Thursday, March 12, 2009

Myth of The Market - Pt 2

In eight short years of Republican excess, our country has gone from an unpresendted budget surplus under the Clinton administration to the largest budget deficit in the county’s history.

Soon after Karl Rove and company moved into the Oval Office back in 2000, they declared “Parr-Tee Time” in Washington and process of dismantling the middle class, begun during the Reagan era, got down to serious business. The Democrats weren’t invited to the party; so they sat on the sidelines while Corporate America was given new rules, which essentially said that there were no longer any rules. But before we completely demonize the Republicans here, it is wise to remember that, Republican or Democrat, they are all pretty much wealthy (for the most part) men who tended to support their own personal financial interests.

The “Fifth Estate”, supposedly our public watch dog, eagerly rolled over and begged for scraps from the Whitehouse Press Office. The Rove administration cheerfully tossed substantive information aside, replacing “news” with mindless sound bites lapped up by the eager, and increasingly placated, media. Investigative reporting apparently was a lot of unnecessary work, so why not have paid policy wonks do all the heavy lifting for you?

One of my favorite useless catch-phrases incessantly rolling around was the term: “Tax-and-spend Liberal”. This concept perplexed me greatly - Isn’t that precisely what government is supposed to do? -- Tax a percentage of income and spend it on features and services to make life better for all Americans. When you think about it, aren’t taxes the “dues” one pays for the benefits shared by society.

I live in a residence that has a home-owner’s association (HOA). I pay monthly HOA “dues” but essentially you could call it a tax. In return for my dues/tax, I am relieved of the responsibility of painting my house, repairing the roof or mowing the lawn. Now I could choose to live someplace where HOA dues are not charged, but then I would be expected to be responsible for all my own house maintenance. For now, my expectation is that my HOA will “tax” us, then “spend” the funds to keep me in a comfortable lifestyle. Republicans apparently believe this system is somehow out of whack?

This of course, is a bit oversimplified – the tax code is long and complex as are the diverse needs of the public and the huge scope of government. Yet we all seem to feel we are being overly and unjustly taxed. But in America, unlike other civilized countries, we are pretty much expected to be on our own for health care, housing, clothing, food and a lot of life’s basic necessities. Individually, it seems that as long as our own personal needs are being met, and someone else is paying the bill, we don’t seem to have a problem with that.

But recent events have proven that the status-quo is not sustainable. It is a scary prospect - what are we going to do when that “someone else” no loner can pay the bills? Some victims of “The Market” are just now starting to find out what this really means.


Kara said...

one of those victims secured me my first condo. though i'm thankful for doesn't sit well with me at all.

Kara said...

PS: these posts are rad, dad. i'm glad you're back.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Yay... I have a "fan"!