The U.S. is not only one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it also has one of the lowest tax burdens among the leading global economies. So we can afford the social safety net that a majority of our citizens desire.
Healthy majorities approve of Social Security, Medicare and the modest assistance we offer the poor. Americans also favor protecting the environment, setting a minimum wage, giving workers the right to organize and a host of other things progressives have long battled for.
Conservatives read the polls too, so they know they’ll pay a price at the polls if they simply oppose these policies on ideological grounds. Instead, they either claim we can’t afford these popular policies, or they repeat, again and again, that they will “kill jobs,” whether we’re talking about health-care reform, asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their share of taxes, collective bargaining, reining in the casino known as Wall Street and just about anything else you can imagine.
In essence, it’s a form of hostage-taking. “It’s not that we don’t want you to have these things,” they say, “it’s just that they’ll ruin the economy and bring about widespread catastrophe.”
One sees the tactic everywhere these days, underpinning everything from the right’s assault on public workers to Washington’s deficit hysteria. This week, AlterNet’s Joshua Holland sat down with Laura Flanders on GritTV to try to sort out the fact from the fiction. (The audio begins after several seconds.)
Copyright 2011 Alternet
This post originally appeared at Alternet.Org.