In writing about the spirit of solidarity he found in Finland, John Burbank reminds us that we are all in the same boat (“Finland, a fine role model,” Sequim Gazette, May 21, page A-16).
We can use our oars to row together or we can follow House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and use the oars to bash each other. The boat is taking on water. We can either bail together or all sink. It reminds me of the labor anthem, “Solidarity Forever.”
Burbank points out that Finland has very high taxation. But most of the tax burden is progressive, i.e. apportioned according to a person’s ability to pay.
In exchange, Finns enjoy high-quality, cradle-to-grave health care, a living income when they retire, day care for children, early childhood education and an affordable college education.
He debunks the “Free Market” naysayers, pointing out that Finland’s economy is performing better than the U.S. economy. Instead of solidarity, our economy is driven by profit-greed, “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.”
Burbank reminds us that the working people in the U.S. have a history of successful struggle to win enactment of programs that promote equality and justice for all: Social Security, the GI Bill of Rights, Medicare.
“As Americans, we value family, hard work and looking out for each other … If we just stretch ourselves some, we can realize life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of us.”
Thank you, John Burbank. You took the words out of my mouth.