Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Let's become a welfare state!

Here is some seriously soothing common sense from Russell Shorto, an American writer currently living the high welfare lifestyle in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, hell will freeze over and pigs will fly before Americans consent to even think that a different social system is necessary in this country. I pine for the day when Americans will abandon their anti-tax witch-hunt and embrace a society that looks after itself. I'm not holding my breath. And it's not socialism. It's social democracy.
I have yet to see the actual benefits of my taxes, other than the boon to incompetent bankers and bad C.E.O.s. We have crumbling infrastructure. New York City looks like a garbage dump. Just take a look at the subway.
I want to know what my taxes are funding. Wars in the Middle East? Corrupt and inefficient companies? Where is a good health system, a good educational system, working public transportation, respect for personal leisure, a respectable pension plan, where is a sense of concern for making everybody's life better? Shouldn't a better life be the American way of life?
Instead, the bottom falls out and people are in freefall. There is no guarantee, no safety net and depraved indifference to the communal wellbeing.
We are deeply misguided to think that we have the best standard of living. It is a fallacy that we are the standard bearers in this department. People in most industrialized countries have much better quality of life than us. In fact, America lags behind pretty much everybody else's social progress. Americans pester themselves and others with too much work that yields no safety in the end. Few things upset me more than people who do not respect our free time. Or people who think it's heroic to be working at all times, on weekends, vacations, etc. This is pointless and noxious. You will have worked your ass off, and come reckoning day, you will be fired and it won't make the slightest difference, except your life will have been worse for it. This idealization of individualism is not's all that is cracked up to be, as we all are finally finding out in these trying times.
Conservatives who advocate for tax cuts and scream socialism at the mere mention of universal coverage should be hanged by their nuts.

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