I like his take on things, and i think its a worthwhile read regardless where you may be in the political spectrum.
When I became a federal employee 9 years ago (during the Bush administration mind you), I was required to take an oath of office. In my oath I was required to swear or affirm that I would defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. I took that oath, and I meant it. Lately I have been thinking long and hard about that oath, and what it means. I still stand by it, and in so doing I want to share why I believe that the Republican Party has become a domestic enemy of the Constitution.
Over the last few weeks states in the midwest have been in turmoil as Republican led legislatures and executives have been directly attacking public employee unions. In Wisconsin, the governor makes no bones about the fact that he's willing to just fire all the public employees
and say to hell with them if they don't accept the total destruction of all collective bargaining for public sector employees. The railroading of this bill through the Wisconsin legislature has forced the democrats in there to flee the state
to prevent a quorum, and thus killing the bill by default. Similar things are happening in Indiana, Ohio
, and New Jersey
The problem with this big picture, is not that public sector salaries are out of control. Ask any teacher, they get paid shit. Same with cops, firefighters, librarians too. Salaries in the public sector are dismal. Even our benefits are crap. Many of us no longer have pension plans, instead we have deferred investment funds that go into money market accounts that are subject to the vagueries of Wall Street. Public Sector union employees often times don't even have the right to strike. In Wisconsin, the money was there until the Republican governor pushed through a bunch of tax breaks that gave to corporations the $140 million that they wound up losing. Why the hell would they do that?
Because the reality is that the Republican party as a whole wants to dismantle the entire system of American government.
I have felt that this was true for years. It took me until this moment to feel confident in expressing what seems like the most heinous thing anyone could say. But hell, they've been saying it themselves
Yesterday and today I've seen some video clips from Rachel Maddow. I know, she's biased, she admits it herself, but that doesn't mean that she's wrong. Just watch this clip, if you will indulge me for a minute.
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At the 6:20 mark she nails it. The purpose of busting these unions in Wisconsin and other places is solely to destroy Democratic campaign contributors who can compete with the multi-million dollar message organizations funded by other millionaires to help preserve the wealthy elite who run corporate America. At the 7:00 mark she shows side by side who were the top campaign contributors in the 2008 and 2010 elections. In 2008 it was the public sector unions who dominated campaign spending and pushed Obama and a ton of other liberal democrats into office. In 2010, they were outspent by conservative political action groups, and a ton of tea party conservatives, like Scott Walker came into power.
We can ask the question til we're blue in the face if this is fair or not. That's immaterial given the circumstances we find ourselves in today. Electoral politics is driven by who can spend the most money on a campaign and drown out the message of the competition. Sadly Americans are that easily swayed.
But dismantling unions are only a part of a much larger picture.
Take a look at these charts that show the disastrous legacy of President Reagan
Let's look at the cost of the war on drugs. The big legacy of Reagan era politics was his declaration of the drug war. Now, admittedly, drugs were pretty fucking rough in the 80's. But the cost of the war on drugs on greater society was devastating. With the drug war came hundreds of thousands of convictions of criminal drug charges. Before 1980 we barely cracked a total of having 500,000 people in prison. By 2006 under Bush II we had over 2 million people in prison. That's four times as many, and the federal government had to scale up the federal prison system accordingly. Costing us hundreds of billions of dollars in police, corrections officers and court costs. This was a calculated move to increase spending and to change public opinion about the justice system.
Similarly under Bush II there were massive government expansions. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security was the creation of the largest federal government agency in history. It combined dozens of other agencies into one unwieldy leviathan that will cost $57 billion in 2012
. And what's the agency in DHS that most people have transactions with: The Transportation Safety Administration. Again, a calculated move to increase spending and to change public opinion about the efficacy of public safety.
But Bush II was also responsible for the No Child Left Behind Act
. The Act was touted to bring about education reform in public schools, by enforcing regular and rigorous standardized testing. Funding for the Department of Education grew from $42 billion to $57 billion, and teachers across the country were forced to teach students to meet the requirements of these regularly planned exams. School districts around the country began failing and the credibility of public education was undermined.
Each of these moves led to a credibility gap in public institutions, and bloated spending. But wait, where's the money coming from?
