Dystopias are entertaining. Bladerunner was an entertaining movie. For some reason it’s fun to look into the future and see disaster. But just because we like to watch our world trashed in a movie, doesn’t mean we want to live in such a world, right?
An op-ed piece in the Washington Post by E.J. Dionne Jr. reminded me that apparently a lot of wealthy people in the US have embraced a Bladerunner-like dystopia as the future of America. How else to explain their relentless pursuit of lower taxes? Dionne quotes David Cay Johnston, a columnist for Tax Notes on the degree to which the wealthy have rolled back their tax burden. “The effective rate for the top 400 taxpayers has gone from 30 cents on the dollar in 1993 to 22 cents at the end of the Clinton years to 16.6 cents under Bush…So their effective rate has gone down more than 40 percent…The overarching drive right now is to push the burden of government, of taxes, down the income ladder.”
Choke off access to decent health care, limit educational opportunity for all but the wealthy, no more aid for the cities or re-building infrastructure- it begins to look familiar. Republican Bladerunner, all of the crime, poverty, corruption and environmental degradation. The only things missing will be those sexy replicants played by Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah that gave the movie that extra zing.