Public Scholarship

"Common Sense" by Michael Napolitano

Considering all the hardships this country is facing, one of America's greatest founding fathers is becoming progressively more notable. As the government is shifting gradually towards liberalism, Tom Paine is now one of the more important ancestral figures. Paine's importance derives from his discussions on the necessity to embrace change and to break from unnecessary and cruel tenants.

In the introduction of his pamphlet, Paine writes, "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom." I think this quote applies to the current debate in Washington over economic policy. For too many years now, we have been embracing "trickle down" economic policy while deregulating important governmental welfare functions. It is time for us to stop embracing a system that we perceive to be right, and begin to embrace a system that, at first, seems to be the enemy.

I know it is difficult to break from the status quo, but we are living thorough very trying times and there is a need to try new policies. Change must come now at the first realization of wrongs. The change will break from customs, and we cannot be afraid of it. For too long this government has been allowing for the suffering of the least fortunate; individuals who have been suffering at the hands of budgets designed to benefit the wealthy.

So the "redistribution" of the nation's wealth to benefit those who have been suffering - to provide them affordable healthcare, education, and services - is bad? Have you ever heard of the saying "we're only as good as our weakest player?" This nation will continue to be weak if we do not help the weakest individuals in this nation. No longer should this country be the country of unregulated corporations, it is time for it to become the nation of the people.

To those who do not want to pay their share: you can afford to live comfortably while paying slightly higher taxes. It is much easier for an individual to pay more taxes if they are making a quarter of a million dollars than it is for someone who is making less than $35,000. For that, I applaud Mr. Obama. As Paine noted, "Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it." In an equal and just society, every individual who is well off should bear the responsibility of helping those who are unable to support themselves.

It is time for this country to stop believing in the mantra that capitalism is always right. People in this country are suffering at this very moment because of simple issues like malnutrition and improper health care. We must now seek alternative models that will, in the end, help those who are suffering the most. With this logic, our country will improve from the bottom up, not the top down.