Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Big Government Is Back

The always excellent Texas Observer was filled with great articles this week. Specifically, a piece by James Galbraith exposing the problems of irresponsible slashing of government budgets and the capitalist cronyism that has gone with it. The results are obvious in New Orleans. But the good news is that the left press is realizing that getting rid of Bush is not the answer. The answer is to rethink the role of government and realize that its primary mission should be to organize and deploy social production for the good of the entire society.
Hurricane Katrina has suddenly ended a 30-year illusion—that the era of big government is over. This illusion began with the New York fiscal crisis in 1975 and the California property tax revolt of 1978. It was carried to the national stage by Ronald Reagan in 1980, endorsed by Bill Clinton in 1996, and brought to its apocalyptic unraveling by George W. Bush. We see its consequences in New Orleans.

So now we know. The proper government of the United States must be big, demanding, ambitious, and expensive. It requires the incessant management of environmental forces, the repair and growth of transportation networks, provision of education and health care—and planning for disasters. It is a job for dedicated, competent, professional public servants, with clear missions, big budgets, and accountability for results.[emphasis added]


George Bush is taking a beating for stocking FEMA with incompetent cronies. He deserves it. But this abuse of power is not the whole Katrina story. And replacing Bush is not a sufficient condition for progress. The ideas that Bush stands for, including many that Democrats have foolishly accepted, also stand exposed as frauds. It’s time for them to go. The era of “the era of big government is over” is over. And not a minute too soon.
To read the full article on the Texas Observer web site, click here.

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