A poor measure of “greatness”



Dear Editor:

I am stunned that you quote a speech by Herbert Hoover in support of your views on what is ailing our country.

Let’s look at the items on the list of “dangers” Hoover decried:

  • An ever-increasing federal debt. Do you mean the debt incurred by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that S. taxpayers were not asked to pay for? Do you mean the debt caused by the collapse of our financial system due to an SEC that wasn’t paying attention and a chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank who was blinded by his ideological commitment to the worldview of Ayn Rand? Do you mean the debt that Republicans in Congress want to dramatically and irresponsibly increase with passage of their tax bill?
  • Expanding government oversight and overregulation of commerce and individuals. Do you mean the government oversight that ended Jim Crow in the South? That gave us the Clean Air Act and other environmental and occupational protections? Was Enron overregulated? Wells Fargo? Is our price-gouging pharmaceutical industry overregulated? Are firearms overregulated?
  • The growth of dependency on government support. I assume you mean agricultural subsidies and the numerous tax breaks given to large corporations. I assume you don’t mean the support given to people who have been downsized or have seen their jobs go overseas or their pensions taken away or simply can’t find a job due to lack of public transportation or affordable child care or decent public education. Or maybe you mean the appalling growth in America’s government-dependent prison population due to our broken criminal justice system.
  • Increasing federal taxes and the impact on all citizens’ savings and income. The conundrum here is that these so-called “increasing” federal taxes have not prevented the frightening growth of our national debt that you point out every week on your front page. Perhaps we haven’t been taxed enough. Or perhaps we’ve made it too easy for people to avoid paying taxes.
  • Government overpromising services and benefits. Do you mean the promise that Iraq would become a democracy instantaneously after we liberated it from Saddam Hussein? Do you mean the promise of trickle-down economics, a promise that will never be kept but will never die? Or maybe you mean Herbert Hoover’s promise of “a chicken in every pot.” Or maybe you just mean the impossible-to-fulfill promise made by our current President to “make America great again.” Great how? Great when? I wish I knew what is meant by this promise.

You seem to think that America was great when Herbert Hoover was our president. I guess we can only hope that we don’t achieve similar “greatness” under our current regime.

Michael Fisher

Sullivan

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