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GOVERNING BY THOSE WHO HATE GOVERMENT

By       Message Thomas L. Walsh       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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If you peer deeply enough into the cynicism of the right-wingers running this country (at least until January), certain things become clear. Bush's administration faithfully follows the mantra of true conservatism. Political corruption and lack of interest in the nation's welfare are never the problem; the problem with these folks is the mere existence of government in the first place.

These people worship at the altar of market forces. When you elect people who disbelieve in government to then run your government, you must expect problems. With these market-force worshipers, any attempt at government for the "common good" is little more than an attempt at stealing property through taxation, regulation, or both. That's how this president has driven the country into a ditch, by recklessly spending (a boon to his corporate supporters), while at the same time drastically reducing America's tax base by continuing irresponsible tax cuts for the very richest. Instead of "cut and run," Bush believes in "cut and spend."

This is the most cynical American administration I've seen. In their book, however, cynicism would be described as anything not paying homage to the sheer benevolence of market forces. Am I anti-business? No. I made a good living as a businessman for 38 years. That said, do I believe that unfettered capitalism is always best for the country? No again.

The American Enterprise Institute, a typical conservative "think tank" with the sole purpose of representing corporate money, gave us Karl Zinmeister, now Bush's chief domestic policy advisor. It also gave us the group of idiots who dreamed up the Iraqi war.

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Zinmeister has written:

"The working of the free market is democracy...democracy itself, if it takes the form of a regulatory state, is monarchism.... The idea that the United States has separate classes is dubious."

Oh really? Once you believe these things, everything that follows makes sense. It explains why Bush has systematically weakened every single regulatory agency by staffing it with industry insiders or lobbyists. It explains why these people always push for privatization, as the panacea for any and all of America's ills.

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Privatization gave us the Halliburton no-bid scandals. Privatization gave us the nomination of John Correll to head the Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining, despite his deplorable record of weakening regulation and dismantling safety standards.

Privatization gave us Bush's ridiculous prescription drug bill, which enabled lobbyists and pharmaceutical campaign contributors to make it ILLEGAL for individual states to negotiate with manufacturers for better drug pricing. Not much "free-marketing" in that decision, eh?

Insistence on privatization has contributed to a 71% increase in family health insurance costs since Bush took office.

The administration recently redirected the Food and Drug Administration from its traditional role as a protector of the American people to a defender of companies such as Merck, against the American people. FDA senior Scientist Dr. David Graham was undercut by both Merck and his own FDA management; they tried to smother his early concerns regarding heart problems associated with Vioxx.

According to Republican Senator Charles Grassley:

"It was a conspiracy on the part of the company employee, the FDA employee, to just smother Dr. Graham, or to ruin his reputation."

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Now, in one of the dumbest yet of Bush's schemes, his administration is planning to privatize tax collection. They've picked three agencies, including an Austin law firm, one of whose partners landed in jail for bribing the city of San Antonio to award him a tax collection contract.

This, of course, will cost the taxpayers more than if the IRS were allowed to perform its job. The privatization will concentrate on about 12,000 taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less in back taxes. At the same time, they are cutting in half the collection staff for the big dollar guys, those involved with the Paris Hilton inheritance taxes. How do the American people benefit by this?

As Paul Krugman pointed out recently, when the plutocrats of his day called Franklin Roosevelt a "class traitor" for defending the interests of the working class, FDR said, "I welcome their hatred."

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Thomas L. Walsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Communications/Journalism degree in 1962. Following a successful business career, he retired to Idaho's Teton Valley in 1999, where he works as a free-lance writer. Walsh and his (more...)
 

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