To the editor:

For 60 years, a steady erosion of support for governmental institutions has taken place. The political right has focused for decades on undermining the role of governmental action. The right has convinced much of the nation that the government ruins everything it touches.

They have failed to acknowledge that governmental policy educated thousands of veterans after WWII and succeeded in creating a thriving middle class, which free market capitalism then destroyed. Governmental policy created the interstate highway system and veteran’s hospitals. I hear some veterans speak with anger about the dangers of socialism while they are scheduled to get expensive surgery in a VA hospital where they will not pay a dime. The list of governmental successes is long and impressive.

National commitment to the common good must be restored. The notion must be restored that a public policy solution is the only way many important things will get done. This includes universal health care, regulation of the financial industry, healing climate change. The right has successfully sold the idea that the “free market” will solve all problems. It will not.

The right has successfully sold much of the nation on the concept of “trickle-down” economics – the idea that when the rich earn more money, some of that money trickles down to low- and middle-class people. It is an utterly failed notion. Such an idea will continue to make rich people richer and all others poorer. Much of the nation has been hood-winked.

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A middle class is created by governmental policy designed to do precisely that. A middle class is not created by free market capitalism. Decades ago, vigorous debates took place regarding how to best secure “the common good.” The focus was on commitment to community. The right has successfully shifted national thinking to individual rights, away from thinking about “us.”

Jon Koll

Alexandria, MN