As We Give Thanks

(Community Matters) As we’re giving thanks today, we might reflect on government investments and opportunities which allowed our grandparents, parents and selves to achieve what successes we enjoy.  And, we should recommit to providing these opportunities for others.

Did the GI bill allow us to purchase that first house? We know it kicked off the largest housing boom in our history.

Are public primary & secondary schools or public universities responsible for the education of the first generation in our families? Are they still today for others of us?

Governments’ building of roads, bridges and highways – how much does the automotive industry owe to this investment? Modern manufacturing owes a great deal to the gains enabled by an industry so dependent on what today would be trillions of dollars of investment. Millions of American families achieved middle class status thanks to the jobs in this industry dependent on public infrastructure investment.

Computers and the internet – and all those resulting enterprises which have generated gazillions in private wealth – launched thanks to government investment in research and development.

Whether intentional or not, it’s bigoted not to reinvest in the infrastructure (what my friend Joaquin Castro calls the infrastructure of opportunity). It might not be racially motivated bigotry (though, sadly at least some is) since today’s greatest threat is our growing socio-economic divisions nevertheless, it’s short sighted. Our country’s unprecedented economic power has been built on our thriving middle class and a great deal of innovation is built upon government funded research & development. Why would we pull up the ladder just as new people are poised to enjoy the same economic mobility?

I’m surprised I agree so much w/ Nicholas Kristof on our failure to invest in infrastructure and the unsustainable initiative to privatize solutions available only to the upper middle class & rich.

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