Conservatives are shredding the safety net. They say government spending here is getting out of control.
I agree. We have to reduce spending in this realm. And there’s only one sensible and sustainable way to do this: We have to reform the private sector of the economy.
Isn’t that obvious? The main reason more and more people need government aid is because their economic needs aren’t being met by working in the private sector. If they made enough, they wouldn’t need food stamps. If they made enough, they wouldn’t need subsidies to help pay for their health insurance.
Raise the minimum wage, and safety net spending decreases. Rebalance the tax code so it doesn’t unduly favor capital over labor, investors over workers, and fewer working people would qualify for earned income credits that reduce government revenues.
The government safety net that covers the elderly, the disabled and the impoverished young should of course remain in tact. But the part of that safety net that today is growing so quickly because working people are being squeezed in a top-heavy marketplace, could be cut dramatically with reforms of the private sector.
Progressives — ditto the conservatives’ call for smaller government. Just combine the call with the most sensible and sustainable way to bring it about. Marketplace reform.
(Michael Silverstein’s recent books, all available from Amazon, include: The Devil’s Dictionary Of Wall Street, and the comic novels’ Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan, The Bellman’s Revenge, and Murder At Bernstein’s.)