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Why is America the only wealthy nation that doesn’t guarantee essential health care for all? (We’ve made a lot of progress under Obamacare, but not enough, and the Trump administration is doing its best to kill it.) Why do we have much higher poverty than our economic peers, especially among children, and much higher infant mortality despite the sophistication of our medical system?

The answer, of course, comes down to politics: We are uniquely unwilling to take care of our fellow citizens. And behind that political difference lies one overwhelming fact: the legacy of slavery. All too often, white Americans think of the social safety net not as something for people like themselves fallen on hard times, but as a giveaway to Those People.

By Paul Krugman

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