I like to think I am too cynical to have these moments where I ask absurd and idealistic questions, but I’m not, and this is what I’d like to know:
If we can understand that we are all connected financially and translate this understanding of mutual interdependence into a financial bailout for corporations, why can’t we extend this logic and apply it to other problems, like inequality, discrimination, and crime? Am I missing something here?
Because I’d really rather bail out Detroit– the city, that is– than the auto industry. I’d rather see new roads, public transportation, and green building, and see the workers who lost manufacturing jobs at work supporting this production. I’d like community gardens and murals and the dislocation of financial power from a few firms. I know how that makes me sound, like the incense burning do-nothing do-gooders I usually despise, and I don’t know what’s come over me, but I mean that last bit especially.
I’d much give my tax dollars to federally administrated programs because the federal government is accountable to citizens, and Citibank is not.
And while I am pleased that the government is working, albeit a day late and a gazillion dollars short, to unfreeze the financial markets, I wish they would work to unfreeze the untapped potential of millions of Americans by giving them the skills and training they need to galvanize a new economy in the United States, one that doesn’t need to be propped up by the government at every turn.
And, while I’m wishing, would that we could stop hearing these endless arguments about unions ruining the auto industry. Yeah, the men and women who want to keep a pension and health insurance– this is their fault. I especially love hearing that argument from TV pundits who have never come home with stained hands from a day of repetitive work on a factory floor.
I wish that we could as a country come to an understanding that the fate of the working classes, the poor, the uninsured, the sick– add to the list what you wish– is intertwined with our fate as a whole. And in this U.S., what makes you so sure, if you are middle class today, that you won’t be poor tomorrow, needing a helping hand yourself?