Robert Johnson is Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. (October 2011)
Many Americans see government as an insurance agency for rich and powerful people and corporations, who deploy lobbying dollars and campaign contributions to take care of their interests but not those of others. Faced with the choice of having their tax dollars spent for the benefit of elites or demanding that taxes be radically reduced, they see cutting taxes as the only rational course of action. Our nation appears to be caught in a downward spiral where lack of trust leads to dysfunction and disappointment, which, in turn, reinforce distrust and set our society on an ever lower trajectory.