Hurricane Harvey developed in a short time to an unprecedented rain maker. These unexpected events, sometimes likened to rare black swans, have a way of changing our viewpoints.
As we see nursing home patients waist deep in water in their wheelchairs and families struggling to carry their children to safety, our perceptions change.
We do, in fact, need strong government agencies to rescue these people, to give care in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and to support them in the long term as they seek to rebuild their lives and businesses.
Ordinary citizens will show compassion. Charitable organizations will help, but we will need organized aid that only a strong central government can provide. We will need more money to rebuild, yes, in Texas, but ultimately to replace older infrastructure all over the country.
We all know how unpopular taxes are. Yet taxes are how these programs are paid for. Our tax system must be reformed in a way that does not weigh heaviest on the middle and working classes. Some taxes, like a sales tax, weigh on the poor as well.
Despite the present political dysfunction, our elected representatives still can come together for a tax system that is fair and asks from the rich what it already demands from the non-rich. Taxes on corporations may indeed be too high, but so are the tax breaks available to them and rarely to ordinary citizens.
At some point, for the United States to continue as a developed society, we will need more money to maintain and improve it—infrastructure, education, preventive health care, security, and hosts of other needs. Middle income citizens are already paying their fair share.
More black swans will land in the future, and we need to prepare for them.