It’s a little sad and ironic that President George W. Bush was able to start President Barack Obama’s administration down the road to creating the greatest corporate welfare state the world has ever known. Unimaginably important social issues—health care, the Iraq war, climate change—have been, for all intents and purposes, made secondary priorities by the greedy finance industry.
By allowing his social agenda to be co-opted by wealthy, corrupt and porcine bankers, so many of the reasons that millions of people campaigned and voted for Obama are being made irrelevant in the national debate.
There are plenty of people arguing whether any of these corporate bailouts have done what they’re supposed to do. That’s not our argument (today). We do know that nothing has been done for homeowners with excellent credit and large down payments—like many of the folks who live in Nevada—who were put upside down in their homes by the fraudulent practices of the lending industry and its predictable failure.
In other words, while individuals are eye-deep in financial straits, those individuals’ tax dollars are being handed over to corporations—in the hopes that those charitable corporations will keep jobs that will enable our eye-deep neighbors to keep their employment. How is this not Reagan-era, trickle-down economics?
Following that, here’s what’s going to happen. (It’s never too wise for a newspaper to predict the future, but sometimes the writing just appears on the wall.) The federal government is spending trillions upon trillions of dollars. Our national debt is around $11 trillion this month. We get the idea—spending money stimulates the economy, gets credit flowing, creates jobs—but just as every individual has a comfort level with personal credit, every voter has a comfort level with how much he or she wants the federal government to go into debt.
To be honest, there is not a parent among us who gives two shits about how much debt the national government is saddling their children and grandchildren with when those same children’s homes are threatened now.
But the American people are getting intimidated by the sheer numbers of digits. We’re all getting there. So, just as any reasonable person would say, “Hell no, we don’t want to pay for solar panels when we’re barely making the monthly mortgage,” when the federal government presents a $1.5 trillion health care package, many of us will say, “Hell no, we’re already buried under debt for bank bailouts, this country can’t afford universal health coverage now.”
Nobody installs smoke detectors when the kitchen’s on fire—get it?
And that’s not to say 47 million voters who voted for Obama support him any less than they did in November of last year. That’s just to say that we all know when the wallet’s empty, we have to make tough decisions. This is analogous to a senior citizen having to decide between medicine and heating fuel in the beginning of February—if the medicine’s already bought, it’s going to be a cold Valentine’s Day.
And yet, we also know that health care is an issue that absolutely must be addressed in this country. These big ticket purchases simply must be reprioritized. We’re tired of getting trickled on.