There isn’t a clean way to measure who might be a so-called “maker” versus the presumed counterpart, the “taker”, but let’s accept the premise that some of us “take” more than we “make.”
It is true, after all, that subsidies and benefits roll up and down the entire economic spectrum. Rich and poor alike receive their public assistance. We just identify them differently. Among the more broadly defined and most misleading is a line drawn between what we call welfare for one class and subsidies for another. Let’s just accept that this is what it is.
There is something worse than a taker — whether that taker be rich or poor — and that is a breaker. And for more than 30 years this country has been under attack by breakers.
If we break this down politically, it is safe to say that more breakers come from the right than the left, but that doesn’t say it all. Democrats have fallen under the swoon of less is more. Clinton, for example, declared that the United States had ended welfare as we had known it, at least welfare for the poor, that is. Moreover, it seems that people of both parties have become blind to what is happening all around them. We are not changing how government works or how we support it, we are destroying government at both an essential and an existential level.
Government is the problem, not the solution, right? Beginning with Reagan, Gingrich, and private sector politicians like Grover Norquist in the 1980s, government was to be reduced as much as possible.
Today we have Tea Party politicians and boutique libertarians who want to eliminate large parts of government entirely, everything from social welfare programs to the Internal Revenue Service leaving behind — quite literally — a military state of standing armies and legal courts. The rest is up to you.
That is not how our country was founded or how it thrived. Not in the least. Conservatives love to claim lineage with our nation’s Founding Fathers, but they prove that they know little about the philosophy and debate of our nation’s founding. (They cannot work with context, either, but that’s another matter.)
The late 18th century is full of debate and change in the United States as this country defined itself. Governing and leadership was a process, not a handbook. To believe that there was a better way — a reset point — in the past, one has to ask, what is that point? One better ask what do we really know about that point and how would it apply today?
In short, it seems entirely reckless to set out on a plan of systematic destruction without any plan for what might replace what is being destroyed. In this regard, Libertarians are at least intellectually honest…they want nothing! (Someone point out that libertarian utopias abound around the globe. Perhaps they might like Somolia, for example.)
We are not Somolia…or even Russia or Europe or any of our other economic peers because we chose not to be many generations ago. Our system of strong, progressive government serving the people and investing in the future made great fortunes and a thriving American society. Far more threatening to our American way of life and our ability to succeed are not the poor — or even the middle-class kid who wants to go to college — it is the people who want to destroy the American system all together.
Breakers, not takers, threaten the American way of life and the time to start paying attention to that is long overdue.