That seems to me to be the central question before us. I have to say that I always considered it an assumed good that we had a vibrant and wide middle class. That middle provided a stable base of consumers and people who could send their kids to college. That meant a pretty reliable supply of well-educated workers and an equally reliable supply of consumers. This middle could afford homes, cars, and vacations. It is, after all, the place that most people self-identify as their location on the scale.
But Republican policies seem purposefully intended to destroy that same middle class, and I am increasingly unsure that people care. Or perhaps, this is more of the self-identification issue. Is it just that they believe they are immune to these changes because they believe their effort is all that is needed? I suspect that is part of the situation.
My community college student continues to bother me. He is respectful and willing to listen--to a point. But what bothers me is the sense that he genuinely doesn't care about what happens to other people. That comes through with many of our trolls as well. Most disturbing are the Christians who seem to act the same way.
For them, I think, the issue is a truncated thought process, and one that I see in a lot of other areas. The death penalty is deemed moral if it is really executing a killer, and that ends the thought process. Racial or class biases are simply not considered. Reminds me of a colleague in grad school who refused to read past the last page in an essay's assigned length. If that meant he stopped reading before the conclusion or work's cited, then those things didn't exist in the paper and the grade would so reflect.
So, many Christians work their way through the torture issue and decide that if they are torturing KSM, then it is unfortunate, but necessary, and so the thought process stops before they can consider the innocents, or the lack of credible information from such a process. It just doesn't exist for them.
Back to our issue of social justice (which my student said he didn't support at all--sounds like and Ayn Rand reader to me) and taxation and responsibility, the Christian conservative poses to me that there is nothing in the Bible that mandates that government be responsible for the poor. So the thought process ends--well before the Biblical injunctions to tend to the poor, and the shocking amount of resources to actually do so. Or the process stops with dependency and the lazy, and never works through the logical conclusion.
I would suggest that these Christian conservatives would be completely overwhelmed if they found out how much Medicaid, and Social Security, and other Government agencies contribute to helping the poor, the disabled, the sick, the elderly, and those who combine all those groupings. I am tempted to call their bluff, and say, "if you are willing, as a church body, to make sure that no one dies in some alms-house, or that every disabled person will have the care they need, no matter how expensive and, as a church body, you will tend to those--even the ones who don't like your church, or who do drugs, or have abortions, or are gay--if you are willing to commit to that, then we can get rid of Medicaid right now. I am game. I suspect, however, that most don't realize all the things that Medicaid does for the poor, and for nursing homes, and other areas.
We can do the same thing with job training for the poor. You don't get to exclude someone based on race or creed, and you can't make them convert. But if you are willing to do that, and guarantee that you will do it for all of the poor, then let's talk about reducing our "entitlement" programs. You know, those programs that you say with a sneer are going broke.
So let's see it. Pony up, and we can go to Congress and cut our deficit tremendously.