David Sirota wrote about the failing public services in New York City due to lack of funding, New York Provides A Snowy Glimpse Into America’s Future but leaves out one important issue, it’s not an accident.
“Welcome to the New Normal.”
Those words should be displayed at New York’s airports as a welcome to bedraggled travelers during the Northeast’s latest “snowpocalypse.” Why? Because the Big Apple’s much-lamented paralysis this week is a critical cautionary tale for everyone. As I show in my new newspaper column, the episode warns us about the kind of thing that’s likely coming to the rest of America as we now willfully mix three toxic problems.
Those toxic issues are climate change denial, the “conservatives’ anti-tax, budget-cutting religion” and plutocracy. All of these are connected and on purpose. It’s all part of the bathtub scheme dreamed up by Grover Norquist.
When Government fails due to lack of funding it further puts people in the corner of seeing Government as incompetent and useless. This is a win for the anti-Government party of no. I don’t think Democrats ask Republicans who run for office during their campaigns this question enough, “Exactly why do you want to run something you so outwardly despise?”
Progressives see the flawed nature in our Government, the fact that it fails to work for most people, meaning the bottom 95%, is the reason we fight for tougher regulation, campaign finance reform, etc. But the outcome of the last 30 years has brought us regulations that’s too complex for most people and perfect for people who can afford legions of lawyers.
This is not an accident.
So those things meant to help people, like plowing the streets during a blizzard can’t be counted on anymore. California is a great example of this painful breakdown. As we stare down more massive cuts in basic services, many things that people take for granted may not be as reliable.
This is not an accident.
Living in Southern California I sometimes torture myself with listening to local talk radio hosts John & Ken. They love trashing the State Government, it’s like breathing for them. And they love quoting how California is the worst of everything, from taxation to what we spend per prisoner to how much teachers are paid compared to other States. Of course there is no context for their Stats, such as cost of living or when it comes to taxes on Corporations, the many tax loopholes and credits the State gives businesses, which actually brings California to be about average when compared to all fifty States.
Of course the other numbers they leave out are my favorites, like California is 48th when it comes to number of State Workers per capita. State Workers are spread pretty thin with a great deal of work on their plates. It also feeds into this whole Government is inept and can’t be efficient meme.
And it’s not an accident. Dismantling the greater good and right before our very eyes.
Education is going to be hard hit as well when we can least afford it and just as the reformers are on a rampage to disassemble public education, the great equalizer of our time. Education is what allows anyone become something better. Unions are not the issue (although they certainly haven’t helped their cause) and Charter schools are not the solution.
And lastly, the environment, the biggest thing to fail, where all these crisis won’t matter one bit if we can’t breathe, or have drinkable water (which 1 out of 5 human beings don’t have access to as it is, right now).
Of course I wish I had answers. My continued frustration with the Obama Administration has a great deal to do with his inability to turn a mandate into some meaningful reform. I understand that much was accomplished in the last two years but I do believe that more should have been done to help the economy first off, maybe even putting off health care reform in order to push through a much bigger stimulus package.
The middle is a lot bigger than either extreme and I believe that they don’t really care who gets shit done, they just want it done. If we had spent more in order get to the economy going right out of the gate, things might be different.
I know it’s been said better and more intelligently (Krugman) and by so many others (better and much better know bloggers and journalists), but it’s one of those issues that can’t be written about enough. It’s the shared good that makes our society worthwhile and the idea what we spend our money on shows how we prioritize our values. Dismantling this great good in the name of the tea party, austerity or conservatism not only destroys our very social fabric, it leaves our Country vulnerable to things that are going to be much worse in the next decade or two.
We have to demand that this stop. What are you going to do in the new year to stop the destruction happening before our very eyes?