Bush's Ownership Society
During a recent campaign stop, President Bush gave West Virginians a preview of the GOP convention and his reelection theme for the fall. Bush summarized his "Ownership Society", stating that "when you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country."
The Ownership Society is Bush's attempt to offer the "vision thing" and counter his vulnerability over the chaos in Iraq and the jobless recovery at home. It aims to create a new American homo economicus (the only homo loved by conservatives), armed for battle in the new economy. Faithful to the GOP's twin mantras of rugged individualism and free markets, the plan is to consolidate an array of federal programs with tax incentives for personal saving, retirement, job training, and health coverage, among others. Thus, the president will call on Americans to unite behind his dual crusades against terror abroad and joblessness at home.
Unfortunately for the President, we've heard this before. As Perrspectives previously described ("State of Disunion"), the Ownership Societyarrived stillborn during the Bush's State of the Union address in January. With record budget deficits, stagnant wages, staggering personal debt and a massive redistribution of wealth to the wealthiest Americans, Bush's rehash of Society Security privatization, medical savings accounts, association health plans and other tax-cuts is ill-conceived and irresponsible.
As we've also explained, the president and his party are in reality creating an "Opt Out Society," a nation where Americans, while standing shoulder to shoulder against foreign foes, are divided and pitted against each other by an ideology of market worship, the privatization or abandonment of traditional government roles, and a radical individualism. Their Opt Out Society encourages Americans to withdraw their support from their country, their government, their communities, their schools and each other.