...most of what government does that helps average people is now so deeply woven into the thread of daily life that it’s no longer recognizable as government. Think of the indignant voters who showed up at congressional town meetings to protest Obama’s health care bill shouting “don’t take away my Medicare!”It is tragic that so many people in the US are completely deluded about events and actors. The propaganda of the political right has been inordinately effective because most Americans can't be bothered to think things through. They are happy to have simplistic propaganda spoon-fed to them. The fact is that things continue to get worse despite the fact that Republicans have been the dominant political party in the US for the last 30 years. You would think they would begin to wonder why this same government they elected under the banner "government is the enemy" has been unable to disassemble the "onerous state" and deliver the right wing paradise promised. Just like the religious right should wonder why they've delivered majorities for most of the last 30 years but their "social agenda" mysteriously never gets passed into law. As Deep Throat said in the Watergate case "follow the money". The money for the last 30 years has been in tax cut after tax cut. Who benefits? The ultra rich.
A recent paper by Cornell political scientist Suzanne Mettler surveyed how many recipients of government benefits don’t really believe they have received any benefits. She found that over 44 percent of Social Security recipients say they “have not used a government social program.” More than half of families receiving government-backed student loans said the same thing, as did 60 percent of those who get the home mortgage interest deduction, 43 percent of unemployment insurance beneficiaries, and almost 30 percent of recipients of Social Security Disability.
Add in the relentlessly snide government-hating and baiting of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and his imitators on rage radio; include more than thirty years of Ronald Reagan’s repeated refrain that government is the problem; pile on hundreds of millions of dollars from the likes of oil tycoons Charles and David Koch intent on convincing the public that government is evil, and you have all the ingredients for the emergence of a wrecking-ball right that’s intent on destroying government as we know it.
The final critical ingredient has been the abject failure of the Democratic Party – from the President on down – to make the case for why government is necessary.
One would have thought the last few years of mine disasters, exploding oil rigs, nuclear meltdowns, malfeasance on Wall Street, wildly-escalating costs of health insurance, rip-roaring CEO pay, and mass layoffs would have offered a singular opportunity to explain why the nation’s collective well-being requires a strong and effective government representing the interests of average people.
Yet the case has not been made. Perhaps that’s because, even under the Democrats, the interests of average people have not been sufficiently attended to.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
The Grand Illusion
Robert Reich has a post that tries to understand why the rabid right in the US hates government and have become even more convinced that "government is the problem" following the 2008 financial crisis. Here is the key bit: