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Stephen Gottlieb

  • Everybody wants to talk about taxes. Two centuries ago, when Americans ratified the Constitution, taxes were a major issue – would people who were struggling have to pay more? Today the rich and powerful are the loudest voices against taxes and even stopped the IRS from auditing their taxes, but when our country was founded, they were the people who expected the benefits of a capable government well worth the taxes they’d need to pay. Those folks can take care of themselves; I’m more worried about the rest of us.
  • People complain that President Biden hasn’t been convincing about vaccines, global warming, infrastructure or public welfare. They are blaming the intransigence of Republicans and Senator Manchin on Biden as if a president can snap his fingers and make stuff happen. People used to say the same about Obama – he’s a great orator so it must be his fault that things are going right.
  • I’ve been working for decades on a book about the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Why?
  • Let’s talk about science. You may not realize that lots of medicine is based on statistics. The Peace Corps assigned us public health doctors. Ours, Robert Carey, went on to an eminent career as doctor, scientist and long-term dean of an eminent medical school, plus Bob and his wife, Theodora, became lifelong friends. Bob came to see me when I called and told me to call him back immediately, regardless of the time, if I had any more symptoms, particularly a headache. I understood what worried him. An epidemic of meningitis was sweeping Iran and he wanted to catch it fast if I had it.
  • First, they separated from Mexico because Mexico banned slavery. Then they tried to leave the U.S. when Lincoln was elected president because he hated slavery.
  • Trying to light a fire under the public and our public officials, I’ve advocated declaring war on global warming, sought the clergy’s moral leadership, pressed the urgency of protecting a livable environment for the poor and minorities as well as the wealthy, and described the earth’s reaction to our failure to protect it.
  • I called recently for religious voices on climate change to ring out more strongly. I’m not alone.
  • My last commentary addressed the risk to democracy of unrestricted capitalism that leaves too many too desperate to see the benefits of cooperation.
  • This is one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. I think this commentary (which was recorded a few days ago) appropriate because law and religion both get at very significant moral issues – in this case, how we handle Covid.
  • I keep searching for a formula that catches on to say that America does well when we ALL do well. The prosperity of each of us is good for the prosperity of all of us. America does poorly when we are left fighting for the scraps off the tables of wealth.