9/24/2005

The Public Eye : The Dying American Dream And the Snake Oil of Scapegoating

Long and somewhat dated article, but it has good points -- law

he Dying American Dream And the Snake Oil of Scapegoating

By Holly Sklar

The American Dream--always an impossible dream for many--is dying a slow death. As the systemic causes go untreated, a host of local and national leaders are peddling the snake oil of scapegoating. Many people are swallowing it, in anger and desperation.

One out of four children is born into poverty in this, the world's wealthiest nation. That's according to the government's own undercounting measure. Wealth is not trickling down. It is flooding upward. The richest one percent of American families have nearly as much wealth as the entire bottom 95 percent. Such obscene inequality befits an oligarchy, not a democracy. Manhattan's income gap is worse than Guatemala's.

We have the highest economic inequality since 1929. For more and more Americans, the future is an endless Depression--minus the New Deal.

The politically weakest New Deal "entitlement," Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), is the first to go. The assault was camouflaged with Big Lies about "welfare queens" and "illegitimate" children. Social Security and Medicare are being undone, beginning with the more vulnerable SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid.

...

Congress is robbing impoverished children to pay for more tax cuts for the rich. So are many states. It's an obscene orgy of greed. Conservatives have managed to confuse the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy with raising taxes in general, so that any attempts to put the tax system back on more of a sliding scale are given the politically unpopular brand "tax hikes." In the guise of populist tax revolt, conservatives insure low taxes for those who can afford to send their kids to private day care, private school, private hospitals, and private colleges. In Europe, where taxes are higher, governments invest much more in social spending and infrastructure to assure basic human needs and more shared economic progress. One result is less crime and violence.

The United States continues to beat plowshares into swords. In the words of the Center for Defense Information (CDI), led by retired military officers, "President Clinton's FY 1996 military budget request is a full $20 billion more in today's dollars than America spent on the military in 1980, a time of great Cold War tension. . . .America's military budget is nearly as large as the military budgets of all the other nations in the world combined."

"Despite the absence of any serious threats," reports CDI, military spending in the United States continues at the astounding rate of $5 billion every week, $700 million per day, $500,000 per minute, and $8,000 per second. Congress wants to make it even higher, giving the Pentagon money for weapons even the generals admit they don't need...

The Public Eye : Website of Political Research Associates - The Dying American Dream

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