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Could the world’s most powerful nation be brought to its knees?

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor When the atomic researchers prepared to explode the first atomic bomb in New Mexico, they were unsure just what an atomic reaction would do and, showing a fatalistic streak, set up a pool on the possible outcomes including the destruction of the state and the incineration of the planet’s atmosphere. Fortunately for us, neither of these events came true. As I write this column on July 27, the legislative impasse over the debt ceiling is looming over us. The countdown clock is ticking and people are presenting various scenarios about what will happen when the United States of America cannot pay its obligations. Please indulge me while I repeat that last phrase: the United States of America cannot pay its obligations. Could you ever have imagined a day when the world’s most powerful national is brought to its knees by such a situation — ideologues refusing to compromise? Perhaps your personal politics allow you to accept the notion of our military not being paid and Social Security obligations not being fulfilled. Perhaps a crash of the stock market and multiple impacts on the financial sector are acceptable to you. There are those who believe the only way to fundamentally change this country is to push it toward the edge of destruction — certainly an increased possibility in these times of economic uncertainty. This might be a new Civil War, but one fought without guns. Does the government waste money? Sure. Do we need reform? Yes. Is our present debt only the responsibility of President Obama? Not at all. Remember, the two wars — still ongoing — were only put into the budget during the Obama Administration. They, and the Bush tax cuts, were among the factors that led to this day. I can only hope a compromise is reached in time. I hope by the time you read this one is in place. If it isn’t, though, we need to truly question the motives of those who have blocked it and try to define what kind of country in which we want to live.
The group of people advising Gerald Hayes and Nicholas Fyntrilakis about rebuilding efforts in Springfield is embarking on a listening tour around the city. I’ll probably cover some of it, but I won’t be raising my hand to speak — it throws that role of being an observer out the window. I can express an idea here, though, and mine is simple: we need a supermarket that would serve my neighborhood, the South End and Old Hill. My neighborhood doesn’t have a supermarket. There is one at Mason Square and another in Forest Park. According a report from The Food Trust released in December, “Despite being one of the most affluent states in the nation, Massachusetts has fewer supermarkets per capita than almost any other state. Some cities, including Boston, Springfield and Brockton, have as much as 30 percent fewer per capita supermarkets compared to national averages. In Lowell and Fitchburg, the number of supermarkets would need to double to adequately serve the population. The problem is statewide; when measured against the national rate of per capita supermarkets, Massachusetts has 141 too few.” I have a location all ready: the former Spruce Manor Nursing Home site at the corner of Central and Spruce streets. Owned by the city, which I bet would be willing to make a deal to a developer. The area’s demographics would undoubtedly be best served by a market with the staples. All of the bells and whistles associated with today’s megastores aren’t necessary. What is necessary is economic development in an area that needs it. A modest store would provide jobs and taxes as well as meet some real needs. So, what do you think, decision makers? Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper. Bookmark and Share