Class Warfare Blog

December 10, 2011

Conservatives are Winning Their War on Government

In today’s newspaper there was a report on a poll indicating that 79% of surveyed Americans think that our current Congressmen do not deserve re-election. (As always they rate their own Congressman considerably higher.) This is just one indication that conservatives are making progress on their war on the federal government. That this is a genuine effort on the part of the monied interests of this country is undeniable, if for no other reason that Congressmen are behaving in ways that almost guarantee they do not get re-elected, an almost unforgivable sin on the part of an elected official.

The evidence is amazing. Republican senators voted to not extend the temporary payroll tax reduction (for Social Security, Medicare, etc.) because they objected to a 0.7% tax on earnings over $1,000,000, this in the face of a poll of millionaires indicating that their taxes should go up. It is almost as if they have a political death wish. The House of Representatives, which came under Republican control based on a “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” campaign in 2010, hasn’t passed a jobs bill that has become law. The ineffectiveness is staggering, even for Congress.

Additional evidence of the conservatives war on federal government is that conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are attending political fund raising events (Scalia and Thomas), have wives working for lobbyists on issues coming before the court (Thomas), have relationships with monied interests backing business deals backed by justices (Thomas), and other activities that would be ethics violations by any other federal judge in the system. The Supreme Court isn’t subject to the ethics rules of the federal bench, possibly because no one could conceive that conservatives would try to undermine citizen’s faith in government by encouraging such behavior in justices.

One commenter on the court has said that the only pattern you can see in SCOTUS opinions is that if an individual comes in a case against the government, they lose; if they come in a case against a corporation, they lose; if a corporation comes in a case against the government, it wins. All of these undermine people’s faith in government.

In the media, conservative radio show hosts, like Rush Limbaugh, and television giant Fox Media keep up a steady beat that a) you can’t trust government, and b) you can’t trust the “other” media. Vile statements spew forth from these sources that one would have thought had been driven out of our society 50 years ago, “Obama hates white people!” “Obama hates this country,” etc.

Republicans are blocking appointments to federal benches and federal offices at an astonishing clip. Federal agencies with no one in charge rarely perform well.

All of these actions do one thing. They undermine citizen’s belief that the federal government can do anything right. That they are counter to representatives’ desires to get re-elected indicates the seriousness of the campaign.

So, why is this happening now?

The adage is strike while the iron is hot. Conservatives have had a “pack the Supreme Court” strategy for over 20 years and the court has gotten more and more conservative over that time. President Obama has reversed that trend somewhat and part of the pressure to be rid of him is to make sure he makes no more appointments to the court. And the Citizens United court case has given unprecedented power to corporate interests by unleashing floods of corporate money into our elections.

The goal: to shrink the size of the federal government until “it can be dragged into a bath tub and drowned.” Why? Because the state governments are “manageable” (think West Virginia and the coal industry) and eliminating the oversight of the federal government will give corporate interests free reign to make even more money. The fact that they are making record profits right now tells them they are on the right track.

The middle class as we know it was created by the federal government in the aftermath of the Great Depression and World War II. With the rest of the world torn up and us feeling that “we are all in this together” the wages and earnings of working class people exploded and . . . we were all better off. But the filthy rich didn’t feel filthy rich enough, so we have the situation we have now.

They started this class war. If we don’t fight back, we become the thralls of the monied interests: entertained by “reality TV,” barely making do, dreams a thing of the past.

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