Opinion | ‘Government Is the Solution, Not the Problem’

To the Editor:

Re “Stimulus Signals Shifting Politics of Poverty Fight” (front page, March 14):

In 1981, Ronald Reagan told us, “Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem.” In the 1990s, Bill Clinton claimed the “era of big government is over.” Donald Trump blamed the nation’s woes on the “deep state.”

For the last 40 years our top leaders convinced the American public that government is too big and very, very bad. They sealed the small-government deal with endless tax cuts, spending cuts and privatization of the public sector.

Not surprisingly, according to Pew Research Center, Americans’ trust in government plummeted from 73 percent in 1958 (Eisenhower), to 54 percent in 2001 (G.W. Bush) to an all-time low of 17 percent in 2019 (Trump).

In his March 11 speech President Biden lamented: “We lost faith in whether our government and our democracy can deliver on really hard things for the American people.” With his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Mr. Biden recognized that restoring public trust in government and faith in democracy requires, for starters, repairing and strengthening the nation’s severely tattered safety net.

Seventy-five percent of Americans, including 59 percent of Republicans, who support the American Rescue Plan think he got it right! Government is the solution, not the problem.

Mimi Abramovitz
New York
The writer is a professor of social policy, Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College, CUNY.

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