Excerpted from Jacob Riis’ autobiography, The Making of an American, ©1901:
You bring up the people slowly to a reform programme, particularly when it costs money. They will pay for corruption with a growl, but seem to think that virtue ought always to be had for nothing. It makes the politicians’ game easy. They steal the money for improvements, and predict that reform will raise the tax-rate. When the prophecy comes true, they take the people back in their sheltering embrace with an “I told you so!” and the people nestle there repentant.
When the investment bankers manipulated the market for their personal gain, requiring a trillion dollars in bailout money to cover their losses, there was no real debate: the money was instantly available.
People are dying and going bankrupt from lack of affordable health care, but that, we are told, costs too much money.
Jacob Riis, buried more than a century ago, would not be surprised.
All of his books are in the public domain and may be downloaded freely from Project Gutenberg, HERE.
(One question I am seldom asked is, “So, what are you reading these days?”)