Nero fiddled; Rome burned. Are we following his playbook? Our Congress fiddled—at enormous cost to our nation. To date we’ve lost face, we’ve lost status and we’ve lost faith. Hope has been our long suit; we have to search to recover it—but recover it we must. This episode of our history shall pass but it will take much longer than it might have if we did what so many economists encouraged us to do: increase the stimulus –invest in our brain power and our crumbling infrastructure, provide much needed education and training and desperately needed jobs—and insist that the wealthiest among us take part in our recovery. There is arguably nothing more dangerous to our society than a growing number of disaffected, unemployed people coupled with a depressed economy. It is a recipe for disaster—there is the rioting and looting that we are seeing now in the UK —and as bad if not worse, the potential attraction of the angry crowds to a charismatic despot.
While pundits psychoanalyze our president, the stock market sinks and we stand by. We’ve got to do what citizens do. We are not bystanders; our country needs us more than ever—not just to respond to polls but to tell our leaders that we demand enlightened, effective action.
Tea Party members and others signed a pledge to refuse to raise taxes. They treat that pledge as sacred—even though its rationale is invalid and its consequences immoral. The Republican Party declares resolutely not to support the president and not to consider any revenue solution to the problem. What kind of society do they want? Are they speaking for their constituents? Do they believe that paying taxes is a socialist plot? Can we get over the fiddling?