In a performance that the rest of the world could not even comprehend, a wealthy, Ivy League-educated Texan talked until he was blue in the face to prevent poor children from seeing a doctor.
Political scientist Benjamin Radcliff summarizes decades of survey research on human happiness, and the findings are not in doubt. People report that they are happy and less fearful and less anxious in countries that have a good social safety net. They are also happier in societies that have strong unions.
Ted Cruz exemplifies everything that is wrong with the American elite. He was educated at Princeton and Harvard and is a wealthy senator. He has expensive and good government-supplied health care insurance. He thinks that what is good for his social class, the 1%, is good for everyone. He is blind to the problems of the 99%.
The rich deny to themselves that people die because they cannot afford medicine or doctor visits. They have privilege, and the world beyond the boundaries of that privilege is foggy to them. Higher taxes on the rich, they tell themselves, hurt entrepreneurial activity and investment. Their privilege must be protected to benefit everyone. They are the geese that lay the golden eggs.
Scandinavians, who tax their 1% properly and take care of people’s health and educational and infrastructural needs properly, are actually wealthier than Americans on the whole, per person. Norwegians, Danish and Swedes make more per person per year than Americans. They have perfectly good entrepreneurs. And, they have less inequality, less angst, less sickness.
So Ted Cruz should sit down and shut up, at long last. Because it isn’t actually good for the poor to be without health care insurance. Just as important, it isn’t good for the rest of us to live in a society where we keep 40 million people from having proper health care. It makes us unhappy, anxious, fearful.
It makes us mean and hardhearted.
It makes us like Ted Cruz.