The President's budget has just been released, and so has a Republican alternative from the House Appropriations Committee. Reading them is like watching two people play a video game and confusing it for the real world. These budgets don't reflect competing visions so much as they do competing priorities within a commonly-held set of assumptions. They both share an artificial view of today's reality - both economic and human - that warps our vision and limits our choices. The President may be playing the game as well as he can, but what he really needs to do is stop playing altogether.
The rules of this videogame are: 1) Accept the fact that the ultra-rich will keep accumulating ever greater amounts of wealth, and will continue to exert undue influence on the political process. 2) As a result, accept the fact that we can't resist the fundamental changes to our way of life that will create. 2) Sacrifice a large part of the social programs which gave us 75 years of shared prosperity, since they're incompatible with this change. 3) Preserve and expand your political power within this virtual-reality construct.
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