Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bailout? Bail Out The American People

"In light of the auto bailout, the bank bailout, the stimulus package,
the public option fight is a surrogate for how much government is
too much."
(New York Times, October 15, 2009)

Kenneth M. Duberstein
Chief of Staff/Reagan White House

If "the public option fight is a surrogate for how much government is too much," then for sure the fact that our country is literally falling apart must be a surrogate for how much government is too little.

The outcome of health care reform is still an unknown. Every special interest but one - the American people - has been able to put a big wet dog in this hunt. Michael Moore's shambling theatrics and bumbling delivery aside "Capitalism, A Love Story" nails the lobbyists' takeover of the Congress. Like you I have spent this last year watching the bailout at work, i.e., the privatization of corporate profit and the socialization of individual loss.

This film exacerbated my peasants-should-storm-the-castles feelings which is ridiculous for anyone my age. I should know better. But I don't. The professional world I inhabit is, and has long been, a mutually interdependent amalgam of private-public money. Private philanthropy - no matter how robust - cannot make up for the absence of government support, my rant for years. There is no better proof than the havoc the Great Recession has wrought upon US charities, especially human services, and reflected in the down-drift of contributions last year. (Giving USA 2009). I am slightly to moderately optimistic for 2010 if the market holds up. (Viz. Oct. 13th post).

Private industry - except when fertilized to the root by taxpayer money - will not deal with our tottering infrastructure, lagging public education, underfunded scientific research, support for the color green in all its manifestations, essential social services and yes, that past-its-sell-by-date piece of mackerel marked "health care reform." The American people are losing out. In just about any category of accomplishment in which we were once first we are now the trailing edge - except for advances in throwing out immigrants and making airport security even wackier than the Mad Hatter.

It is hardly a wonder that government and legislators, at every level, are despised by most of the American people; nor is it a surprise that almost 60% of the voting eligible would rather sleep in on election day or water the plants.

Time is running down for President Obama on health care. He never had the right. The left is mad but the left doesn't matter. The center? So far it all comes down to a Senate Republican from Maine. That's scary.

It makes me want to reach for my bucket. But not for bailing.

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