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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/7/21

GOP Uses Dr. Seuss To Distract From Their Embrace of Gangster Capitalism

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Cranking up the culture wars won't stop the destruction of our democracy...but it might win elections

Dr. Seuss Fell Into the Aquarium
Dr. Seuss Fell Into the Aquarium
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So, while the Senate was debating Joe Manchin's proposal to cut back unemployment benefits to Americans whacked by the coronavirus, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was reading Dr. Seuss out loud.

And he chose to read "Green Eggs and Ham," an uncontroversial Seuss classic, instead of the six Seuss books that the family's foundation pulled from circulation because they portray Black and Chinese people in racist ways.

Why would McCarthy do this? It turns out that Republicans and rightwing media are frantically engaging in culture wars with Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head to distract us from their embrace of anti-democratic Gangster Capitalism.

There are two main alternatives to American democracy and Regulated Capitalism being offered on the world's stage right now, and the GOP has made their choice.

The first possible choice is Communist Capitalism, practiced by China and Vietnam. This system leads to rapid economic growth, raises the middle class, but crushes democracy, free speech and dissent.

The second is Gangster Capitalism, practiced by Hungary, Russia and Turkey (among others, particularly in the Third World), which leads to an explosion of wealth among the nation's gangster oligarchs, strips wealth from the middle class, and also crushes democracy, free speech and dissent.

While most in the Democratic Party still hold to the classic American ideals of Regulated Capitalism, democracy, free speech and robust dissent and debate, the GOP has clearly decided that Gangster Capitalism and ending democracy are the path they're going to follow. Which makes perfect sense when you consider that their leader, Donald Trump, is a classic Gangster Capitalist.

The transition of America from Regulated Capitalism to Gangster Capitalism began in the 1980s with the Reagan administration, using the rubric of "deregulation."

For capitalism to work in a way that doesn't produce oligarchs and gangsters, it must be regulated. Capitalism, after all, is just a game that people play using money and mutually agreed-upon rules.

A good analogy is football. The NFL heavily regulates football in the United States, at least the football played by its teams. Those regulations include how many players are on the field at any time, exactly what constitutes a down or a touchdown, and rules about how players may physically contact each other, and under what circumstances.

The NFL's regulations also decide which team gets first pick of new players: they decided that the worst-performing teams should have first choice of newly available players, giving every team an opportunity to rise up through the ranks in the following season. It's sort of like progressive taxation, giving the little guy a chance while slightly restraining those already at the top.

These regulations guarantee the safety and stability of the game itself, and also guarantee that fans of football have a consistent experience, because everybody understands and follows the rules.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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