THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT NEVER ENDED
THE ERA OF CORPORATE GOVERNMENT MUST END NOW
"The White House Is Open For Questions"
What, no cheese & crackers?
ENOUGH WITH THE RIGHT-WING ANTI-GOVERNMENT MYTHS & LEGENDS:
CORPORATISM IS AS CORPORATISM DOES, FORREST GUMP
You Can't Run Fast Enough Or Far Enough To Escape That. Government Is Never Going Away, And Neither Are You. So, Deal With It, Already
The Republican --and "libertarian" (closet-Republican)-- anti-government pretense can only lead them one of two ways. Either they grab all their guns and their simple-minded pubescent cousins and head for the woods, or they let super-national corporations run the government. Or both.
Either way, the "conservative" vision of government will never be "of the people, by the people, and for the people." They simply don't believe in democracy. (How could they? They're a minority. And they hate the majority.) The only difference between the two Rightist approaches is that either they accept corporate domination or they run and hide from it. They don't fight to control government for their own benefit. They don't believe it is their government. Conservatives believe that government belongs to the rich and the powerful, since time immemorial. They just passively sit and wait and hope that somehow something good will someday trickle down on them from the big corporatist table in the sky. Like the religious fantasies they pretend to base their lives on, their notions of government are not real, and they never will be, if only because the believers will never actually do anything to make them come true. But the real government will always be there. The only question is, whom will government benefit? And that depends entirely upon who runs it: Us, the people, or Them, the corporations.
There is no choice but to either run our own government, or to be run by it at someone else's hands. It ain't going away. We'll never do away with government any more than we will do away with courts or laws, and for the same reasons. Would the problems they are meant to deal with simply go away if courts & laws went away? We support them because we need them. And they need us; they couldn't function without our support, active or passive. We can't avoid supporting the law, the courts or the government, actively or passively. There is no place far enough out in the woods for that any more. If we fail to participate actively in governing ourselves, we are passively supporting laws & courts and a government that doesn't represent us and therefore cannot work; not for most of us, anyway. We must participate actively, or nothing works, for us. "Conservatives" either don't get this, or their leaders pretend they don't get it in order to keep the rest of us from exercising the power which we have vested in government. That leaves all that power to those who do choose to exercise it, our self-styled corporate masters. In advocating the impossible, the withering away of the State, "conservatives" are simply giving it up without a fight. No wonder the corporations support them. But why do "conservatives" support the corporations?
The Right subsist on their fantasies that corporations are just people, people just like them, people with the same interests as them. The fantasy is that it's somehow better to let the corporations run the government, because the government is full of people who are not like the "conservatives," people whose interests are not the same. It's no accident that the almost all-white almost all-Christian straight male-dominated right wing has conflated issues of race and racism, sex and sexism, gay rights and homophobia with every major government initiative, seeking to portray policies as "Us", i.e., straight white Christians, versus "Them," presumably non-white and/ or non-Christian people and their white Christians supporters, the irreligious homosexual race-traitor liberals. They have been programmed to vote for someone who looks and acts like them, in the naive and always erroneous belief that these Republican corporate puppets ARE like them and will defend their common interests. The rest of the Right's tattered ideology is based on using fear and hatred to get the average "conservative" schmuck to vote for all sorts of things that are directly against their own interests. By harping on patriotism, anti-communism, "Islamofascism," etc, the corporate media & political machinery get people to support ruinous, senseless wars, enormous fiscal boondoggles, and the gradual destruction of the average Joe's entire lifestyle, from free speech to long weekends, from healthy food to home ownership. How do these faceless, soulless corporations accomplish this?
First, they replace news with infotainment, and endless corporate propaganda from fatherly & motherly figures and hot young jocks and cheerleaders with more brilliant teeth than brains. They put out an endless droning screed of disinformation wrapped up in flashy graphics and button-pushing ravings. Underneath it all is the relentless corporate message. They constantly hammer away at the same talking points: Government does not represent the people. The people will never control the government. The Government cannot be run by ordinary people. Ordinary people cannot understand the issues or the solutions. Ordinary people would degenerate into uncontrollable mobs. Godless non-whites might take control. Only rich white Christian men who have run successful businesses can run the government. Leave it to them, or the sky will fall. It's monarchism in new clothes: A business suit. The only difference between contemporary American "conservatives" and monarchists is the actual crown. They have become banana republicans. They would all prefer a regal generalissimo to a nerdy professor running things, provided the thug-in-chief looked and acted like them, pork rinds & cowboy boots and all. They would rather goose-step along behind a maximum leader than participate in a real democracy with people who are different from them, superficially, even if they have many of the same interests in common. Divide and conquer along racial, religious, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, regional, and class lines, and that's how we end up subjugated by a faceless, soulless corporate State. And "conservatives" eat that division up, to their own discredit.
