19 September 2011

Shredding the Remnants of Democracy

Reposted from Thurmans Notebook

Corporate power’s ascendancy over politics and society — by now mostly financial — has reached the point that both political organizations, which at this stage barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

For the public, the primary domestic concern is unemployment. Under current circumstances, that crisis can be overcome only by a significant government stimulus, well beyond the recent one, which barely matched decline in state and local spending — though even that limited initiative probably saved millions of jobs.

For financial institutions the primary concern is the deficit. Therefore, only the deficit is under discussion. A large majority of the population favor addressing the deficit by taxing the very rich (72 percent, 27 percent opposed), reports a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Cutting health programs is opposed by overwhelming majorities (69 percent Medicaid, 78 percent Medicare). The likely outcome is therefore the opposite.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes surveyed how the public would eliminate the deficit. PIPA director Steven Kull writes, “Clearly both the administration and the Republican-led House (of Representatives) are out of step with the public’s values and priorities in regard to the budget.”

The survey illustrates the deep divide: “The biggest difference in spending is that the public favored deep cuts in defense spending, while the administration and the House propose modest increases. The public also favored more spending on job training, education and pollution control than did either the administration or the House.”

The final “compromise” — more accurately, capitulation to the far right — is the opposite throughout, and is almost certain to lead to slower growth and long-term harm to all but the rich and the corporations, which are enjoying record profits.

Not even discussed is that the deficit would be eliminated if, as economist Dean Baker has shown, the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the U.S. were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies’, which have half the per capita costs and health outcomes that are comparable or better.

The financial institutions and Big Pharma are far too powerful for such options even to be considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial transactions tax. ~ Noam Chomsky, America in Decline

Dr. Chomsky, as usual makes some excellent points in his article. Our government, “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” has been hijacked and replaced with a government of, by, and for the wealthy and the corporations at the expense of most of the people. It has perished from the earth.

Huge majorities of the population not only see the obvious wisdom of programs like healthcare, education, and a new Works Progress Administration to pull us out of the economic swamp that forty years of greed driven politics has put us in. We demand these things, yet our elected leaders continue to take us in the opposite direction! What is it going to take to awaken the sleeping masses and force our so-called leaders to once again obey the will of the people?

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