September 11, 2007
The Ownership Society goes underground
"To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society." President George W. Bush, Inaugural Address, 2005.
Where did it go? I mean, all that talk about the Ownership Society. Remember, It was the bumper sticker cliché Bush used to campaign with in 2000 and 2004. The neo-cons wanted to "reform" Social Security by replacing it with individual investment, stock market accounts. They wanted to turn public schools over to private managers. They wanted to contract out the Reading First program to crony contractors.
"Private ownership trumps social ownership," "Risk trumps security," shouted the neo-cons. Whether talking about public schooling or rebuilding post-Katrina New Orleans, we were told that privatization would make all of us healthier, wealthier and wiser if we would only take a risk and rely on the market, rather than on government, to solve our problems.
Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, said that Bush's Ownership Society speech in 2005 ushered in "the new gilded age," an era where nearly all new federal initiatives, whether in war planning, tax incentives, health or education policy, were aimed at transferring as much wealth and power as possible away from the public sector and into the private.
Fast forward to now…with the country headed full-steam into another economic recession, stocks tumbling, thousands of people losing their jobs and homes to bank repo's , and 79 million people without any health insurance, the Ownership Society rhetoric has suddenly gone underground. Not even the most conservative of presidential candidates dares whisper the OS slogan.
From the SmallTalk blog