If only Ezra Klein got a dose of radical politics….

He makes a good point here:

Is it worth being disappointed about that? Sure. But legislation cannot be understood in a vacuum. The place to change the tax argument isn’t in final days of health-care reform. It’s in the intervening years when Republicans are attacking the very idea of taxation. Any given piece of legislation is only as good as the political culture that’s produced it. Right now, our political culture isn’t that good. The question is whether legislators are getting the best plausible outcomes out of a badly compromised process.

If one of your fundamental beliefs is that collective action is a bad idea, and another is that greed is good, then it’s going to follow that a) taxation in general is bad, and b) the government can’t possibly do anything right, and you’re going to support or oppose various political and policy proposals accordingly.  Therefore, changing the underlying beliefs is far, far more important than passing any individual piece of legislation.  You want to change the playing field so the legislation doesn’t face principled opposition in the first place (if you can call greed a principle).  I am glad Klein is getting the connection between what he calls political culture and specific political moments; it’s a realization that all sorts of people on the moderate left could use.  It’s not that hard to get when you don’t share the underlying political beliefs in the first place to draw the connection between those beliefs and specific policy or legislative or political proposals.

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