social contract

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I came across this great comment in the NYT this morning, in response to Gail Collins Op-Ed, “Bill, Barack and Us”:


William O. Beeman, Minneapolis

Isn’t it clear that the Republicans believe that everything can be achieved through privatization and individual effort, whereas the Democrats espouse communitarian effort, especially for those projects that are beyond the scope of the individual? The Republicans have got the facts backward. A rising tide definitely raises all boats. They somehow believe that rising boats raise all tides.

Today I am writing from Europe–a place the right wing despises. Every public facility is planned with care, anticipating the needs of the public. Whatever it is–public parks, transportation, medical care, education–the public gets far more than it puts into the system.

In the U.S., the raw market-driven economy tries to give people as little as it possibly can for their money in order to maximize private profit. If you got rich by shorting the public, that’s fine for you, but for the rest of the country the end of the stick is very short.

The Europeans have lots of wealthy people among them–they are just not quite as wealthy as the American gazzilionaires and the result is no overt poverty, housing for everyone, care for the unemployed, no need for private transportation for most people and longer life-spans. Isn’t that worth the sacrifice of a second or third yacht? Apparently not for the Romney/Ryan crowd, for whom sickness, homelessness, and unemployment are seen as character flaws rather than artifacts of a broken social contract and badly skewed economic system rewarding greed
Sept. 6, 2012 at 2:49 a.m.

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