The Common Thread…
What is the link between the 11 people killed in the oil fiasco caused by BP on the Deep Water Horizon, the 29 oil miners killed a few months ago in the travesty that is the Massey Energy Mine in West Virginia, the overly inflamed Healthcare debate last year where Republicans posited that your “grandma would be the victim of death panels” and “big government” would ruin this country, the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case where corporations are now allowed to spend unlimited sums of money during the political process thereby increasing their control of politicians and the political process in general, and the financial meltdown of 2008 that caused the biggest economic turmoil ever seen in this country since the Great Depression and, subsequently, caused the economy to lose upwards of 700,000 jobs in January of 2009 alone and over 8 million jobs during the Bush presidency?
Deregulation & “small” government
A definition: Deregulation – The reduction or elimination of government power in a particular industry, usually enacted to create more competition within the industry.
In other words, where the government lessens restrictions and relaxes laws or companies lobby for these things (and in some cases write the legislation for the politician to introduce and then be voted into law after taking thousands or millions in campaign contributions) in order to keep the government out of the way of private business. Theoretically, (this is the company line given by most Republicans) this will bring in bigger profits (because there are less safety restrictions or restrictions in general which usually cost the company money) which will allow for more corporate hiring which will lead to even more jobs and even more competition which will, in turn, lower the cost for the consumer. You know…, Reagan’s “trickle down economics” theory. Trickle down economics along with smaller government will be better for the people, the working class and the corporations. Everybody wins, right!?
Wrong. It is, in fact, the deregulation of industry, the stripping of union power and the lessening of safety restrictions, instituted during the Reagan age and doubled down on by Bush 1, Clinton (ever heard of NAFTA) , and Bush 2 that got us into this economic mess that we currently reside in. Practically speaking, “trickle down economics” doesn’t even make sense. Do you know anyone, wealthy or not, who is not in search of more money? And if they were to get more money, would they keep the money for themselves or use it to benefit others? Trickle down economics has been proven a fraud. And as an economic system it has decimated the American middle class. Since Reagan, the rich have gotten more wealthy, the middle class has shrunk dramatically and the wealth gap between rich and power has expanded. During the “trickle down” era have you seen companies compete with others and lower prices or have you seen massive companies buy other massive companies and hence decrease competition, lay off workers, send US jobs overseas and exert ever more political pressure on lawmakers, who are beholden to these companies and their profit motive, and their campaign contributions, without which, politicians could not run for office. I see dirty tricks being played on the American people. Political and otherwise. The question continues to be: Are you on the side of MORE corporate influence on the political process, less regulation of these companies and a middle class that is shrinking and less political pressure exerted on politicians and the laws and policies they institute by We the People or are you for just the opposite. Choose your political party wisely and then hold that party accountable to the people that elected them.
In Barbara Streisand’s recent piece on the Huffington Post (that’s right… THE Barbara Streisand. The iconic singer.), she writes,
“Lack of accountability, lack of oversight, lack of regulation, corruption…this all sounds frighteningly familiar. Although many had hoped we had learned our lesson after the recent financial meltdown, this disaster has further proved that free market capitalism can only be trustworthy and accountable if industries are properly regulated. Bush allowed polluters to self- regulate. We can’t assume that companies like BP and Halliburton will spend the time and money to ensure environmental safety, just like we have learned the hard way that financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns will not safeguard our life savings. Sadly, we now know that when companies driven by profit are not regulated, they will not prioritize the public’s best interest.
We have heard people say over and over again that less government is good government. During the health care debate, people wanted government to “stay out of their Medicare,” not realizing that Medicare is a government program. Without government regulations and a trustworthy system of checks and balances, this will not be the last oil spill that could have been prevented…or the last financial meltdown. There’s little the federal government can do now to save the birds, beaches and marshes steeped in oil along the Gulf, but as we move forward, we can demand that our government move quickly to put strong, sound regulations in place across all sectors in order to protect our people and our country”.
And you want the Republicans to run the country again!? Good luck with that…