Magazine article Insight on the News

Reich Sees Uncle Sam as Big Daddy

Magazine article Insight on the News

Reich Sees Uncle Sam as Big Daddy

Article excerpt

On June 21, 1995, Labor Secretary Robert Reich addressed the National Baptist Convention in San Diego. His topic: family values. Reich predicted that "the next election will be a titanic struggle to define that term." Reich is a close friend of President Clinton. No doubt his prediction is a truism that was issued with Clinton's blessing.

Most of us would associate family values with moral and ethical principles such as respect, fidelity, honesty, love, virtue, integrity, character, veracity and responsibility. These are the values that should be taught and shared among family members. And these are the values that create a healthy, productive and civilized society.

Reich, however, sees it differently. Instead, he argues that one's commitment to family values is measured by one's commitment to government programs. In his speech to the National Baptist Convention, Reich castigated those who "sermonize about virtue and morality" while these same people, he contended, "cut school lunches and Head Start ... cut the Earned Income Tax Credit ... [and] make it harder to get college loans and job training." Declared Reich, "We must explain what family values really mean and not be cowed by the crowd that thinks it has a copyright on those precious words."

Reich, like his boss, Clinton, embraces Uncle Sam the way most of us hug a loved one. The government is our family. The government is supposed to care for us. Heck, we can't afford to cut taxes and balance the budget. These "extreme" proposals are intended to starve children, hurt the elderly, squeeze "working" Americans and benefit the "rich." The government needs to do more, not less!

So in the name of affordable medical care the president proposes nationalizing our health care system. He creates a new federal agency that pays young people to volunteer in their communities. And he raises taxes on Social Security recipients and gasoline and increases retroactively taxes on certain estates and gifts, resulting in the largest tax increase in U.S. history. This, we're told, is what family values are all about. Still, there's more to be done.

Reich wants more job-training programs - a novel idea. He admonishes corporations for laying off employees with "10, 20, 30 years" of experience and failing to do their fair share for working people. (Someone should remind Reich that Clinton is crisscrossing the country bragging about cutting 273,000 employees - rather, family members - from the federal payroll. …

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