The American Dream misunderstood by leaders

The American Dream misunderstood by leaders

To the Editor:

It was difficult to sit through the recent town hall meeting and listen to Congressman William Keating and state Sen. Wolf lecture about their version of the American Dream. The ideas they expressed distort the meaning of this iconic phrase beyond all recognition. Apparently they envision an America in which a citizen’s success depends not on self-reliance and hard work, but on an ability to negotiate special subsidies, handouts, and favors from a constantly expanding government.

Mr. Keating’s opening dialogue, for example, was in part a celebration of this country’s actuarially unsound entitlement programs and in part a call for more spending on higher education. His rambling discourse made no mention of the need for unpopular cuts in, or alternatives to, these entitlement programs that will soon bankrupt our nation. Nor did he address the issue of whether unlimited government subsidies for student loans have created an artificial demand that is driving up college costs at a rate that is four times the rate of inflation, thereby forcing most students to jeopardize their financial future in order to attend college.

Mr. Wolf’s vision of the American Dream was reflected in his response to a person seeking help with an irrational government regulation that was needlessly hurting his small business. Rather than addressing ways to rationalize the regulation, Mr. Wolf suggested an unnecessary government tax on larger corporations so as to cripple all businesses equally. When this person responded that imposing taxes on his larger competitors was of no help to him, Mr. Wolf launched into a diatribe about the evils of “big corporations” and the need for more “revenue” (taxes) in order “to allow the government to do its job.” Apparently the job of government in Mr. Wolf’s view is to take away the earnings of its citizens so it can redistribute them in a manner consistent with his personal agenda.

Mr. Keating then supported Mr. Wolf’s call for raising corporate taxes, suggesting that more revenues (taxes) were needed to increase spending on infrastructure and education, if America wanted to remain competitive with other nations. In fact, however, America’s corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world, and so increasing these taxes would have the opposite effect. Only state Rep. Tim Madden seemed to realize that the real problem with the regulation in question could be traced to our government’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to promulgating regulations — a heavy-handed approach that has been devastating small businesses for the last few years.

Hopefully, the electorate will wake up from this version of the American Dream, as envisioned by Mssrs. Keating and Wolf before the next election.

Ronald Monterosso

Edgartown

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