Democratic Underground  

Fiscal Irresponsibility
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 solution.

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 already have.)

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 of democracy.

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