POLITICAL observations & opinions

* there is an underlying fallacy in the “I earned it, I should keep it” view … nobody in America today has earned anything without substantial help from the very government those on the right decry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 14, 2011

 

we the people ... ALL the people, not just the wealthy

Paul Krugman writes in the NYT (1/13/11) …

  • we are a deeply divided nation and are likely to remain one for a long time.
  • the great divide in our politics isn’t really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work best; it’s about differences in those very moral imaginations Mr. Obama urges us to expand, about divergent beliefs over what constitutes justice.

One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net … It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft.

  • There’s no middle ground between these views.
  • This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development.
  • As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.

read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/14/opinion/14krugman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

LMW COMMENT …

  • Krugman has clearly stated the differences between the Democratic and Republican views of the role of government.
  • However, he has not stated (although I’m sure he knows and will state in future columns) the underlying fallacy in the “I earned it, I should keep it” view.

Nobody in America today has earned anything without substantial help from the very government those on the right decry.

  • There are no solitary pioneers in America, alone in the wilderness, totally self-sufficient, and there never have been. We are in this life together … a large nation of 300,000,000 people, part of a larger world, floating somewhere in the cosmos.
  • Agricultural subsidies, economic policies which favor certain industries, regulations which allow the growth of wealth … it’s all part of a governmental system that allows certain people to succeed, and to keep most of the benefits of that success.

What legitimizes that system of subsidy for the wealthy are the accompanying governmental policies to help those who succeed less, or not at all.

  • This is the pact we have made with each other, a pact that excessive greed on the part of the winners threatens to destroy.

******

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2 Responses to “* there is an underlying fallacy in the “I earned it, I should keep it” view … nobody in America today has earned anything without substantial help from the very government those on the right decry”

  1. Cathy & Jim said

    Perhaps there is a simple way to define liberal and conservative: in terms of the suffering victims of our political-economic system.

    The liberals say the suffering victims are the poor, the prisoner, the black and Hispanic, the exploited, the outcast, etc.

    The conservatives say they are the suffering victims.

    PS It’s interesting that many of these conservatives loudly and proudly proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior; but Jesus was totally clear that he sided with the poor, the prisoner, the oppressed, the exploited, the outcast. Go figure….

  2. Carol said

    Sorensen actually did not write the most memorable exhortation in Kennedy’s inaugural, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

    As historian Thurston Clarke has shown, Kennedy probably first heard a variation, spoken by his prep school headmaster, Seymour St. John: “Ask not what Choate can do for you, ask what you can do for Choate.” St. John, in turn, was probably borrowing from Cicero: “You should do something for your country once in a while instead of always thinking about what your country can do for you.”

    It has long been an article of faith that great nations cannot survive unless their citizens are willing to sacrifice for the country, not just in battle but in everyday life.

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