The bulk of our competitor nations are in far better economic shape than the U.S. Their medical systems both work better and cost far less than ours. Many have high speed rail systems that are faster and more efficient than auto travel and sometimes even flying. Most are recovering from the economic disaster that we induced globally. They are more energy efficient. They waste minimal monies on military budgets, while ours outweigh the totals of the rest of the world. Job loss is not the major problem that it is here. Their pols are not bought and sold to the highest bidders. Corporations are held in check both from exploiting us and dodging paying taxes. Tax liability is spread fairly among citizens — not favoring the super rich whose taxes Bush cut in the midst of his expensive wars.

In a few words — our nation has been traumatized by a host of misleading slogans devised by Republicans since the Reagan era: governmental regulation is an enemy of economic progress; governmental programs are far more costly than private profit-making ones. Governmental bureaucracies are far more costly than private ones such as those that gobble up a good percentage of the fees we pay for medical care. All of these fictions are, of course, lies belied by the basic facts. But our public is deceived by the same tactics used by the totalitarian regimes of the past — devise big lies and repeat them endlessly.

Sadly most of our public is presented with smidgens of information by their major information sources — TV and radio. How many listen to npr to obtain the real facts or have access to honestly informed sources — obviously and sadly only a relatively limited minority.

As a philosopher trained to pursue the truth, I am constantly amazed at the lies that are passed on as truths to the bulk of our population. The current attack on health care reform is a prime example. Most of us feel exploited and at risk with our present system which overpays drug and insurance companies — not infrequently for stuff that endangers rather than enhances health — see the billions in fines just imposed on one of the most profitable of these — Pfizer — for dangerous sales for profit.

My title question here is how long — if ever — will it take Americans to realize that there is no free lunch, that as our competitors, we must have a fair tax system that pays for the basic protections and services that any democracy needs to function? Of course expanded budget deficits will not do it, will do us in eventually. So much for this Republican slogan — only one of the many that is trashing American democracy.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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