Entering the New Year we see that the future is not one destination. It is a series of possible worlds, reflecting trade-offs between such fundamental issues as liberty, equality, community and efficiency. We must choose what we want to do for the future.

The purposes of government, while separate, are interconnected. "To form a more perfect union" is one mentioned in the Preamble. How do we do that? Well, "establish justice" and "promote the general welfare" (also from the Preamble) will both help form a more perfect union.

We must seek "liberty, equality, and fraternity," (to borrow from the French revolution.) But, as F.D.R. said, "True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictators are made." Liberty without ability is useless. The homeless man sleeping under a bridge and eating out of a dumpster has plenty of liberty. What good does it do him?

We can't have true fraternity (community) if the growing gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged becomes too great. About 84% of stock in the U.S. is owned by the upper 10% of the population. Diseases of despair like suicide, heroin and opioid addiction, stress and anxiety are surging. They spring from many causes, but certainly one of the leading of these is income inequality and poverty. Senator Elizabeth Warren said: "Inequality is rotting our country." Is she right? If so, Isn't it past time to start fixing it?

John Goodwin

Lebanon (Jan. 1)

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