“Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism, and the effort to destroy them would be futile unless accomplished in ways that would work the utmost mischief to the entire body politic. We can do nothing of good in the way of regulating and supervising these corporations until we fix clearly in our minds that we are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”
I will take this one half-step further, because I am sure TR would agree: implicit in this statement is the contention that our aim is not to coddle or provide aid to corporations any more than it is to attack them for simply being corporations.
Harrison was a Republican, further proof (if any more were needed) that the reactionary cretins running the GOP today are an historical aberration, and that they need to be banished to the dark fringes from which they crawled.
A more intelligent, compassionate take from our side of the aisle comes from Rob Dreher at The American Conservative when he wrote in July:
“Look, I will grant you that the food stamp program almost certainly needs reform, given the astronomical rate of growth in the past decade, past even what you would expect in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. On the other hand, we have a lot more poor people, and people barely making it.”
Dreher and I agree that playing Scrooge to the little guy while filling Bit Ag’s pockets with farm subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare is not looking out for the common good: it is patronage politics at its ugliest. This is not a conservative value. It is not a liberal value. In fact, it is not an American value: it is the kind of behavior that drove our forefathers out of Old Blighty in the first place, and it has to come to an end.
A social safety net should never become a hammock. At the same time, it should work for those who truly need it, especially as our economy languishes on the slipping threshold of a genuine recovery. It is time for a better, more effective food stamp program, but let’s have the alternative ready before we rip this one out from under so many of our fellow Americans.