Confusion Rules

To the Editor:
    How can it be that every deficit-complaining, Romney/Ryan, Tea Party supporter fails to see that every unpaid-for, deficit-creating policy, be it Medicare Part B, the Bush tax cuts, the “off-budget” wars, and banking deregulation and bailouts, were Republican initiatives?  And how can they, after the still rumbling international bank debacle, want more deregulation and less government without seeing that it is corporations and the financial industries that are writing federal legislation and the tax codes, that these are the forces behind “the government” they so dislike and distrust?  Do they not see that all the millions pouring into Conservative candidates are there in the hope of preserving the favorable status of the tax structure for the very wealthy and for a Supreme Court that consistently rules in the favor of wealth and corporate power over the rights and well-being of the public and the common man?
 – RP
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Capitalism Is Not A System of Government

To the Editor:
    Given the nature of human nature, history shows that the so-called “freedom” of unregulated, free-market capitalism simply does not work.  Further, “capitalism” is merely an economic system that allows wealth to be made from wealth.  It is not a system of government and is not, by its nature, automatically conducive to democracy and, in fact, seems increasingly a corrupting influence on our representative democracy. The joke about the Golden Rule, that those with the gold make the rules, demonstrates just how far from being democratically governed we are today in America.
    Important also to note here is that we are not dealing with absolutes.  Neither capitalism nor democracy is, of its own, intrinsically good or bad.  What seems lacking is a morality of discipline and self-government with a watchful eye toward a common good.  Edith Hamilton’s claim that Athenian Greece invented the freedom of self-government, rose to glory, then fell by succumbing to the lure of unlimited freedom and power should stand as a warning to all Americans that conscience is still an integral part of any social contract.
RP

Fear and Loathing

To the Editor:
 The explanation for the rising tide of Conservative economic theory in Congress lies in our modern Supreme Court rulings that money and free speech are created equal and that corporations have an unlimited right to spend money to influence elections.  Our politicians have become terrified at the power of money and, particularly, the power of money in media.  Despite overwhelming polling supporting raising taxes (actually returning taxes to the levels of earlier, more prosperous times) on corporations and the wealthy, raising revenue has never been on the table and the Grover Norquist/Koch brothers/Tea Party/antii-government/anarchist elements of the Republican Party have gained an improbable ascendency in Washington.  There is no longer a center in government, only the far right and the ultra for right.  Cutting government failed to right an economic collapse in the Thirties.  There is no reason to believe it will succeed today.
RP

Whose Government

To the Editor:
    Be it Greece or Portugal or Ireland or Spain or Italy or England or Iceland or here in the United States, average, everyday citizens are being shouldered with taxes, austerity measures, and loss of social safety nets all in the name of righting an economic collapse decidedly not of their making.  Meanwhile the guilty parties, the “too big to fail” financial institutions and rating agencies whose greed and manipulation created this depression/recession, have been rewarded for their bad behavior with bailouts and continue having majestic profits and obscene CEO salaries and bonuses.  And here, particularly, there is a massive effort to deflect the public attention away from these colossal giants:  it’s Social Security, it’s Medicare, it’s the unions, it’s the public sector, it’s school teachers, and the biggest of all, it’s “the government”!  The question seldom asked though is:  just who is this government that is so frightening and incompetent?  With lobbyists writing regulations (and even legislation) and financial interests literally buying elections and politicians, it is impossible today to say that America today is still a democracy, a government of, for, and by the People.  If the Tea Party adherents do not wake up to this fact, the average American’s quality of life will only continue to deteriorate.  Becoming the minions of an elite class is most certainly not The American Dream.
RP