Hello. We are the people of the United States. We elected you for the purpose of representing us. Sure, the Supreme Court decided that corporations are people with all the perks and none of the responsibilities. Even so, corporations can't vote. We can vote and we voted you in. So you are, at least in theory, supposed to listen and respond to us. Yet somehow your wires seem to have become crossed and you are pushing policies that we the people who elected you do not want. Therefore, we are presenting this primer with a few reminders to you of what we the people want--and what we do not want.
We do not want the internet to lose its neutrality. Without net neutrality, not only does the faster service go to the highest bidder, but also we become vulnerable to perspectives of our ISPs. When Comcast directs me to its favored web sites, that is censorship. We don't want our ISPs deciding where we can go on the web and how fast we get there. Do not remove net neutrality.
We do not want deregulation. Regulation keeps one side from taking advantage of another and is needed as long as imbalance exists. The consequence of improper deregulation is chaos: Energy deregulation led to Enron; communications deregulation led to Clear Channel and Fox; banking and financial deregulation led to recession from which we've yet to extract ourselves. Do not dismantle the safeguards that keep markets relatively fair.
We do not want to bail out giant corporations that call themselves "too big to fail'. Do not use our money to provide a safety net for these mega-corporations whose CEOs should know better. Get out of bed with Wall Street; stop using our tax dollars to incentivize the risk of wanton gamblers.
We do not want tax cuts for the super-rich. Existence as a civilized country requires that government spend money--to repair and expand infrastructure, to provide services, to provide safety. This money comes from taxes, and all beneficiaries must pay their share. That includes corporations. The number of large corporations that pay little or no taxes to this country is obscene. We are willing to pay our share of taxes; let the super-rich and corporations do the same.
We do not want our taxpayer dollars to support foreign despots and dubious friends. Stop wasting our money in immoral and unworkable attempts to buy allegiance, including from so-called allies such as Israel who have no legal necessity to return the protections that we bestow. Let us make an informed and balanced reassessment of where those monies are going, and then make some long-needed changes.
We do not want our public airwaves to be defunded. What we are paying now for what benefits us all is just $1.39 per US citizen. Almost three-quarters of that money goes to small local stations around the country where sources of news and programming are fewer. In some areas, "public media are the only source of local news and public affairs programs." With the looming Comcast-NBC merger threatening even more media consolidation and consequent vapidity, we would even be willing to pay for more, not less, public media. Do not threaten the existence of what we receive over our public air waves.
We do not want to choke on smoggy air, gag on filthy water, be poisoned from rotten food, or be killed from toxic medications. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration and other such entities exist to prevent anyone, be he human or corporate, from harming the people or the environment in pursuit of profit. So don't defang those guardians of us and our planet. Get out of bed with Big Business; we want and need those protections.
We do not want so-called healthcare reform that entrenches the insurance industry in a position between patient and doctor and that requires people to buy into this. We want universal, single-payer healthcare like that enjoyed by every other industrialized country. The way to do this is simply to expand the already-in-place Medicare system to everyone. Yes, taxes would go up. But healthcare premiums, deductibles, and co-pays would be banished. And everyone would have healthcare.
We do not want to eat genetically modified foods that are almost entirely untested and that we can't even tell are GM because labeling is voluntary. Since the Monsanto-prompted proclamation of President H.W. Bush in 1992 that no tests of their safety would be conducted because GM seeds were deemed to be 'substantially equivalent' to non-GM seeds, they have proliferated; yet their effects on humans and nature are almost completely unknown. And their effects will not be known, because anyone attempting to buy seeds must first sign an agreement explicitly forbidding that the Franken-seeds be used for any research. Get out of bed with Monsanto, and stop enabling the infliction of these potentially devastating unknowns upon us and our planet.
We do not want to lose our rights to bargain with employers. It is happening in Wisconsin; it is happening in Ohio. These rights are necessary; without them, what is to prevent the stronger from become unreasonable? So let it be balanced between employers and employees. Do not remove our rights to bargain with employers, lest we become peasants.
We want to have employers; we don't want to see our jobs sent away where labor is cheaper. This country will be unrecognizable when we no longer have a strong, financially stable middle class. We are willing to work for a decent wage, and for there to be a middle class, there must be jobs for us to do. Make corporations that send our jobs away--as well as those that send their corporate headquarters away--feel some pain.
We do not want Social Security 'privatized'. Social Security is no 'entitlement'--we pay into it all our working lives. To fix it, simply increase the wage base from which Social Security deductions are made from $106,800 to--well, why limit it at all? Let any salary amount without exception but for pensioners be subject to Social Security deductions. Then see how it functions. We pay into it; we deserve to get it back in our later years. Do not dismantle Social Security.
Finally, we do not want to be spending copiously on so-called defense and futilely on eternal wars. Nobody is fooled by the conceit that we are establishing democracy in Iraq and pursuing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Oh, and protecting protesters in Libya. If we are fighting Al Qaeda, massing troops and mercenaries against it makes as much sense as trying to paint a watercolor with a fire hose. It is quite obvious to us that, particularly since 9/11, military spending has exploded beyond all reason. Stop this insanity. Stop these pointless, destructive, hatred-generating wars. Stop over-funding the bloated and rapacious Pentagon and bending to the will of defense contractors. Start taking care of the people and substance of this country. And watch all these apparent domestic funding disasters disappear.
The reason we have a government is to provide services, infrastructure, and safeguards to keep us safe, healthy, and protected. You are here to represent us, so please start doing so. Or we will start demanding it.