Society exists in a competition of self interests with community interests. Even if it takes a village to raise a child, you are still responsible for your own kid. Some governments work for the interests of a single ruler. Others abide by the wishes of the citizens. Mostly, people with little interest in the workings of government elect people with a great deal of interest in government. Then the voters wonder how they got fleeced by politicians. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and that means vigilance toward the government as well as toward others.
No system is perfect. The people who extol the virtues of capitalism admire its resilience. Socialism takes work, but when things break down the free market takes over. At the same time, a free market can become a monster. Laws work, but the more laws there are against capitalism, the more loopholes there are. Christians say that their rules create freedom by setting boundaries. Capitalism needs boundaries, not a tax code full of ways to cheat.
Then there’s socialism. Budding socialists don’t want the kind of socialism where they are told where to live, what job to take, what to eat or how to entertain themselves. The socialist paradise for many is a vision of Nordic countries with homogenous populations, little industry and a democracy where people can still vote against their better interests. All those places survive on free market trade
The United States has the worst of both worlds right now. The Republicans have spent decades keeping taxes low without strictly enforcing limited spending. Democrats have argued for tax increases (on the “rich”) and failed to pass them when they are in power. Still, they refuse to cut spending, even though the rich don’t make enough to cover the budget shortfall even at a 90% rate. Then you have Nobel Prize winner (like Obama!) Paul Krugman saying we can go 30 trillion dollars into debt and still have bond holders. They’d better be aliens, because the whole world is broke right now.
Everyone is being told not to think of a purple elephant BY a purple elephant these days. Some government benefit programs can continue for years. Others are already broke on the way to collapsing entirely. Banks did a lot of shady deals. They also planned their deeds by making deals with the government that now pretends to regulate them. Our foreign policy consists of writing checks to some allies and giving free weapons and tactical support to others.
This is not a left/right problem. It’s not even a 1%/99% problem. It is a problem of denial. Both sides have valid points and are full of crap at the same time. The worst offenders are the ones who have been in Washington the longest. If we can’t get the people we want in office, we have to get the people we don’t want out of office. Don’t worry about which “evil” party they belong to. Most likely they are almost half right.