I remember a time when people actually expected stuff to be done by the government.
- I remember the trash being picked up weekly and nobody commenting on it.
- I remember when, after snowstorms, the streets were pretty much plowed immediately. No word on “roads of importance,” arteries to be focused on or weeks before roads were to be plowed.
- I remember a time when they fixed roads and fixed them good. None of this “one year and already the crap is falling apart (I-94, northwest Indiana).”
- I remember when they didn’t fiddle about with the indexes. When the inflation index was posted, everything was counted, including gas (up 100%+ in 7 years), food and housing. Unemployment was people unemployed, not people holding up hopes for a job, any job.
- Schools were funded well enough, and people expected good things from them.
So what happened? Since when did we get to expect our government to suck, and suck bad?
I’m thinking it started with the tax cut movement in the seventies. Proposition 13 in California put limits on tax increases which weren’t linked to inflation, but instead were voted upon. This became a nationwide phenomenon. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it changed how people viewed taxes and government.
Amongst other things, the rational went from “everyone sharing the load” to “whom can we tax that can’t fight back.” Suddenly “sin taxes” became big (cigarette taxes, lottery) and the idea of taxing “out-of staters and tourists” grew big. Suddenly everyone wanted to create destinations for visitors to spend their money (casino boats, complete with everything you might want so who’d want to come out and visit the neighborhood?), “bring in jobs” (a few low-wage, short-term jobs for college-age kids to work at) and fill the coffers. Convention centers became more important than infrastructure, and attractions became more important than industry.
Needless to say, government (and everything connected to it) becomes the enemy. Sin Taxes curse everything they touch (why else do you think smoking is increasing in the young?), casino money is used to fill in gaps in State Spending, Convention Centers (and other attractions for Corporations and their “associates”) bloat and necessary investments fall off. There’s a few places where people still view government as useful (and taxes as a price paid for a useful, social society) but they’re endangered islands, already known as more evil than Al Quida.
And government falls apart, aided and abetted by the enemies of the government. Supreme Court rulings place cities and states at the mercy of its workers as it frees corporations to destroy and gut the guarantees they once gave their workers. Roads slowly grow worse as we grow used to the worse roads. Cops become the enemy, and “snitching” becomes a worse crime than murder or raping children.
Of course, the question becomes “for whom does the McGovernment suck?”If I were a corporation or in the top 10% of earnings, I’d say the government does well by me. Everything I want gets built, the tax burden slowly but surely gets shifted over to the poorer Americans, and I can do what I pretty much need to do to insure my wealth — even shift it overseas. And there’s lawyers, courts, lawmakers and other peoples able, willing and desperate to do my bidding.
So, in short the Government still works for the rich and for corporations.
As for the rest of us, the government grows worse and worse. Roads and other services become privatized (meaning they become subjected to the profiteering classes) and tolled. Affordable housing gets torn down and replaced by tract-mansions, leaving the poor to go to the motels and apartments, since many of these poor have never learned (and were never taught) about civilized society but instead of the rough, vicious rules of gang life and poverty they’re bringing down the apartment complexes who’ll take them in (probably thanks to some arm-twisting from these same governments in an attempt to force an increase in home ownership).
And we grow to hate the governing classes, ascribing them the same insanity and evil selfishness we still ascribe to Teamsters and Auto Workers. We pray for their come-uppance and hold tight to our guns in preparation for the day when God tells us to shoot them (For His Sake, of course)
And we grow poorer and meaner.
And those who wonder why…we shoot.