Monday, August 31, 2009

Question for Readers: What are the United States' Top National Priorities?

(The person who comments with the best answer to this question will win a prize, which will be a comic book of his or her choice for under $20, assuming it is available at my local shop. Please note, we will not ship internationally. Also, one comment per user please!).

reprinted from superherouniverse.com

Last week, we had a post that touched upon the subject of national priorities in the DC Universe. Specifically, we said:

It must be strange living in a world where security is such a major issue. According to a CBS/NYTimes poll from June 2009, 57& of respondents cited the economy and jobs as the most important issue facing the country. Health care got 7%. War and peace was only 2%. In the DC Universe, where global security is constantly threatened, do priorities change? Do health care and the economy take a back seat to global security and intergalactic freedom? And so much so that the world comes to agreement in attacking another planet so quickly and easily?

This is just one theory, but it is not necessarily the case. In fact, one of our loyal readers pointed out that priorities could be quite the opposite. Since there is a catastrophic, time-unraveling, mind-wiping event that shatters the very foundation of the DCU nearly every year, and since the Justice League tends to fly down from its moon base and save the day in all those instances, it is conceivable that the general public has grown accustomed to letting the League worry about security. National polling data could very well reveal that the U.S. population is more heavily concerned with spending their taxpayer dollars on social programs rather than crime and security.

We know (as this blog tries to show daily) that superheroes have a considerable effect on the jobs, inflation, taxes, health care, health insurance, crime, and others. Furthermore, I should point out that there is a huge distinction between the DC and Marvel Universes. My sense is that Marvel's priorities might be closer to real-Earth's while DC's might differ more significantly.

Of course, I could be wrong, which is why I'm opening the floor to the readers. In these worlds, what do people likely consider the most important national issues? What do you think are the top 5 national priorities in the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe?

One note: this question is likely to garner many similar rankings. I think the emphasis should be on the explanation of them. That is, Mark and I will award the prize to who we consider has the most creative (and of course, sensible) explanation of their rankings.

16 comments:

Medea said...

Our Universe: the military budget (20% of total US spending) indicates that maintaining the Mil-Ind-Com our top priority. Not really security per se, but a sort of militaristic Keynesianism agreed to by both parties.

DC Universe: Probably counseling people who are confused or depressed by the latest reality-bending plot line.

Marvel Universe: Franchising!

Tom said...

Copyright infringement.

As stated before on the blog, the supes do most of the security/world saving; there should be a plethora of reconstruction jobs (mostly NYC in the marvel universe, but DC is about equal opportunity destruction); insurance companies are no doubt booming; law makers and lawyers are no doubt also well-off what with all the litigation that must stem from super suits (ha!) and insurance cases stemming from same; SO, naturally, economy becomes very important, specifically, how's your average joe supposed to make a buck?

by patenting some awesome, or, more likely, not-so-awesome invention, technique, bit of software, etc.

BUT, super strength isn't very good at detecting/defeating copyright infringers (nor should they be - stopping hostile alien races and world-eaters should remain top priority)

In our world patents are stolen regularly, knock offs produced in other markets (dvds, iphones, prescription drugs, etc), when national economies don't need to support armed forces (since they're not being used anyway) or nuclear arsenals, then making sure you're the only person/company/nation state manufacturing and profiting from a given product or service you lay claim to becomes very important.

I would imagine international relations are more strained by competition from grey and black market goods than anything else. Trade imbalance becomes very important, and copyright infringement becomes more important, not just to multimedia conglomerates stuck in the neolithic age, but even down to your man on the street.

-t

(also I bet America's Next Great Inventor is a top-rated show in the DC universe)

ryan said...

Top 5 US Natioanl Priorities in the DC Universe

1. Reconstruction. Maintaining the National Reconstruction Force's equipment and readiness is paramount. From Coast City to Bludhaven to cleaning up after those Amazons, the Force is important part of the national infrastructure. Well, rebuilding the national infrastructure, anyway.

2. Public Relations. It's vital to keep superheroes believing that America is a force for good. There's no need to put the US on the Justice League's shit list.

