This commentary is by Tom Licata, a writer and caregiver and a former independent candidate for Burlington’s 6-5 House of Representative district.
In response to the commentary May 9 by Kevin Ellis, below is a mostly mirror image.
I know you are nervous. You see it slipping away. That Great Society revolution you rode for nearly 60 years is almost gone. Your kids and mine don’t even know it happened: Some $25 trillion spent in Great Society anti-poverty programs with no meaningful change in poverty rates; some $30 trillion in government debt; and some $100 trillion in government unfunded liabilities. My kids just look at your government spending and efforts to strangle the economy as strange.
With the exception of the College Democrat and Socialist Clubs, most voters feel the same way.
For 60 years you championed “nontraditional’’ families and proposed child care from the government as its replacement, derided two-parent families, opposed school choice, opposed self-reliance and loved your drugs.
But the country has moved on, with lots of help from Covid and technology. The next generation cannot believe that in 15 years every penny of tax revenue will be needed just to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the interest on the debt. They can’t believe government is a lead balloon.
Since 1965, you won the debate. You were better at it. Federal spending should grow because government programs work. And grow it did! Great Society government spending (which doesn’t include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all our military wars since the American Revolution of 1776. And as for those “single black women — the welfare queen” that Mr. Ellis wrote of, some 75% of their babies are now born outside of marriage. In 1965, some 7 percent of all American children were born outside of marriage. Today, the number is over 40 percent. As the welfare state expanded, marriage stagnated and single parenthood soared. People actually said that. And in quiet places where no one is listening, a lot of people still say it.
But movements die, replaced by the next one, driven by a new generation. This generation wants a better world and they are prepared to vote for it. And that is your problem.
You have been trained to like lots of spending and the coercions necessary for government dependency. From Lyndon Baines Johnson to Barack Obama, that was the deal. At the bottom of it all is a system built on tens of trillions of dollars of government debt and unfunded liabilities and the deconstructionist, Marxist-laden postmodern critical race theories that permeate today’s Democrat and Progressive parties. You wanted to keep all the power for yourselves.
What you didn’t bargain for is that your coercion and big government spending led to all these ills. To tax billions and expect no duties, to shoot up drugs in the open, to pay a lot for bad government-controlled schools, roads and health care: That all came with a huge cost for humans. And that bill is now due.
You hate this stuff, I know. You think women shouldn’t be expected to care for their children and instead have them shipped off to some stranger at government-controlled child care. And in reality you don’t really want people to work much at all, as some one in three Americans already are “hooked” on one or more of these ineffective anti-poverty programs.
No, your aim is degrowth and deindustrialization. Your aim is to deflate and neuter the citizen into an obedient sheep, with you as totalitarian eco-shepherd: Simultaneously saving the environment while dematerializing the middle class: Hardly the essence of a Christian America.
But as the sheriff said to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they tried to go straight: “It’s over. Don’t you get that?’’
You are struggling now. You don’t know how to deal with the Trump people. You don’t know how to deal with all this government spending by Biden and the Democrats that is hastening our day of hyperinflation and bankruptcy, as you print money out of thin air. Socialism has its costs: The equality of rubble.
The regulatory sabotage of our economic system — which Democrats fought so hard for — requires that both parents work. If you had regulated the system a bit less and not allowed the government to take all the power, our traditional family might have survived.
There is a way out of this mess for your party. Embrace the future. Get rid of the deconstructionist, Marxist-laden postmodern critical race theorists now running your state parties.
And Embrace: “E Pluribus Unum”; “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”; “that all men are created equal”; “that [we] are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights”; “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men”; “that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”
God bless the United States of America.