Over the summer, while swimming and gardening taking a much needed vacation, I began to think about what I would like to discuss over this year, and I thought about the meaning of the good society (Bellah, 1991). Etzionni (2000) has written ". . .compatible with the vision of a good society is that the best way to change the direction of a society is to have "megalogues" about the substnace of members' values and the intensity of their commitments to the values they affirm. By megalogue I mean society-wide dialogues that link many community dialogues into one, often nationwide, give and take."
Let's start here, at this scale and see what conversations we can stimulate. To begin, there has been some interesting conversations over the summer about the meaning of progress--especially economically and that the boom and bust cycles tied to electoral cycles is not working. Did you know that the Bush administration inherited a surplus of 6.5 billion or trillion dollars? According to the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative, debt stems mostly from tax cuts and spending increases. When business people like Warren Buffet begin to say the wealthy should pay a more equitable share of taxes, then the system is broke, folks.
Government budgets are similar to household budgets, taxes are revenues in against which governments make expenditures. Without a stable and equitable tax base for revenues in, how do we expect to pay for critical services like health care, infrastructure that we all depend on. Yes, there are inefficiencies in some of the system, and they need to be addressed, but that doesn't mean you reduce taxes in response. Why are taxes now seen as such an evil?
A good society questions what is an equitable tax rate and what critical infrastructure and services need to be maintained? And maybe our financial leaders should lead this discussion?