August 30, 2003
By Norbert Radtke
For over twenty years now I have heard the right wing denigrate
Democrats and the left in general. They have tried to turn
the word "liberal" into a perjorative. They have been throwing
out the phrase "tax-and-spend liberal" and repeating it over
and over in the manner of the "big lie" until people are convinced
that the Democrats can't be trusted with the economy in general
and taxes specifically.
Let's take a look at that for just a moment. Before the
Corporacrats, the Kleptocrats, and the Free Market Fundamentalists
took over we tended to pay for government as we went along,
raising taxes as needed (usually... they are politicians,
after all). What did the right give us in place of tax-and-spend?
They gave us borrow-and-spend! Think about that. Their solution
to the problem was to put it on a credit card. Pushing the
the cost of government off onto future generations is their
Who lobbies for the unborn?
Who asked my great-grandchildren if they were willing to
accept this debt obligation from us? If the right is so willing
to speak for the unborn when it comes to abortion, how come
they are silent about the crushing debt burden they are leaving
them? Is this not "taxation without representation?" How can
the collection of this debt be a legally binding contract,
enforced by the full weight of the government, when the unborn
do not even have the right to vote? Is this not a far greater
evil than "tax-and-spend"? Is this not the reason we declared
our independence from King George?
Why has the Democratic party been so silent on this issue?
A presidential candidate who would make this an issue would
electrify the electorate. It goes straight to the heart of
the unfair manner in which Republicans handle the economy.
The patent unfairness of it hasn't even dawned on most people.
They don't want to know the dirty details of financing the
Government, so they tune out and watch "The Bachelor" instead.
Just don't raise my taxes! I don't care how you finance it!
The Market Fundamentalists in general have done a superb
job of destroying any idea of "the commons" or the "commonwealth."
Some things are just too important to privatize, as the East
Coast blackout clearly shows. We need to take care of each
other. We are all in this together. And that includes future
generations. We have no right to trash the education system,
starve the infrastructure to death, cheat our veterans, and
steal from the future to give a kick-back to the very people
who bought our government. A trillion dollar giveaway to the
already wealthy and the financing of trillions of dollars
of debt by our childrens' children for generations to come
is neither compassionate nor conservative.
What is the solution?
A very good place to start would be to legislate out of
existence the unfortunate clerical error in United States
vs. Southern Pacific that granted corporations the same
free speech rights as individuals, and the equally unfortunate
1967 Supreme Court ruling that equated money with speech.
Corporations are not voters, nor are they citizens. They have
usurped our position as citizens in the electoral process.
Unless the common man has an equal chance of running for
office as the millionaire (or billionaire) with their personal
fortunes and PAC money and corporate support, this country
will continue to slide towards extremes of poverty and wealth.
The governing of our own lives will continue to be taken from
our hands and placed into such supranational bureaucracies
as NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO with the right to overturn local
environmental regulations. Corporate money in elections is
the poisoning of our democracy. Clean election laws need to
be enacted in all fifty states.
Businesspeople do not have a better handle on how to run
this country. Just look at our so-called CEO White House.
When the Bush administration gets intelligence they do not
want they do what the CEO's do - they "cook the books." When
the EPA presents information that they don't want, they "cook
the books." Honor and decency are gone in Washington. We have
become a nation of dogs eating dogs. We have lost the ability
to cooperate. We're too busy competing. We don't want to think
about things like the common good for fear that somebody is
going to take more than their share. (I've got news for you,
America. While you were sleeping the thieves in Washington
I know it's all a pipe dream. I know the DNC is just as addicted
now to corporate money as the Republicans are. But it is America
that is suffering from withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal