Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Killing the California Dream Sounds A Lot Like Killing the American Dream

If you want your tax dollars to be spent on education, health, transit, infrastructure, and re-building our crumbling edifices – instead of the banksters, corporations, and endless wars – then you should read Michael O'Hare's "A letter to my students":

Now, your infrastructure is falling to pieces under your feet, and as citizens you are responsible for crudities like closing parks, and inhumanities like closing battered women’s shelters. It’s outrageous, inexcusable, that you can’t get into the courses you need, but much worse that Oakland police have stopped taking 911 calls for burglaries and runaway children. If you read what your elected officials say about the state today, you’ll see things like “California can’t afford” this or that basic government function, and that “we need to make hard choices” to shut down one or another public service, or starve it even more (like your university). Can’t afford? The budget deficit that’s paralyzing Sacramento is about $500 per person; add another $500 to get back to a public sector we don’t have to be ashamed of, and our average income is almost forty times that. Of course we can afford a government that actually works: the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it.

Read the whole thing, and then think about your state's budget woes and ballooning deficits. You know where all those crippling debts, with ever-increasing interest come from? They come from elected officials who won't fund our public services, but won't admit to it. So they take out loans they know are bad (and in many cases, it seems better than just shutting down all services -- until you can't borrow anymore), often with the very goal of saddling the people, and the state, with so much debt that we can't get out of it and then must admit that Government Is the Problem. At that point we don't have to wonder what it would be like to live in a Glibertarian paradise where roads, schools, and healthcare only exist for the independently wealthy -- because we've allowed them to create that very heaven on earth for themselves.

This is so applicable to NY, but definitely to NJ as well, and probably most states in the Union. There's this insistence that any other viewpoint beyond "we must cut and destroy all services to save ourselves" is un-serious and wishful thinking, but that's total bullshit. I have to wonder: for electeds looking to stay in office, wouldn't "take back the american dream," or similar make a better platform than, "legislating huge corporate giveaways was better than doing nothing"?

May the People save America, because God isn't coming.

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