Class Warfare Blog

December 4, 2011

What Mystery?

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 9:08 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Is anyone mystified by the fact that the U.S. Congress’s approval rating is 9%? Why is Congress so dysfunctional? It is almost as if someone has a campaign to undermine any faith in government at all!

Outrageous, you reply! Is it? Isn’t there a political party that has been blaming all of our problems on the government for the last 40 years, beginning with President Ronald Reagan? Isn’t there a political party using the filibuster rule in the Senate to block anything of substance from happening? Isn’t there a party claiming (erroneously) that the Founding Fathers favored small government and that our government needs to be made small enough that it could be drowned in a bathtub?

Certainly our government is far from perfect and has systemic problems associated with it that need addressing, but without government to buttress the general population from the excesses of business we would really be in the soup. But, still, there is one party that wants to do away with all of that government regulation! Some in that party go so far as to advocate eliminate the Department of Energy, the department that regulates and oversees nuclear energy businesses. Are you willing to put the handling of nuclear waste into the hands of corporations alone? Are you willing to put the regulation of nuclear power plants in the hands of corporations alone, the same corporations who are applying to extend the operating licenses of nuclear power plants that have already been extended beyond the engineered lifetime of those plants? (Was Japan no lesson at all?)

I would rather see the Department of Energy’s mandate expanded to cover all of the commercial forms of energy. They all need regulation (some, like coal, more than a little) and they all need oversight.

If you think corporations can be trusted with these tasks, well, do you remember Enron, the seventh largest company, not just energy company, in the U.S. which made up figures out of thin air to support lavish stock prices and executive bonuses only to have the whole house of cards collapse when it was found that there was nothing behind those bogus numbers? The Enron scandal was considered a corporate wakeup call, but in the ten years since, we have seen a parade of corporations going under for cooking their books in the exact same fashion: Tyco International, WorldCom, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, MF Global, not to mention the very reputable Bernie Madoff.

So should you vote for the people in this party, the people who declare “you can trust corporations, but you can’t trust government.” Are you nuts?

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2 Comments »

  1. I agree, but for me the worst part is that our society debated many of these exact same problems a century ago and more. Two world wars and a depression intervened both to advance some aspects of reform and to retard others. We are far removed from the days where labor disputes could become small wars (or massacres). I fear greatly that we may revisit such scenes before people *wake up* and get serious about fixing the dysfunctional political system and the ever more imbalanced economic life of the nation. Thanks for another interesting piece.

    Comment by Peter Walsh — December 5, 2011 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

    • I am currently reading Steven Pinker’s “The Better Nature of Our Angels” on the decline in violence we are enjoying. I recommend it to you as an interesting read. The general decline in violence notwithstanding, I too feel that things will probably get worse before things get better, especially since we seem hell-bent on letting the inmates run the asylum.

      Cheers!

      Comment by stephenpruis — December 5, 2011 @ 2:35 pm | Reply


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