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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/29/21

America Must Awaken From the Big Lie of "Rugged Individualism"

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It's the time of year that we're all inundated, from email to postal mail to ads on TV, to give to charity. Christmas puts us into a giving spirit, and for those who itemize their taxes the 2021 deductions vanish on December 31st.

Yet I keep finding myself talking back to the TV and crushed by the mail appeals.

Why is a children's hospital on TV asking for money when every other developed country in the world finances pediatric research and pays the full cost of kids who need medical care?

Why are there over a dozen charities just here in Portland helping homeless people when Finland - a country nowhere near as wealthy as America (including per-capita) - has functionally ended homelessness according to a 2020 report at HUD's website? (They note it's "essentially a political choice"we could choose differently.")

Why are we running charity-funded food banks when hunger in America - which stalks the lives of one in five American children - could be ended with $25 billion a year which, ironically, is the same identical amount of money Congress gave the Pentagon over and above what they asked for this year?

Why are gofundme sites filled with appeals for help buying essential pharmaceuticals like insulin which costs $25 in Canada and is paid for by the government, while here it can cost $500 or more?

Why are our candidates for public office begging for cash to take on dark money interests when in most other functioning democracies billionaires are forbidden by law from bribing politicians and corporate campaign activity is strictly limited?

Why are kids asking their parents or friends to help pay off student loans when such loans pretty much don't exist in any other developed democracy (and didn't in America before the Reagan administration)?

I spent about 20 years of my life in some of the world's worst war and famine regions doing international relief work through the German charity Salem International (and wrote a book about it), as well as Louise and I starting a community for abused kids that ran as a charity here in the US for over 30 years.

Living in both the United States and Europe, we noticed that Europeans are big givers to the truly destitute of the world, while Americans are more preoccupied with helping out each other here in America.

Why is it that people in England , for example, give around 20 percent of their charitable contributions to groups and people in desperately poor countries outside the UK, while Americans only send 4 percent of our philanthropy overseas?

Is it because there's such deep and profound need here in the US?

The answer, it appears, is "Yes": American government, uniquely in the developed world, routinely fails the majority of its people in need - all while handing billions in subsidies and tax breaks every year to the top 1 percent.

This is no accident.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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