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Government For Dummies

There’s a great quote making the rounds these days from an anonymous senior Democrat: “We’ve only had subpoena power for the last six weeks and every tree that we’ve barked up so far has had a cat in it. Imagine where we’ll be after six months.” Heh indeedy. I guess at some level, though, you could become concerned that the country will grind to a halt over the next 18 months because of this, with nothing much of anything being accomplished. But then, is that really a “bad” thing? Seems to me that the next two years is basically all about holding this administration at bay so that no more damage to democracy and the future of this country can be done by these incompetents. And a secondary objective is to assess the damage so that when we do get some competent people back in the White House, they can have a clear picture of what all needs to be fixed. Given our form of government where we don’t have the possibility of calling for a general election at any point in time, I can’t think of a better plan of action by the Democrats. In fact, if nothing terrible happens over the next two years, that would be a major improvement over the previous six years which has been one major disaster after another.

Hopefully one by-product of all these investigations that we will see over the next two years is the total destruction of the existing Republican party. The people that control that party right now are so morally bankrupt that you can’t possibly stay in the party and maintain any semblance of decency. Case in point being the pathetic downward spiral of John McCain. I don’t doubt that there are a lot of fine people still in the Republican party — but the only way they can prove to anyone that they still have some morals and ethics is to totally renounce the party. Why not start a new party, a truly conservative party? Even call it just that, so that maybe they can be reminded of exactly what it is they do stand for. There’s nothing wrong with conservatism at all — heck, fiscal conservatism whereby you actually take in as much money as you spend makes a lot of sense. And a conservative foreign policy where you don’t go around nation building, particularly in places where no one wants you to begin with, also makes a lot of sense. So it would be nice to actually seem some conservatives involved in running things.

But there’s no sign of true conservatism at all in today’s Republican party. These people wave the flag and talk about how great democracy is — when the reality is they have no use for democracy at all. What they want is some form of plutocracy, where the rich get richer and everyone else is beholden to the wealthy, where the executive branch is 100% controlled by them and wields virtually totalitarian control over the country. And they will also rave on about the merits of capitalism — when the reality is they have no use for it and free markets at all. What they want is really a form of corporate socialism, where companies are above the rule of law and can do virtually whatever they want in the pursuit of profits, where they control the government so that whenever a handout is needed, it’s there and whenever there’s a military intervention that’s needed it’s there.

The irony is that the only way that democracy and capitalism can survive is with strong government regulation of business. This is plain old common sense. The business of corporations is to make a profit, period. The idea that a corporation has some kind of “conscious” — has morals and ethics, has some type of civic and social responsibility — is so laughable as to be absurd. Those notions not only do not translate to bottom line profits, they often lead to less profitability. Sure, selling the public on the idea that the corporation is a good citizen can be profitable — and that’s indeed what the public relations and advertising departments end up doing quite a bit of. But that’s all a charade. Given the choice between doing the right thing and making a profit, the corporation is always going to choose the latter. That’s not even debatable. And this is why you need government regulation of business — and the bigger and stronger the corporations get, the stronger the regulation that is needed.

If you can’t see that, try this analogy. What would a professional football game be like without referees who have absolute control over the game? It would be total chaos — the job of football players is to win the game, not “play fair”. That’s why linemen are going to try to get away with holding on every play, why receivers will try to get away with pushing off, why defenders will try to use their hands as much as possible. It’s up to the referees to see that the players stay within the rules of the game — but the players themselves are going to push things as far as they can, because their objective is winning. This is exactly how the corporate game is played. The corporations do whatever they think they can get away with, and the government makes sure that the game is played fair. It’s that simple. We need strong government oversight of business just as much as the NFL needs referees.

But alas, so few people seem to understand this. If you support a strong government, you’re typically labeled a “socialist”. That’s hogwash. It’s the only way to have a thriving capitalistic-based democracy.