"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Today's Must-Read: About Small Government (Update)

It would seem that The Hairpiece, in his quest to destroy the federal government, is, again, out of step:

Credit: Lowe - South Florida Sun Sentinel
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that, in the words of NBC’s Carrie Dann, “a record number of Americans say that the government should do more — not less — in order to solve the nation’s problems.”

This is a major change from the 1990s, when most Americans felt that government “does too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”

There has even been a significant shift in the last two years alone. In 2015, 50 percent of voters thought the government should do more. Today that figure is 57 percent. 46 percent of those polled that year thought government did too much. That figure is now down to 39 percent.

Some history:

The financial crisis of 2008 awakened many people to the risks posed by the private sector, and to the need for government services in the wreckage created by Wall Street greed. The Occupy movement triggered an important national dialogue about inequality and the increasing diversion of national wealth to a privileged and powerful few.

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign gave a political voice to this movement during the 2016 campaign. Even Donald Trump was forced to get into the game. He promised to repair American infrastructure and create millions of jobs, said he would renegotiate job-killing trade deals, and insisted that he would not cut Social Security or Medicare.

I've long maintained that the right-wing insistence on the private sector as the solution to any problem is pure bullshit -- and it looks like it's becoming more and more obvious, now that we have an out-and-out plutocrat in the White House, just how much of a sham it is. Have the private sector take care of infrastructure? That means every road is a toll road. Turn Social Security over to Wall Street? We've seen how good the banksters are with other people's money -- remember the Great Recession of 2008? Make all schools private schools? We know where that leads -- teachers treated like serfs and children graduating without knowing anything. Oh, and how about access to health insurance through the private sector? We know how that worked out: excellent care, for the few who can afford it.

Yes, government does have a very necessary role in all that sort of stuff.

Read the whole thing -- some interesting analysis there.

Update: And another, via Digby, on the same topic (sort of):

Myth 3: The Country Should Be Run Like a Business

Related to the above two myths is the idea that the best person for the presidency is not only a political outsider, but one with experience running a business. Again, this is pretty bizarre. Businesses and governments do very different things to create jobs, providing mandated services is very different from serving voluntary customers for profit, and the federal government can print money and run debts over a very long time period while that might prove fatal to a business. But this, too, was one of Trump’s rationales for running for office; he made money in the private sector (at least in some years), so he’d be good for the government’s bottom line.

The idea that government should show a profit, or at least break even, is sort of bizarre when you look at it: over the past few decades, it's been pretty much proven that the economy does best when the government is running a deficit -- not a big deficit (but then, maybe we should stop giving the ultra-wealthy and the multinationals a free ride), but a moderate deficit.

Read this one, too -- it's short.

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