Sunday, August 7, 2011

Larger slices of the pie while paying less for their fair share

Opinion by Drew Westen, New York Times, Aug 6/11
"As I stood with my 8-year-old daughter, watching the president deliver his inaugural address, I had a feeling of unease. . . there was a story the American people were waiting to hear — and needed to hear — but he didn’t tell it. And in the ensuing months he continued not to tell it,

". . . When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

"[The story] would have made clear that the problem wasn’t tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit — a deficit that didn’t exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.

"And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.

"But there was no story — and there has been none since. . . "
Drew Westen is a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of The Political Brain: The Role Of Emotion in Deciding the Fate Of the Nation

Note: This is a small part of a very good New York Times article. Use the link at the top to read.

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