3. Superhero Counter-measures. Sometimes, those PR guys don't do their jobs well enough.

4. Alien Tech Recovery and Research. Integrating all of the found tech into the US economy is going to be profitable. With the federal government recovering much of and licensing it for use and research by private companies, that's a nice revenue stream.

5. The environment. All of these superheroes and all of this cool technology and still no one has come up with anything to replace fossil fuels. With the return of Barry Allen, Wally West has been contacted to see if he could power a generator.

Garg the Unzola said...

Marvel Universe: Preventing Disney from making family friendly film versions of the heroes.

Keeping shadows over the eyes of heroic characters.

Trying not to make alternate realities too easily understood.

Spandex and lots of it.

Let Spiderman 4 not be gay.

America: convincing the public that evil capitalists and not government spending caused the economic crisis so that the public agrees to more government spending and less personal rights in favour of Big Brother. USASR here we come! Also finding proof that behind every airport and tall building hides a terrorist so that - you guessed it - the government gets to spend more on military operations. Reality proved Keynesian methods wrong long ago, but it's not that easy to convince politicians that the are doing long term damage and short term good with central market planning.

Brian Moore said...

Even though they're very different, and the topic widely hashed over in both "universes," I would think that regulation of super-powered individuals would always be priority #1.

The analogy to the real world would be nuclear weapons proliferation. Sure, we don't spend that much money on it compared to many other things, but if the ability to create nuclear weapons were randomly distributed (as super abilities seem to be in comic books) you can certainly imagine that it would consume a massive amount of governmental resources to control.

And yes, most super powered individuals don't pack the destructive power of a nuke, but almost all of them render many normal paradigms obsolete, just like nuclear weapons. Airport security means nothing if someone can invisibly walk by or teleport inside. The entire idea of personal identification fails apart if you have people who can morph into whomever they want. How does privacy work when people can read minds? How do restrictions on weapons work when some people can shoot lasers from their eyes?

Governments have spent eons establishing a system of rules that are dependent on how things "work" right now. If people start turning up with abilities that lets them get around those rules, then registering and regulating those individuals will be top priority, since you'd (from the government's perspective) need to keep those people in line or none of your rules will work. It's a necessary pre-condition for everything else, and therefore the highest priority.

Sure, it's to the point that this plot device has become trite within "superhero" worlds, but I think that's only because it's an accurate guess about what would happen.

Adam said...

While it's unlikely to be their actual in-universe priority, if I were in charge, I'd make sure to prioritize superhero recruitment. Similar to how colleges recruit athletes to represent themselves, I'd want to make sure my country had the best superheroes. Prioritizing this goes a long way towards covering other deficits, since superheroes are good for crimefighting, security, public image, and in some cases (Reed Richards, Tony Stark, et al.) scientific development.

On the other hand, maybe this is the case in-universe: 90% of the superheroes in comics are from the USA. Xavier's school recruits internationally. The Justice League is a global organization, but is most active in the USA.

The #2 priority, then, needs to be superhero regulation, in order to keep the effects of priority #1 in check.

Will said...

Marvel: 1) Crime - despite all of the super powered folks running around, crime seems pretty rampant with some scary criminal syndicates hanging around. Police and FBI might not be able to stop the Wrecking Crew, but shouldn't they put the Kingpin and his ilk out of business.

2) Terrorism/security - After Skrulls infiltrated, a Presidential candidate turned out to be working for Red Skull, etc., you would think internal security would be a main priority (not as much military, since war seems uncommon)

3) Health care - The above 2 means more catastrophic injuries, but also with big brains like Richards, Stark, Pym, Doom, Osborne, etc. pumping out meds, etc., life spans might actually be longer straining medicare and social security even worse than here (heck, Aunt May alone has been collecting social security and medicare for around 50 years now).

4) Environment - How many Marvel characters have powers stemming from radiation, pollution, etc.? There clearly is some serious environmental issues going on.

5) Foreign relations - While war doesn't seem overly common, the not infrequent global threats, plus risks from groups like the Olympians, Asgardians, Inhumans (who admittedly are further away), and Atlanteans means that strong diplomatic relations seems important.

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