The primary goal of Republicans in congress is to block anything Obama supports, even when it is their own idea or legislation that will help the American people.
Ayn Rand argues for a radical libertarian approach to markets and government. This is a dangerous approach because we have been there before. We have had a world with no labor laws, no food regulations, no labor protection, limited public safety, no social security, etc. This is a horrific world where feudalism rules, and where the common man has no voice or power. This is the land of limited freedom and opportunity. And this is where Ayn Rand and today’s Republicans want to return. I suggest, that instead of going backward, let’s go Forward.
The American philosopher, John Rawls, addressed this dilemma in an innovative way. He thought of a hypothetical situation that would help guide our ethical principles of fairness. He described a situation where all of us would be in a pre-mortal state, behind a “veil of ignorance,” where we none of us would know what circumstances we would be born into. We could just as easily be born into a wealthy family as we could be born into the slums. With these assumptions, what principles would we all agree are fair principles upon which to build a society?
Voting turnout in the U.S. remains among the lowest of all Western democracies. The U.S. ranks #139 in voter turnout of countries that have held elections since 1945. We have some important elections coming up in 2012. It is important that democracy prevails in these elections. Congress needs to reform our election laws to allow as many voters to participate as possible.
Our media system is broken. It’s primary customer tends to be its advertising partners, who carry an inevitable bias toward corporate power, profit, and self-interest. The large media conglomerates are not fulfilling their role in propping up our democracy as the “four estate.” Instead, we get “infotainment” that feigns the standards of journalist.
Since the 1980s, the Republicans has basically used their “Starve the Beast” strategy. This strategy is basically to cut taxes (i.e., revenues) so that we can’t afford government programs. The ultra-rich are given special tax cut, breaks, credits, loopholes, etc. Military spending is increased to suck up most of the federal budget. With less tax revenues they drive up the deficit, and scare the public about the mounting deficit. Once voters throw them out of office, Republicans happily leave behind a huge mess for the Democrats to clean up. Democrats now have to make the tough choices about spending and reviving the economy. While out of power, Republicans sit on the sideline and criticize anything the Democrats do to fix the mess, and even try to block anything that might help people, such as extending unemployment benefits. Republicans do everything they can to cut social programs that actually help people and create a middle class, and to cut taxes that would actually help us pay down our debt. They turn the public against Democrats with they rhetoric ab out “tax-and-spend-liberals,” and throw in a few words about abortion and gay marriage to please the religious right (but do nothing on these issues while in office). And then they bet on public amnesia to try to regain power in subsequent elections. This strategy has worked for them over the past several decades.
Now that Republicans have reclaimed power in the House, what will be their agenda?
Today, the U.S. has over 725 foreign military based in thirty-eight countries. In contrast to the $1 trillion that we are spending on “defense” each year, the U.S. spends roughly $750 billion on social spending. Much of this spending significantly benefits low-income U.S. citizens. Which of these programs would we be willing to cut? Approximately 31% of the population had at least one spell of poverty lasting two or more months during 2004-2007. Most Americans—59%—will spend at least one year below the poverty line a some point between ages 25-75. So it is something that impacts most Americans either directly or indirectly. Rather than trying to fix our deficit “crisis” by cutting benefits to the needy, we should look at what is wrong with our political and economic systems that continue to increase inequality while neglecting superfluous military spending.
Welcome to Speaking of Democracy! This blog will discuss the most pressing issues of our day. Our purpose is to carve out a more-factual, less-partisan, niche in the political blogging world. The intention is not to defend a particular political party, ideology, or a particular issue, but to challenge the established narratives that are spread […]