“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.”
President Obama, April 2011
George Packer in The New Yorker:
Republicans are once again trying to privatize Medicare, gut Medicaid (by turning it into block grants), cut education spending and regulations that protect the environment, and give yet another round of tax cuts to the rich. They continue to insist – despite years of evidence to the contrary – that market forces will lower health-care costs and that tax cuts will create economic growth and lift all incomes. “Ideology makes it unnecessary for people to confront individual issues on their individual merits,” the late Daniel Bell wrote. “One simply turns to the ideological vending machine, and out comes the prepared formulae.” Ideology knows the answer before the question has been asked.
There are still plenty of people who believe the pap that our country still thrives solely because of individual initiative, the ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps’ nostalgia that built the cabin in the Kentucky woods. The problem with this theory is that it ignores the power of a society to ostracize and dispense with those individuals that do not have the opportunity to succeed, or have been slapped down by economic/social conditions of their own environment.
Our economic system is based upon accumulation of wealth by shareholders: the business exists to bring profits to those who fund or manage the business. This is not an intrinsically bad system, as long as we, as a society, create other vehicles and methods to create some equity in society. That’s what government is for. Obama referred to this last week when he spoke of the positive role of government: “a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation…We’re a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments.”