If we don't stop it now, this is where we are headed inexorably: Life as serfs in a corporate State. We must reject both the self-destructive cynicism of some on the Left and the cowardly denial of many on the Right. The original call of the American Revolution was for us to grow up and take charge of our own lives like adults, not children of the King. Let those who can not or will not do this emigrate elsewhere. The rest of us have a government to repossess, a country to rebuild and a bright future to create. We can't live in a myth any more. We are the government. The government is us. It belongs to us. We do not belong to it. It is a tool for us to use, not a weapon to be used against us. The Right has that backwards, like everything else in their self-fulfilling prophecies.
"Americans say too early to judge Obama performance"
That won't stop the media formerly known as mainstream from trying.
' And not everyone was willing to give Obama more time. "I strongly disapprove of his actions so far," said Boston business executive Randy Waters, arguing that Obama didn't seem to be able to collaborate with lawmakers in Congress. "He says the Republicans have not provided alternatives. I've heard lots of alternatives from Republicans and even Democrats, but he discounts them as unacceptable," said Waters, who has a son in the Army due to be deployed to Afghanistan. In a suburb of Dallas, McCain supporter and retired civil servant Robert Schultz said he didn't bother to watch Obama's news conference. "I had no interest in what he was going to say. To me it doesn't make any difference what he says. The only thing that's constant from his campaign is that he's going to tax some people, somehow, to increase welfare payments in the country," said Schultz, who watched a hockey game instead. But even Schultz, who worries Obama is a socialist, said Obama needs more time before his presidency can be judged. "It's way too early." '
"Republicans Become the Party of Big Government"
From the horses' mouths.
' Politically, it must be frustrating for the Republicans who have worked hard in the past to cut government to see today's Republican president become one of the biggest spenders in decades. When the GOP gained control of Congress in 1994, they promised to eliminate the deficit and reduce wasteful spending. In their Contract with America in 1994, Republicans committed to "restoring fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses." For several years, they did modestly curtail spending growth, and they balanced the budget in 1998 for the first time since the 1960s. The culture of spending seems to have prevailed over the current Republican Party. In his initial budget plan in 2001, President Bush noted: "For too long, politics in Washington has been divided between those who wanted Big Government without regard to cost and those who wanted Small Government without regard to need." Three years later it is clear that Bush has embraced Big Government without regard to cost. '
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
"The Return of Big Government"
Even the Cons are starting to recognize their own BS.
' The return of Big Government? The smart-aleck response here would be something like "Really? I didn't know it ever left." And there's some truth to that view. Even though Americans have elected a generation of political leaders espousing the wonder-working power of free markets, the United States has never come close to resembling a libertarian fantasyland. Social Security and Medicare are still here gobbling up more and more of the budget. Two federal executive departments have been added—Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs—with current budgets of over $100 billion a year. The idea of a flat tax is coming close to joining the gold standard in public-policy purgatory. And despite dozens of cable channels devoted to kids and education, Uncle Sam still subsidizes Bert and Ernie. '
THE WEEKLY STANDARD
"Big-Government Conservatism "
In other words, there is no such thing as "conservatism," when it actually comes to governing.
' The White House needn't have bothered. The case for Bush's conservatism is strong. Sure, some conservatives are upset because he has tolerated a surge in federal spending, downplayed swollen deficits, failed to use his veto, created a vast Department of Homeland Security, and fashioned an alliance of sorts with Teddy Kennedy on education and Medicare. But the real gripe is that Bush isn't their kind of conventional conservative. Rather, he's a big government conservative. This isn't a description he or other prominent conservatives willingly embrace. It makes them sound as if they aren't conservatives at all. But they are. They simply believe in using what would normally be seen as liberal means--activist government--for conservative ends. And they're willing to spend more and increase the size of government in the process. When I coined the phrase "big government conservative" years ago, I had certain traits in mind. Bush has all of them. First, he's realistic. He understands why Reagan failed to reduce the size of the federal government and why Newt Gingrich and the GOP revolutionaries failed as well. The reason: People like big government so long as it's not a huge drag on the economy. So Bush abandoned the all-but-hopeless fight that Reagan and conservatives on Capitol Hill had waged to jettison the Department of Education. Instead, he's opted to infuse the department with conservative goals. Bush has never put a name on his political philosophy, though he once joked that it was based on the premise that you could fool some of the people all of the time and he intended to concentrate on those people. An aide characterized Bushism as "an activist, reforming conservatism that recognizes it's sometimes necessary to use the power of the government to change the status quo." I doubt that Bush would put it that way, but at least it distinguishes him from the ordinary run of conservatives. He's a different breed. '
THE AMERICAN PROSPECT
"How Big Government Got Its Groove Back"
A little reality. Run, Republicans, run!
