The most recent episode of This American Life is all about “the battle between proponents of small government and those fighting to maintain public services.” I thought that you might want to pop open a can of beer and listen along with me.
On the bright side, taxes on the rich are lower now than ever, and everyone worth a damn can afford to send their kids to private school, hire private security, and a join private country club.
That was sarcasm, or course.
I was going to go on an epic rant at this point, but then I realized that I could just cut and paste something that I’d written before and save myself the upset stomach.
I’ve read that the wealth disparity in America is greater than that in Egypt, where the masses just recently rose up and took back their country. Conventional wisdom seems to be that it can’t happen here, though. Americans, it’s thought, are a complacent bunch, as long as they have decent football to watch, an ample supply of beer and the promise of the lottery. (Porn and reality television help too.) I’ve got to think there’s a breaking point, though. And, I can’t for the life of me understand why the rich in this country can’t see that it’s approaching. I get that it’s nice to be rich, and that it’s hard to hand over money that you feel that you feel as though you’ve earned (even though you likely inherited it), but I can’t see how it makes good business sense to sacrifice stability for another 5%. Personally, if I were in the Koch brothers’ shoes, I’d rather make a million dollars less a year and live in a country where someone wasn’t waiting around every other corner, looking for an opportunity to hit me in the head with a brick and steal my last crust of bread. I’d want people to have opportunities. I’d want people to have access to health care and a decent education. I’d want neighbors who really believed that, if they worked hard and applied themselves, their children could achieve more than they did. And I know that some folks at the top feel this way, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, but I don’t get why there are so many who insist on fighting for their loopholes and those few extra percentage points. Stability, I would think, would have to be worth something. I can’t imagine that these people who comprise the top 1% would want to live in the America that they’re creating. But, I guess they feel insulated, as though they’ll be able to escape what’s coming somehow. I don’t see as how that’s going to be possible, though. And I have to think that some day they’ll regret allowing our schools to crumble, or social safety net to decay, and our public libraries to close.