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Bernstein Hit Home on State of Social Services

June 23, 1991

Harry Bernstein's column on America's funding for public health and other social services as compared to the more adequate funding for such things in more civilized countries was much appreciated.

However, he failed to note what no Republican will ever point out. Bernstein wrote: "Obviously, none of us wants to see tax money spent needlessly . . . . Tax money is never "spent" by a government. It is part of a circulating flow of funds that is continuously passed backed to the citizens.

If Americans paid 32.6% of their GNP in taxes, as Bernstein said, then they received hundreds of billions of dollars more than that back. In civilized countries they receive even more because their taxes are more.

For the past 10 years, Republican Presidents, with the protection of a 66% veto override requirement (what is democracy?) have disenfranchised the Democratic congressional majority and still have returned hundreds of billions of dollars to citizens in excess of the taxes that they have paid.

Unfortunately, we feel it when we pay, but we do not feel it when we get it back. Any dollar you hold in your pocket may have started the year as part of a welfare payment. Women with children, the majority of those on welfare, spend it quickly enough. You would too. It comes back more slowly when routed through people like Neal Bush, but it still circulates.

Why did Republicans, who complained bitterly about "a national debt in billions" under Democrats, raise it into the trillions? It is the Republican Party's job to get benefits for the upper-income classes.

With a national debt of this size, whenever someone asks why we can't have a comprehensive health plan like the civilized countries, the argument, that the conned people of the richest country in the world accept is, "We can't afford it." Most Republicans, unmotivated by the sights and sounds of poverty, like that answer.

Americans, seemingly no longer great thinkers, may be getting just what they deserve.

CHARLES M. LARSON, Whittier

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