooper on Unsplash

Since the Reagan Revolution, America has been slowly dying. Democrats must focus like a laser on three things to breathe new life into our country. They are Education, Healthcare, and a Green New Deal.


Student debt pretty much didn’t exist before the Reagan Revolution. When I went to college in the late 1960s I paid my own tuition and room-and-board working part time pumping gas at the local East Lansing Esso station, and washing dishes at Bob’s Big Boy chain restaurant. My wife, Louise, put herself through college as a “waitress” (the word at the time) at north Lansing’s Howard Johnson’s restaurant. Neither of us borrowed a penny.

Reagan’s education policies changed all that, and the twist Betsy DeVos added was to devastate our primary schools as well as making college more expensive. As a result, two generations of young people have gone into life saddled with debt, rendering it difficult to buy a home and raise a family and impossible to start a small business like Louise and I did in 1970.

If all of America’s student debt were wiped out overnight, it would cost less than Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut for billionaires. It could be paid for, in fact, by reversing Trump’s tax cut. And it would liberate tens of millions to get on with life and pursue the American Dream.

The most important of all the various parts of a nation’s infrastructure is its intellectual infrastructure. From an educated and enlightened populace flow invention, innovation, and a functioning democracy.

Reagan’s goal of turning education into a for-profit “industry” has gutted America’s intellectual infrastructure: we no longer lead the world in innovation, novel patents and the creation of new businesses.

We must rebuild our intellectual infrastructure by launching an Eisenhower-style program to rebuild our public schools while making college so affordable a part-time job can pay for it.


Americans pay about twice as much for healthcare as do the citizens of any other developed…



Thom Hartmann

America’s #1 progressive talk show host & NY Times bestselling author. Thom’s writings also appear at