There's a common theme running through many of the solutions being offered to current federal and state budget crises. Sacrifices must be made. Belts have to be tightened. We just can't afford to spend the way we've been doing. We'll just have to learn to do without a few things.
Well, not quite all of us. Somehow, those with the greatest wealth are exempt. Somehow, having lots of money entitles one to keep that money, whether it was acquired through hard work, inheritance or the exploitation of others’ labor. Somehow, it’s unreasonable to ask that any of that wealth be used for the benefit of society in general.
Big money doesn’t only enable a person to own more cars than they can drive, or more houses than they can live in. It doesn’t just mean being able to afford good schools and health care. It means being able to donate generously to political candidates that make sure that wages stay low, and safety and environmental regulations are slack. Big money can convince public officials that unions need to be weakened. And big money can see to it that tax laws are structured so that the wealthy need not concern themselves with the condition of the rest of society.
Tax loopholes could be closed, both in Washington and nationally, that would generate the revenue to give citizens the services we need.
It’s time to share the sacrifice.