' In 1996, President Bill Clinton proclaimed that the era of big government was over. It is now clear that the era of the end of big government is over. The post–World War II social contract--an expanding public safety net, provision of health care and retirement benefits through a substantially unionized private sector, and robust personal savings--is under severe stress. To respond effectively to our long-term challenges, the federal government must command an increased share of gross domestic product and extend its reach in other ways as well. The public sector will be called upon to provide new forms of insurance against economic risks and volatility and to assume more responsibility for health insurance and retirement security. To the extent that markets cannot police themselves or provide reasonable returns for workers, government will have to step in. Through the public mobilization of capital and will, we must supply the public goods--investment in infrastructure, research, and post-secondary education, among others--that we have neglected at our peril. And many millions of Americans will be unable to save for the future without new forms of public encouragement and support. As well, we will have to construct a new legal and institutional framework that counters the increasing asymmetries of bargaining power that employees in most occupations now experience. While the right to organize and bargain collectively must be aggressively enforced, the kind of union movement that dominated the field from the 1930s through the 1960s may not be adequate for the 21st century. To the extent that it is not, we will need something to supplement it, such as new legal protections for individual workers. For without effective countervailing power, employees will not be able to negotiate for a reasonable share of productivity gains, median wages and earnings will grow slowly, if at all, and the fortunate few at the top will continue to commandeer the fruits of economic growth. At the same time, the private sector will have to do its part to help finance programs for which the public sector assumes increased responsibility. And individuals will have to shoulder more responsibility, in proportion to their means, for their savings and security. In short, we need nothing less than a new social contract that reorganizes responsibilities among government, individuals, and the private sector. It will take time, experimentation, and political contestation to hammer out its terms. '
"It only looks different: Both parties love big government"
More facts. Sorry, "conservatives."
' Strip away the political finger pointing over President Obama's proposed budget and the fight boils down to a clash of values. Both major parties are really for big government — just big in different places. Republicans say they're outraged that Obama would "borrow and spend" his way to a new behemoth government. But they borrowed and spent their way through the '80s and the current decade. And they love big government — when it's at the Pentagon. Democrats from Obama on down insist that they don't like big government, that they're just forced into a temporary spending spree by the recession. But Democrats love big government as well, when it's for social programs such as universal health care. "The basic difference between Democrats and Republicans in recent decades is which aspect of government spending they prefer," said Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. "With the Republicans, it's defense. With the Democrats, it's education, environment, health care etc. That's been the major difference between the two parties going back to Reagan." The numbers tell the tale. In his eight years, Republican Ronald Reagan increased government spending by 69 percent, led by a 92 percent increase in defense spending as he built up the military to confront the Soviet Union. (These numbers aren't adjusted for inflation.) '
"Let's Hear It For Big Government!"
Taxes? Wait, I have to PAY for this???!!! Yeah, Con's, you sure do. We all do. It's called "personal responsibility." And "supporting your country." Try it some time.
' We certainly need better government (a former president comes to mind), but I'm not sure we need less of it. We need government if only to protect us from capitalism; if anyone still believes the profit motive has its limits, I'd like to know what color the sky is in your world. Here's me being unreasonable again: People who want only fifty cents worth of government are people who just don't want to pay taxes. Which makes me sneer because without all this government—roads, cops, telecommunications systems, public schools—we'd all only be able to make fifty cents. Duh. I pay about half my income in taxes (and I don't make even half as much as you think I do). I don't like it, but I'm a patriot, which means thinking now and then about what's best for all of us, not just me. I don't like my money going to people like KBR and Halliburton and AIG; their allegiance is to money and other rich people, and that kind of government we don't need. Bill Maher summed it up on HuffPo: "The first responders who put out your fires, that's your government. The ranger who shoos pedophiles out of the park restroom...Recent years have made me much more wary of government...stepping aside and letting unregulated private enterprise run things it is plainly too greedy to trust with." Take a page from Bill and say it out loud: I'm for big government and I'm proud! Why he lowered himself to 'debate' this ur-knuckle dragger, I don't know, but still...the video of it made me want to stand up and cheer. '.
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