Why Progressive Politics Are Supremely American
There are many people in America who refer to some political stances as "un-American." The question becomes, by what standard?
America is not a nation that was ever designed to live in a time warp. It is a nation that was intended to grow and develop continuously. And it has done that largely by taking things from the rest of the world and making the best of them.
Americans enjoy a representative democracy system based on the works of French and English intellectuals and on the documents of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Americans enjoy a market system that existed previously in Europe, and an industrial economy that was first was developed in England.
Americans drive cars - first invented in Europe - that are made in Germany in Japan; use appliances made in China; work on computers made in Japan; and have DVD technology first developed in India.
Americans eat Mexican, Chinese and Italian food; worship a Jewish god; read Russian literature; and enjoy the technology that is a product of science and mathematics - developed first in Greece and India.
So what makes people think that ideas that did not start in America are un-American, when most of what America has started outside of America?
What is as American as apple pie is judging things by their results. And the results are, that Clinton economics worked wonders, whereas Bush economics failed miserably. One part of the Clinton economics - a policy that gave America its greatest-ever peace and prosperity as well as the only period of fiscal sanity in decades - was a small tax rise on the highest incomes. This fixed the hole in the debt and not only freed capital for investment in productive sectors of the economy, but also convinced investors that it was reasonable to invest in America. The result was prosperity and fiscal sanity.
Under Clinton, I was in the upper-income bracket and paid an upper-income bracket tax. I had no problem with paying an upper-income bracket tax. Under Bush, I would have had less taxes to pay. But because of the economic mismanagement, not only me but many others were no longer in upper-income bracket. And I say quite clearly that I would rather be in an upper-income bracket and pay an upper-income bracket tax than have less tax to pay and no longer be in an upper-income bracket.
What is not as well known is that America became the leader of the world, not in 19th century, but in early 20th century. That was the time known as the Progressive Era, when the income tax was introduced along with a number of other reforms. America became the world's leader through the Progressive Era reforms and remained the world's leader for the following century. Which means that, by the American standard of judging things by their results, it is Progressive era policies that delivered the goods; and the reactionary policies have failed to.
Progressive policies are therefore supremely American and the reason for vast achievement and vast prosperity, and it is time that more people say so in public debate.