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Sun Aug 25, 2013, 09:42 AM

Here's Why America Stopped Caring About The Public Good

http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-america-stopped-caring-about-the-public-good-2013-8


The slide really started more than three decades ago with so-called “tax revolts” by a middle class whose earnings had stopped advancing even though the economy continued to grow. Most families still wanted good public services and institutions but could no longer afford the tab.

Since the late 1970s, almost all the gains from growth have gone to the top. But as the upper-middle class and the rich began shifting to private institutions, they withdrew political support for public ones. In consequence, their marginal tax rates dropped — setting off a vicious cycle of diminishing revenues and deteriorating quality, spurring more flight from public institutions.

Tax revenues from corporations also dropped as big companies went global — keeping their profits overseas and their tax bills to a minimum. But that’s not the whole story. America no longer values public goods as we did decades ago.

The great expansion of public institutions in America began in the early years of 20th century, when progressive reformers championed the idea that we all benefit from public goods. Excellent schools, roads, parks, playgrounds and transit systems would knit the new industrial society together, create better citizens and generate widespread prosperity.

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply Here's Why America Stopped Caring About The Public Good (Original post)
Scuba Aug 2013 OP
99Forever Aug 2013 #1
fredamae Aug 2013 #2
Supersedeas Aug 2013 #6
AnotherMcIntosh Aug 2013 #3
bemildred Aug 2013 #4
phantom power Aug 2013 #5
bemildred Aug 2013 #7
malthaussen Aug 2013 #8
truebluegreen Aug 2013 #14
zentrum Aug 2013 #9
L0oniX Aug 2013 #16
valerief Aug 2013 #10
BrainMann1 Aug 2013 #11
hfojvt Aug 2013 #13
gtar100 Aug 2013 #19
hfojvt Aug 2013 #12
jtuck004 Aug 2013 #17
hfojvt Aug 2013 #21
jtuck004 Aug 2013 #24
SoCalDem Aug 2013 #15
hue Aug 2013 #18
mick063 Aug 2013 #20
chuckstevens Aug 2013 #22
Jesus Malverde Aug 2013 #23
gollygee Aug 2013 #25
pansypoo53219 Aug 2013 #26
Little Star Aug 2013 #28
GeorgeGist Aug 2013 #27
Sanity Claws Aug 2013 #29

Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 09:46 AM

1. K&R

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 09:53 AM

2. About the time this came out

Paul Weyrich, the "father" of the TP movement said this>
https://

Glass-Steagall, NAFTA/CAFTA/TCA-Patriot Act, and so on over the years. Little by little, step-by step.....by both neo-cons And neo-libs.

Connect the dots. This is a multi-faceted, systematic usurping of "The Peoples Gov't"...

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Response to fredamae (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:18 AM

6. a "public" policy that relies upon the apathy and ignorance of a majority of the people

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 10:11 AM

3. "could no longer afford the tab" = good explanation

 

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 10:21 AM

4. So it turned out we could not have both guns and butter, and we chose the guns. nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:12 AM

5. this ^^ exactly this ^^

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Response to phantom power (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:39 AM

7. I remember that discussion well. nt

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:46 AM

8. Good insight.

The continued degradation of income for middle-class families, who are the most interested in community programs and institutions (as opposed to the wealthy, who can afford private institutions) simply removed the ability to pay for the needed programs and institutions. And of course continued population growth puts even more pressure on those programs and institutions, and as more and more families fall from grace and need help from those programs and institutions, rather than being able to help them... well, things fall apart, the center cannot hold.

We've spent 40 years, more-or-less, redistributing income from the middle class to the wealthy, who have so much they don't even know what to do with it, but will never willingly disgorge. I guess what amazes me most is that so few people appear to have seen this coming...

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:08 PM

14. I believe the statistic is 4% increase in income (excluding the top 10%)

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:57 AM

9. Reagan provided thr story line

For hating and fearing government, which is another word for public works.

You're talking about the entire philosophy of Reaganism, which still dominates. It put the nail in the coffin of unions too.

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Response to zentrum (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:17 PM

16. The Reagan's are social terrorists - Frank Zappa n/t

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:58 AM

10. We'd better get used to never leaving our homes. The cost of traveling on roads, once

they've all become privatized, will be exhorbitant.

Teevee has sold Teh Stoopid well for decades.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 11:59 AM

11. Lets not forget Reagan started this and the republicans never got over it. That's why they love him.

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Response to BrainMann1 (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:07 PM

13. Reagan really did not start it

although he rode the wave and pushed it along too.

But beginning in the 1970s there has been a mass push by the rich to control the narrative. They have their spokespeople and their think tanks all over the place pushing their message of greed and selfishness.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:34 PM

19. Very true. I'd include Nixon's little jaunt over to China as another turning point to help set up

mass exodus of businesses from the US to China. And I doubt he was any kind of mastermind in that scheme. America became far too regulated for the tastes of some wealthy people, what with the loss of slavery, child labor, and other means of exploiting labor. So they took it to the international stage and sold us out.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:01 PM

12. article does NOT live up to its title

"Here's why ..."

So I read through the whole article and they never say why.

Is it because we do not feel as cohesive as past generations who pulled together to fight "common threats" like Nazis and Communists?

Is it because of television and automobiles and shopping malls and population growth?

Television gives us a different type of society (and also probably teaches different messages). In pre-television society, people went to large PUBLIC events for entertainment - concerts, lectures, shows, even movies. Now with things like television, cable television, DVD players people can avoid the public and get their entertainment at home. Then too, the entertainment was probably higher quality. The public lecture about substantive issues, versus a TV show/movie with explosions and sex and fist fights.