At the same time that the Republicans were increasing government programs they were also simultaneously decreasing the government's revenue stream from taxes. The primary cuts in the federal taxes went to those in the top 1% of earners. And these tax rates increased wildly under the Bush Era tax cuts. Take a look at these infographics from Mother Jones
. In 1945, at the pinnacle of WWII, a person earning a million dollars a year was paying out 66% of their salary in federal taxes. Since then it's dropped about 10% every decade, such that under the Bush tax cuts a millionaire only pays 32% toward federal income taxes. So government loses revenue on that front. However, if you look at the next chart on that page you see who most benefits from tax cuts, businesses. As corporate taxes go down, payroll taxes creep up and up.
Remember that Rachel Maddow piece I brought out? Who funds those conservative PAC's? Businesses and millionaires. Businesses and millionaires consistently donate to Republican candidates, because Republicans keep giving businesses tax breaks. With the Union busting going on in multiple states, they seek to eliminate any real Democratic donor competition in elections, and thus sweep the government entirely. What happens then?
Now let's take a look at this handy chart about the increases in the national debt.
You don't have to be a statistician to understand this chart. Under Reagan and both Bushes the Republican Party has increased the national debt to astronomical levels. Only in that brief period of sanity under Clinton was there any kind of exercise in restraint against deficit spending.
Both of these deficit spending booms came during eras when tax breaks were coming left and right. The Reagan Era tax cuts sent billions of dollars back to corporations and the wealthy. The Bush II tax cuts were huge and deep, and as a result the government was forced to borrow to pay for itself.
Why would the Republican party build huge convoluted government programs, increase spending, decrease tax revenue and force the government to borrow to pay for itself?
Here's the plan as I see it laid out. The Republican Party wants to destroy America. This is a long term goal. So they begin by promising tax cuts, which sounds great, and the lower and middle class see a little bit, but the wealthy and corporations see massive gains. The wealthy want to continue this so they keep funding Republican campaigns. The Republicans then begin increasing government programs and government spending, thus creating an artificial budget shortfall. They gut agencies they don't like (Arts and Humanities), overcomplicate others (Education), and bloat others (Defense, DHS). In order to pay for these programs they borrow from foreign countries and rack up trillions of dollars in debt. Then they push candidates who really don't know what they're doing into office (Bush, Palin, etc.), so that they will continue to make the government look like it's worthless, useless and incompetent. And then when the economy collapses, the entire complex of government systems will be forced to close. In the absence of government, corporations will take control of America, dragging us back into the abusive corporate past of wage slavery, poor working conditions, company towns, and family fortunes that last for generations.
The Constitution of the United States was established to protect the people of this country. Over time the ability of actual people to influence government has diminished so greatly that only the most wealthy lobbying groups and political action committees can even crack a dent into the political arena. The Onion even parodied this inability of actual people to make a difference by saying that the American people need to hire our own lobbyist
to do influence peddling in Congress.
It is my sincere opinion, that the actions taken by the Republican Party are an attempt to subvert and eradicate the Constitution. They want to enshrine in law discrimination, and have done so in the past. They want to create discord between different economic classes by creating vast inequalities in income and tax burden. They want to do away with any general welfare programs such as public housing, food stamps, welfare (except to corporations), social security, veterans benefits and medicare. One could even claim that they wish to do away with common defense by overstretching the military in unnecessary global conflict. Each of these elements are basic parts of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
. I believe that these actions combined provide a case that the Republicans are launching a direct assault against the constitution and all that it stands for. As an aggressor against the constitution they should be considered a domestic threat.
Reading back through this article I feel as though I sound like some crazed conspiracy theorist, like Glenn Beck on his little chalkboards pointing out figures and drawing lines to where we realize that Reagan was the Anti-Christ. I don't think that Reagan was the Anti-Christ. I actually went to the funeral and stood in line for hours waiting to get into the rotunda to see the casket lying in state. He was a terrible president with a terrible legacy, but you don't have to be supernatural to be evil. Reagan, Bush, Bush II, Karl Rove, a host of conservative think tanks, corporations and millionaires want this country to be less equal, more to their advantage, and to have no one to tell them otherwise. They want to solidify power, and destroy the last few things left in their path to creating the kind of country we were at the turn of the last century.
Though I am not in a union, I stand with the unions. I believe in the necessity of public services, and I believe in resiliency of our country. I don't believe that corporations will fail if they have to pay higher taxes. I don't believe that a person who earns $27 million a year will bat an eye to lose even two thirds of that sum. They're still fucking millionaires. I also think that there can be government reform without destroying everything we've worked so hard to create.
March on Wisconsin. Give 'em hell. They've earned it.