"A well-maintained playing field with equitable rules that offers the promise of success for those who can achieve it and the reassurance that those that stumble won't be left to die in the street. Our basic, tacit, social contract." --> The problem here is, once again, one of Strawmen. The US does NOT have, and has NOT had, anything resembling that statement for many decades, and at least 3 generations. The reality here is that America had 125 years of approximately a Constitutional Federated Republic; and since 1913 (Thank you very much WILSON!) it began the slow decent into a state described most accurately and prophetically by Montesquieu, "When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner." THe key here is "or in the same body of magistrates"... think one-party-rule. Hmm...how's that working out for us over the last half of the American experiment?