Minnesota Shutdown Rant
Minnesota's state government shutdown today, a result of the inability of Governor Dayton and the Republican majorities in the legislature to agree on how to balance the state's budget in time for the new fiscal year.
Its really hard to not look at the shutdown in the context of average wages that haven't changed since the 70s, while the gap between the top 1% and the other 99% has grown to the size it was during the Depression. We are facing rising unemployment, homelessness, and poverty levels. At the state and federal levels, behind the discussion of whether lower taxes or more government services are the best way to address these issues, is a battle of values between those who think that a person's life is entirely their own responsibility and those who think that a person's life is heavily influenced by the social and economic environment they live in.
What I can't wrap my head around (and probably never will given my outlook) is how the argument that it is unfair to ask the wealthy to contribute more has any traction today. Is our citizenry so attached to the idea that everybody should be able to dream the American Dream that we'll forgo providing the means of actually attaining that dream? Doesn't anybody think it is cruel to dangle a bigger carrot in front of citizens while breaking their legs? How much more impractical does this ideology have to be before everybody finally rejects it?
I'm glad Dayton is standing his ground. Republican rhetoric at the state and federal levels causes a visceral anger in me. What happened to the idea of social responsibility, or recognizing that nobody gets to where they are based solely on their own merits? Everybody needs luck and the assistance of others to be able to employ their own capabilities of success. But all I hear from the far right, the Tea Partiers and Libertarians, is this Randian Hero bullshit. Complete self interest isn't good for society - this is just a rationalization for selfishness and class isolation. Its a rejection of the responsibilities we all have to each other as human beings.