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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/9/19

On Government. We Haven't Learned.

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There are two types of government: one that serves the people, and the other extracts wealth from them. In the US this neatly characterizes the two political parties and is a fairly accurate interpretation of left and right.

Republicans put the US in the second, right wing category. Some of their scams are in plain sight. They cut taxes for the wealthy by adding to public debt. They deregulate allowing the financial sector to go out of control. When the banks get in trouble, government bails them out. This is lemon socialism: bailouts for the wealthy when they get in trouble, but nothing for people.

To pay for lost tax revenue, Rs cut health care, social security, Medicare, welfare programs, public employee benefits. They cut higher education and profit from student debt.

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Republicans minimize the expense of government services such as welfare, sell off (privatize) public assets, bust unions, and give themselves tax cuts at public expense. They would also repeal healthcare for millions to save money for their tax cuts. Long run they have produced extreme inequality and brought on a fascist government.

They privatize (sell off public assets): schools, prisons, public lands, and crumbling infrastructure. They impose religious views on women s rights, deregulate for-profit schools while keeping them white.

The Supreme Court has defined much of the policy that has brought on corporate rule, allowed big dark money into elections, suppressed unions, rolled back the Voting Rights Act, and of course Republicans have further packed the Court with ideologues that will no doubt further enable right-wing government.

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Fox News, supermarket tabloids and other right-wing propaganda outlets enlist the religious right and racists to keep a wealthy minority in control.

Institutional forces including government, market, religion, and others ramp up income inequality weakening democracy. Historically as inequality rises, which it naturally does, authoritarianism usually emerges and stamps out democracy.

Republicans are mostly concerned about money and protecting their wealth. Their racist, anti-immigrant attitudes and fortress mentality should not surprise anyone since they represent billionaires. They are deficit hawks when not in office. Otherwise they claim tax cuts, paid from taxpayer debt, will bring prosperity, but mostly for themselves. Changing the withholding table made the Trump Tax cuts look positive for a lot of people, but refunds disappeared at tax time, and actual tax benefit will expire for most people.

Lobbyists, well funded from Citizens United, allow fossil fuel polluters to deny global warming, pharma to keep drug prices high, health care to remain a corporate feeding frenzy, Banks get bailed out when risky trades fail which makes a volatile business cycle an opportunity to make money. Deregulation of the financial sector can be a technique to blow up the economy. Special interests rule.

These all redistribute upward, sink the middle class, and make government unresponsive to people.

Republicans claim they want smaller government, but they are always willing to lavish resources on the military. They do not recognize that for decades military action has failed to serve any purpose except to reward war profiteers. The war economy is an economic bubble which needs to be carefully deflated. Congress has all but ceded war power to the President. We have a forever war.

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What Republicans actually mean by smaller government is that they would cut social programs, and currently they are attempting to cut bargaining rights and compensation of public employees including pensions. They do not want women to have rights over their own body.

¨In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.¨ Gilens and Page

The working class has been getting squeezed for decades, it is collapsing, and there appears to be no end to it. Government responds to the wealthy, not the people.

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Robert Vogel is a retired IT worker and Free Software advocate living in Connecticut and unhappy with Republicans in government. He maintains a website at http://gopiswrong.net/

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On Government. We Haven't Learned.

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8 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments  Post Comment


Robert Vogel

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Too bad about the planet.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 9, 2019 at 3:34:22 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Robert Vogel:   New Content

Great article, agreed.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 12:47:43 AM

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shad williams

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You are an IT guy right? Ok. Follow this program...democratic controlled congress, republican controlled congress, democratic presidents, republican presidents, war everywhere, people at each other's throat over the left right psyops. Do you really think republicans are in the driver's seat...alone? Of course you know that members of congress accept contributions without any expectation of having to perform for that little piece of corruption. Who pays them? Who writes the laws? Who votes to do as they are told? The military budget...who voted for that? Come on Robert. Catch up. Indeed we are running out of time.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 1:43:19 AM

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Robert Vogel

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Anyone who has played monopoly, or read Piketty, knows income inequality naturally grows. As it does, democracy shrinks because extreme wealth compromises government.

This is happening before your very eyes as big money buys influence, the courts favor corporate supremacy, income inequality soars, billionaires rule, the middle class sinks, and we have an authoritarian head of state with a cult-like following.

To slow this process down, in our case, elections need to install good leadership, labor unions need to bargain for worker rights, taxes should be progressive and apply to large fortunes. A strong safety net can make people secure. Such policy has been more successful in Scandinavian countries.

A huge military and a new nuclear arsenal amount to a misguided jobs program. It is important to repurpose it so that it does not bring down the economy.

The point is that unregulated capitalism is a wrecking ball for civilization and the climate. Appropriate policy including good law is a requirement for wise government.

Short term thinking in politics makes reform unlikely anytime soon. I do blame Republicans because in recent years they have sent us in the wrong direction. http://gopiswrong.net/

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 2:27:53 AM

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Reply to Robert Vogel:   New Content

A huge military is tantamount to a guaranteed return to the stone ages, except without living habitat.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 3:20:24 PM

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shad williams

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The rulers are a bunch of liars. Their exercise of pure power has made the word covert, obsolete. Today their over reach is right in our face. No pretense, no respect for the dignity of weaker souls.

They are bloody killers. Millions deliberately killed. I doubt that most of the murdered were even aware of the option to bow down or be killed - There was no option to avoid death. Instead the Ugly US entity euphemistically collateralize them...and we are told that the genocidal act of murdering them and their children was worth it.

Is it reasonable to expect the greatest terrorist and sponsor of terrorism the world has ever known to willingly give up power because we ask them to?

NO!! It is not reasonable. It is deadly naive as Donald has commented, that our criticisms are just words.

Is he right? Do we not understand that we have the power to withdraw our consent to be govern by this ugly entity, destroy it, enforce accountability, create new government and trusted institutions for its oversight?

If after decades of devious deceptions, our expectation is that by using words and corrupt processes we can get our wardens to deliver us from evil, then we are too coo coo for coco puffs.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 4:18:55 AM

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shad williams

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Forgive me for the snark. It was uncalled for.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 4:27:40 AM

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John Jonik

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Ain't Our Gov't....it's the private Corporatocracy's...as it is now.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 5:03:30 AM

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Makes me want to go out and vote Democrat:

.stpete4peace.org/obama-fact-sheet

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 12:50:04 PM

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Nice summary! (It doesn't list "imprisoning more whistle-blowers than all other presidents combined", but it's still a damned good list.)

I'm so tired of people yammering on about "Republicans vs. Democrats" and which one is supposed to be evil. It's time everyone admitted to themselves they're dealing with nothing but a single, 2-headed dragon.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 4:06:01 PM

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Your humor has no moisture content whatsoever but is very amusing considering the very good link!

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 4:26:38 AM

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An excellent summary of the republican party and unfortunately far to many "moderate" Democrats.As long as corporations rule and progressives are snubbed it will continue.FDR couldn't change government until radicals were elected to congress and progress stopped when the stupid American people went back to electing "moderate"Democrats and republicans and FDR couldn't promote more progressive ideas.

Submitted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 at 4:07:07 PM

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