An American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein - and the replacement of the radical Baathist dictatorship with a new government more closely aligned with the United States would put America more wholly in charge of the region than any power since the Ottomans, or maybe even the Romans.
The big winners under the American fiscal system are the rich, who pay some of the lowest taxes anywhere in the world; the old, who are the main beneficiaries of the American social service state; farmers, rural people. These are Republican constituencies.
Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.
We all have more at stake in the rules of the game than we do in the outcomes of the game. When that changes, that's when you begin to lose democracy.
I'm a latecomer to the environmental issue, which for years seemed to me like an excuse for more government regulation. But I can see that in rich societies, voters are paying less attention to economic issues and more to issues of the spirit, including the environment.
When we talk about authoritarianism, we conjure up out-of-date visions from the 1930s. But we are no more likely to do authoritarian government the way they did in the 1930s then we're likely to address or talk or do any of our other business in the way they did it in the 1930s.
Reagan survived the Iran-Contra scandal because the elements of it that were illegal (aiding anti-communist Nicaraguans) were popular and the things that were unpopular (arming the Iranians) were quite legal.
If you go on TV and say there's no other country in the world where you can be born poor and become rich, you get a huge megaphone. If you tell the truth, which is that most of the studies show actually the United States is worse than anybody except Britain in upward mobility, there is no audience for you.
Why be thrifty when your old age and health care are provided for, no matter how profligate you act in your youth? Why be prudent when the state insures your bank deposits, replaces your flooded-out house, buys all the wheat you can grow? ... Why be diligent when half of your earnings are taken from you and given to the idle?
Modern authoritarianism, as it's growing inside Europe and now coming to the United States, rests much more on the use of power to protect the guilty than to persecute the innocent. And its motive is not crazy totalitarian utopianism, it's motive is repressive kleptocracy. To steal and to use the powers of the state to protect theft.
Last Update: 29 June 2022
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