When King Arthur is about to marry Guinevere, the song notes, “I wonder what the king is doing tonight.”
A good question to those who built their house of cards selling the “Big Government is Bad” idea. This effective anti-government campaign plays on fears that those awful tax-and-spend liberals will reach deeper into voters’ pockets. Why do wealthy conservatives have such a bone to pick with government?
Could the battle lines reach to the Republican turned independent, President Theodore Roosevelt? His successful trust-busting efforts broke down the robber barons’ grip on American industry. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and the “Social Security Act” that raised the nation from poverty rankle conservatives yet.
How can one forget leaving the gold standard and the predicted dollar’s erosion? Furthermore, big, bad, government addressed equitable monetary distribution, regulations and instituted minimum wage hikes. What is a beleaguered multimillionaire to do with Washington grabbing his hard-earned inherited wealth to better the life of “Joe Lunch-bucket?” Twelve hour work days are good for them and their children, n’est-ce pas?
Now, with Medicare, those common folks are filling up the hospitals and emergency rooms. Taking beds away from the well-heeled and the elite, clogging doctor appointment books and blocking access to the better-bred. If that is not enough, Obamacare may open up health access for everyone.
With such concerns, the one percent conspires to increase its grip on the ninety-nine percent. Money is one issue; forced mingling is another. Thus, prepare for the age of the “Air People” along with class and cultural wars in the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The obscenely wealthy live in their large gated estates, where Upstairs, Downstairs still survives. More wealth occupies high-rise upper floors and penthouses. All go to their offices located atop tall buildings. The well-heeled feel vulnerable when they hit the ground floor and actually face the street. Stress levels are high awaiting a chauffeured ride. Ergo, “Air People.”
So how bad is government? President Barack Obama just released a $3.99 trillion budget that Republicans declared dead on arrival. A chart at Whitehouse.gov says the president is proposing, $944 billion for Social Security, $589 billion for Medicare, $365 billion for Medicaid and children’s health insurance, $114 billion for other health care, $180 billion for veterans benefits, $615 billion for national defense and $283 billion in interest on the national debt.
Note that defended tax breaks take billions from the budget. Obama wants to end some of those breaks to pay for more than $400 billion in road repair and other infrastructure and transportation improvements in the coming years. Roads, bridges, education, and other infrastructure needs get short-shrift – though certainly not the special projects of political cronies. Both parties are guilty.
Surprisingly, Democratic administrations have fared much better than Republicans in reducing federal spending regardless of hype. The George W. Bush administration took office with a surplus and quickly drained the treasury to pay for his Middle East Wars. A look at the corporate contracts might give a more accurate purpose to the conflicts. The Obama administration continues to extricate our blood and treasure from these embattled nations.
Although Republican voices support smaller government, proving that case is difficult. The one percent continues to reap the benefits of Republican influence; best to watch what is done and not what is said. The record shows that those tax-and-spend liberals have cost taxpayers much less than the protectors of the super-rich.
So who is really in your pocket? As to the rallying cry to slash spending and reduce government, the nation’s complexities require regulations and federal services. Big government is not “Bad,” but undermining civil service under the guise of privatization, attacking regulations that could prevent another mortgage meltdown, or funding the next boondoggle, is just plain criminal.
And that’s what the “Big Government is Bad” crowd is plotting tonight.
Dr. Marc Yacht is a semi-retired physician. Column courtesy of Context Florida.