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Point of View: Time to Right a Heeling Boat

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 09:56

Nothing draconian is being proposed when it comes to strengthening the country’s social “infrastructure,” whose prime pillar is a good education for all, and yet the “haves” have already begun to cry foul.

John Adams said in his “Thoughts on Government” that “laws for the liberal education of youth . . . are so extremely wise and useful that to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.”

He was to further expound on the value of universal education in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, leading David McCullough, in his 2001 biography of the second president, to call section II of that Constitution’s chapter 6, “a declaration of Adams’s faith in education as the bulwark of the good society.”

And then, of course, Benjamin Franklin, a believer in “self-reliance and civic involvement,” once said, according to Walter Isaacson’s 2003 biography of him, that people who acquired more wealth than they needed had a duty to help others and to create civic institutions that promoted the success of others. And, further, that “all property superfluous” to the support of oneself and one’s family “is the property of the public, who by their laws have created it.”

So when you hear corporate titans and the 1 percent rail that the Democrats’ efforts to revive the middle class in this country are “socialistic,” remember what the founding fathers cited above said.

It is time to right the national boat, to restore the middle class, which used to be the country’s strength, and it does not seem untoward that working class child care and elder care burdens can be ameliorated through denying loopholes that corporations with overseas income have — one might almost say treasonously — used to dodge paying their rightful share, and through taxing inherited wealth that can be passed from generation to generation.

The nation’s physical infrastructure undoubtedly needs repair, as does its aspirational infrastructure. It seems a no-brainer if we want to continue touting American exceptionalism. Or will we come to be known in time as being exceptionally stupid?

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