Ronald Reagan said that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Notice he spoke of a problem (singular), but conservatives seem to believe government is not the solution to any problem. Many hold this attitude even though we, through our federal government, prevailed in 2 world wars and a “cold war.”
We have also, through our government, made some incredibly smart investments. These investments include, of course, the massive transportation grids, including especially the highways and railroads. They also include ports, airports, and other infrastructure investments.
The government has also made spectacular investments in technology. Most of these investments have provided enormous boosts to our productivity. The role of government in developing these technologies has too often been obscured by commercial hype, but the information to follow can be easily verified.
The U.S. Army built the first electronic general-purpose computer, ENIAC, for calculating trajectories of artillery shells. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), a U.S. Department of Defense creation, developed the Internet. With the help of German scientists after World War II (See Operation Paperclip), the U.S government developed the rockets and technology for communication satellites.
Most of the development of semiconductors came from Bell Labs under Department of Defense and NASA sponsored research. Cell phones came from semiconductors and World War II Walkie Talkies.v Other technology that came from NASA projects include, for example, lithium ion batteries, flash drives, medical scanning technologies, computer microprocessors/operating software (The technologies exploited by Intel and Bill Gates.), digital camera technology, composite materials, micro-lasers, and infrared technology.
Why is this information important, and what meaning can we glean from it? First, realize that we, our parents, grandparents, our ancestors made these investments through our tax dollars. Secondly, consider that the fruits of our increased productivity have gone mostly to a small percentage of the population. The distribution has been so skewed that 1% of the population owns about 40% of the wealth.
These technical and scientific developments have led to breath-taking increases in business productivity. All of us should be economically comfortable while working much less, but this hasn’t happened. Instead, benefits have largely gone to the wealthy.
Instead of passing increased profits to employees, the wealthy used the money to form so-called think tanks to distort the truth, and they bought media outlets to broadcast that distorted truth. They also used their wealth for lobbying and for buying elections.
In isolation, these facts are difficult to retain and difficult to use. To be effective in formal debates and in ordinary discussions, we need to know the truth from our guts. A story can help us know the truth, hold on to the truth and can drive us to uphold the truth. With some revisions, the Cinderella story strongly parallels the truth.
When she can find work, Cinderella toils at minimum wage.
Today she is outdoors working at chores for the Greedys.
While she labors to clean the grubby Greedy grill,
The Greedy sisters soak up sun by the pool.
The parents of Cinderella wanted the best for their daughter.
To the wise uncle they sent money for investments,
And the uncle did indeed invest wisely,
But, alas, the Greedys enshrouded the uncle in a fog,
And the fog made him blind to his duties,
He sent gold bars to the Greedys and paltry coins to Cinderella.
Our challenge is to write the end of this story so the Cinderellas and Cinderfellas of this world can escape debt slavery and come out to play in the sun.
Shakespeare told us: “All the world’s a stage,” but the Greedys would have us believe the whole world’s a playing field, and anyone who complains is a sore loser. Their usual response is to ridicule the victim for being a victim, but when our brothers and sisters are kicked to the curb, and children suffer, then the field of play becomes a field of shame.