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The ongoing decline of the public good
By Robert Reich

MERYL STREEP’S eerie reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” brings to mind Thatcher’s most famous quip, “There is no such thing as ‘society.’ ” None of the dwindling herd of Republican candidates has quoted her yet, but they might as well, considering their unremitting bashing of everything public.
A society is embodied most visibly in public institutions — public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.
But much of what’s called “public” today is increasingly private. Tolls are rising on public highways and public bridges, as are tuitions at so-called public universities, and admission fees at public parks and public museums.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:17 PM

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