Letters to the Editor
December 2, 2020

To the Editor:
Money isn't everything. We have significant challenges in a changing world. But when our economic system is failing most of our country, when thousands of working poor are homeless, when kids have to rely on the schools for breakfast, lunch and snack, and when 7,000 families in one city in Texas line up for free food, our capitalistic system is seriously out of whack. One reason is that the economic elites realize hundreds of millions of dollars a year in salary, corporate profits, or tax deductions, yet the minimum wage and general compensation for a changed labor market has received no corresponding benefit since the 1980’s. Trickle-down is a distant joke.
Most of us feel this. Many no longer feel safely in the middle class as defined when we were kids; children will not do better than we did; tax dollars are not enough to fund education, transportation, infrastructure and societal programs required for a an advanced nation in a rising economic tide. Deferring maintenance of infrastructure, including schools, transportation, highways and bridges, exploded back in the Reagan Era and were ably supported by the tender mercies of Grover Norquist: above all lower taxes for the rich, and somewhat for the middle class if absolutely necessary to keep the grumbling down.
Both political parties have failed in this regard. Trump seemed to many like a political breath of fresh air when he signaled his free-speaking, politically incorrect, blue collar populism. But Trump's plans to cut taxes included cutting school lunch programs, gutting Medicare and SSA, or overturning pre-existing conditions (and lied about it). He said he understood the aggrieved and forgotten middle-American, he stuck his angry fingers in the faces of elites, but nothing changed.
The Democrats have failed to convince the country that the ordinary person, the laborer, is their constituency. The Democratic hearts are there, but they learned back in 1980's that the only way they could survive the mesmerizing but absurd "Morning in America" was to cuddle up to corporations and try to beat the Republicans at their own game. They can't. They talk the right priorities but generally do not deliver them to a disappointed constituency.
If our democratic capitalistic society is to survive, the basic needs of ordinary citizens must be achievable, or we must consider another system which is more equitable. There is a new president. Let’s prioritize the repair of our economic system going forward (alternative energies would provide thousands of jobs), and decide what each of us owes to, and can expect from, our government. We must explore what the contract we made with each other long ago means in today’s world, and whether the Great American Experiment can survive.
Kelly Scoles