Automobiles have more and more replaced PUBLIC transportation. Pre 1945, many people were probably still walking and taking trains. When you walk to a local store, you pass by neighbors on a regular basis. When you get in your car and drive to the big grocery store or wal-mart or strip mall, you are isolated from neighbors in a metal box. At the store, you are surrounded mostly by strangers who have also come from miles away. Even if you have a friendly interaction that person remains a stranger who you will not likely see again for many months if you even remember them, versus seeing the same people maybe multiple times a week at the local store.

Maybe population growth is less of a factor, but as cities become bigger, it seems to me one of the primary characteristics of the big city is that people are strangers in them. Again, perhaps because of the automobile. You do not work in your neighborhood with your neighbors. Everyone gets in a metal box and drives for half an hour to work with strangers and then drives home. True, if you stay at a job for a time, then people do not remain strangers, (and more job mobility is another factor here). But it is hard to have the interactions or connections outside of work if you live far apart. If I am driving 20 minutes from the east and my work-buddy is driving 25 minutes from the south, then to ever do anything outside of work requires a fair amount of effort.

Cell phones seem to add to this. With a cell phone you do not have to interact with the public - with the people who happen to be occupying the space near to you. Instead you can be on the phone, or texting with somebody who matters, some part of your little circle of family/friends.

Many of these things were discussed in the great book "The Poverty of Affluence" by Paul Wachtel, which unfortunately was never mass marketed.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:17 PM

17. We should add into that the failure of "leaders" who could use their power for good, but


instead use it to enrich themselves.

People might flock to their shows, but most never use the gifts they are given to promote messages of harmony, togetherness, cooperation. They have the perfect platform, they have the listener's rapt attention, and use it to sell, as you said, fistfights, car chases, sex, etc.

That goes up and down the chain, and includes "we the people" who don't demand better.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:42 PM

21. but in some ways though

they only get that power if they "agree" to only use it in certain ways, or the people who are already inclined to use it in certain way are the ones who get the power.

Although, the anti-war show MASH was certainly popular.

But their platform is paid by Madison Avenue and if they do not show the fistfights and the boobies, then they will lose viewers to the people who do. Although, aren't both of those drawing in a young male audience?

And "yes WE can" was popular too, but what happened to it? it seemed like it secretly meant "yes we can - fool most of the people". Nobody talked much about what we were trying to do, except elect a black President. Now we need to elect a woman, is the theme for 2016. But we are gonna elect Margaret Thatcher, not Mother Jones.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #21)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:53 PM

24. They might be able to use that excuse for a bit, but once they can draw a large audience it


becomes a matter of competition, and if one agency says no another one will say yes. that doesn't keep them from speaking out, suggesting ways to bring people together, using their powers to do good. Might it cost them a little? I would expect not as much as some think, though it becomes a handy excuse.

But as far as the rest of what you said, yeah. In a nutshell.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:14 PM

15. The "perfect storm"

The baby-boomers reaching working age, in such numbers made it possible (probably, really) that the workplace could/would change.

Throw in a series of recurring recessions, add horrible inflation and high interest rates as boomers entered home-buying years & toss in credit cards instead of raises & we end up here and now.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:31 PM

18. Good synopsis!! K&R!!

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:40 PM

20. I dislike the premise of the article. Un rec

 

It does not delve into the great communication campaign to persuade the middle class into a tax revolt. The Welfare Queen, the "fleecing of America", the "inefficient government", the "excessive regulations". All were extensively promoted by political pundits through the media. Of course such propaganda would lead to a tax revolt by the middle class.

"Business Insider" attempts to have us believe that middle class earnings can stop while the economy can continue to grow. This is very revealing. It suggests that the economy can improve without a majority of Americans realizing the benefit. A viewpoint of the rich and powerful.

The suggestion that "Most families still wanted good public services and institutions but could no longer afford the tab." The great tax revolt was actually a front to allow the most profitable institutions to avoid representative taxation. They simply blended into the middle class horde that was relentlessly informed, and ultimately convinced, that taxes were much too high.

Finally, the article does not mention the transfer of subsidy from the poor to big business, the military adventurism, the rescue of criminally managed financial institutions, the expense of incarcerating a disproportionate size of the population, the increased cost to the middle class for privatization, the criminal growth in the cost of health care, the diminished tax base due to the effective wage reduction caused from the castration of organized labor, or the outsourcing of employment to foreign lands.

The article is very selective in the narrative and attempts to lend credence to the notion that the middle class has created it's own fate. This notion is true in one regard. The middle class bought into Freidman economics and politically put the theory into practice. This was the major mistake of the middle class of the 1980's.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:45 PM

22. If you boil down conservative ideology...

If you boil down conservative ideology to its most basic element, what you're left with is a way to morally justify being completely selfish and greedy. PERIOD!

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:48 PM

23. I've often thought that there was a racial component.

Investment in common public spaces appears to have slowed after desegregation in favor of private spaces.

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Response to Jesus Malverde (Reply #23)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 12:56 PM

25. Oh I have no doubt

It certainly helps to "other" people if you want to treat them as less than human beings.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 01:56 PM

26. divide + conquer. we have been losing the class war that was a COLD class war.

they made us hate the poor, not the rich.

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Response to pansypoo53219 (Reply #26)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 05:41 PM

28. Yep! They are still working at it too.

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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Sun Aug 25, 2013, 04:01 PM

27. We've come a long way baby.



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Response to Scuba (Original post)

Mon Aug 26, 2013, 06:24 AM

29. This article seemed to explain the how but not the why

The so-called tax revolts pulled financial support away from public institutions. That explains why they deteriorated. But why were the tax revolts so successful? Why were people that warned that the collapse of public services would result from a so-called tax revolt ignored?

Were the so-called tax revolts engineered with the end game of drowning government in the bathtub in mind? Were the tax revolts propaganda given inordinate attention and thus power as the tea party has been in the recent past?

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