I also wanted to run the material here too, so I figured I would take each item on the list and flesh it out into a (considerably shorter) post of its own. I plan on running more, periodically… I don’t want to blow all them out during the spring and summer, then run out of gas by the elections. But since we’re revving up for the Great Presidential Campaign of 2012 right now, I thought I’d at least better get things started.
Note: When I refer to “Republicans” here, I’m referring only to the national party leaders and political apparatus. The same goes for my use of “Democrats.” Local jurisdictions may vary and I have no knowledge or comment about them.
On the occasions when I do a political post, if I get any kind of blowback in Comments, it’s along the lines of “The Democrats do that too,” or “The Democrats are dirty too,” or “Oh yeah? Well double-dumbass on you!”
The thing is; I don’t care about that. I think that there is ample evidence that both sides play dirty pool and both sides seek to enrich themselves and their benefactors while prolonging their grip on power. That’s a draw. The fact remains that one side is trying to accomplish things in which I greatly believe and the other side is fighting tooth and nail to stop them.
If the Republicans are right about one thing, it’s that elections are about values. We vote for what we value. The Republican Party values two main things: unfettered big business and regressive social policy (usually in the name of religion).
Actually, I believe it’s really just the one thing, or what I call the Republican Prime Directive: the freedom for big business to do whatever they please, consumers and taxpayers be damned, in support of their bottom line.
But because only Big Businessmen are likely to vote for such a platform, and there aren’t very many of them around, Republicans need something else to motivate people to vote against their own economic interest. That’s where the religion and “family values” come in. I’m not saying that the grassroots Conservatives don’t actually believe that stuff; I’m saying that the top of the party doesn’t. But they’ll use it to keep their voter base in line because it doesn’t do any harm to their Prime Directive. It's like...
"So what if the gays can’t get married? Who cares if poor women can’t get cheap birth control or an abortion? Screw’em! Just as long as the big wheels stay greased and the money keeps flowing into Big Oil, Big Pharma, Agribusiness and the almighty Defense Industry, the rest of the riff-raff can fend for themselves. The more their attention is focused on social hot-buttons, and away from what we’re doing behinds the scenes in our well-stocked conference rooms, the better."
Now, I don’t have anything against Big Business, per se. Hell, I work for one of the biggest. But you don’t have to be a history major to see the damage that the deregulation of the financial industry has done to the country. There is one party that is working feverishly to deregulate the finance industry and the other is in favor of preventing another year like 2007. (You know, where the rich guys betting on stock failures get richer and the rest of us get soaked.)
OR, just look at this week’s news about JP Morgan. Do you think the big financial guys learned anything from that complete economic collapse (that they caused)? Obviously not. They’re still pulling the same kind of shit, while at the same time, begging, pleading with and plunging millions of dollars into lobbying Congress to release the shackles of regulation. You know, release those shackles whose removal will allow them to go right back to their old ways, without repercussion.
Two billion dollars, they lost. Say it like Carl Sagan… “Two BILL-YUN dollars.” At least we taxpayers aren’t on the hook for that, but still, that kind of loss can suck the support out of the market in general and whoops! There go our 401k’s again.
In a similar vein, the Democrats fought to set up a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to function independently as they look out for the kind of financial malfeasance that robs the common people and enriches the executives of the financial industry.
So far, the Republicans have tried to create political oversight of the department, (which completely defeats the intended “independent” purpose), withhold approval for anyone to run the department (especially anyone that might be effective) and defund it so that they are too understaffed and financially strapped to operate. Does that sound like it’s in the best interest of the average American?
Hardly. That’s in the best interest of the banking industry, an industry that preys on you and me with relentless fees, hidden behind indecipherable legalese, specifically designed to be impenetrable to the average consumer. They squawked to high heaven at the thought of having to tell their customers, in plain English, what kind of fees they were likely to pay, in clearly articulated circumstances.
Who could possibly be against keeping banks from intentionally scamming customers?
The Republicans, that’s who. Their stance on this issue clearly illustrates whose side they are on.
Hint: It’s not yours. (Unless, you know, you own a bank.)
The Republicans insistence on deregulating industries in general, the banking industry in particular, is one reason why I vote Democratic. You should too.
Note: Bonus points for anyone that caught the reference to “Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales.” And Republicans want those whales dead.