People, not politics, should be main concern

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

Earlier this year China debuted the crown jewel of its rapidly modernizing rail system — a high-speed rail connection between Beijing and Shanghai that traveled at speeds of up to 186 mph.

Unfortunately, since that time China’s rail system, and especially the high-speed lines, have been plagued with numerous problems including a July collision that left 40 dead and another collision this week that injured 271.

China currently stands on the precipice of world domination, and sometimes the nation’s ambition eclipses its concern for its citizens, resulting in hasty planning and implementation. This has been shown not only through these rail accidents but also in the Three Gorges Dam project that displaced well over 1 million people across a wide swath of the central portion of the country.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the United States also finds itself at a bit of a precipice at the moment. With a staggering and ever-growing debt and a struggling economy, the U.S. is fighting to keep its place atop the world economy, and those in power know the only way to do so is through debt reduction and economic growth.

A number of plans have been bandied about to achieve this. Among these are the reduction or elimination of entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security and tax increases.

While the likely solution, if one is ever to be found, lies somewhere in the middle of these two politically speaking diametrically opposed ideas, much care should be taken when designing a plan to keep the interests of the American people on the forefront.

A failure to do so could result in a social disaster that makes industrial accidents in China pale by comparison.