Thursday
Jul152004

« Big Gub'mint »

This might just be the ign'ant ramblings of a neophyte, but let me see if I can get down to the business of what really constitutes "big government." I heard something on NPR today about Stephen Moore, a proponent of economic growth and independence. He loves Reagan. He wants Reagan and his clones to be in power so that businesses can run wild and free, sans interference from big government, and citizens can be in charge of their own financial well-being. I can sort of appreciate that. But only to a point.

It is this rampant freedom that got us where we are today. More freedom for business? You mean so they can do more of this racing to the bottom—cutting wages, benefits, jobs, and making an ever-growing profit from the same? Or should we celebrate the freedom that businesses have to profit from the workers in 4th World countries who earn less than a dollar a day? Or maybe businesses need to be free to make a profit so that they can afford to buy political offices and politicians of any stripe (I hear you need 200 million to buy the presidency this year)?

Forgive me. I don't get it. Hey, entrepreneurs are good. Their innovation and daring spirits are amazing. I applaud that. What I don't applaud is what happens years down the line, when what was a small, flexible, risk-taking unit becomes a part of the status quo—having grown to be a major player, bought out or able to buy others out, eventually reducing competition. Yes, market freedom does in fact create monopolies, because the major players are all looking for a way to profit. Some sell their workers off, some merge, some close, but what ends up happening is that the diversity is stripped out, and fewer and fewer players can play, because the game got so cutthroat that only the biggest could survive. And then, like Enron, the big boys collapse in a big way, and take their down people with them.

How many record labels did we have 50 years ago? 20 years ago? Today? Energy is the same. Agriculture/Agribusiness is the same. Retail is the same. It is all the same, across many industries. Bigger is not better. Bigger is Byzantine.

So how about the government? You know, Republicans love to parrot the Reagan line about limits on big government, but really the military is part of the government, isn't it? I was just a pup for most of the Reagan years, but I seem to remember him ramping up military spending like no tomorrow. The only tangible benefit is that we broke the back of the Soviets, who tried to keep up. But for every tank Reagan bought, for every F-18 and B-1 or B-2, or for the new carriers commissioned on his watch, there had to be social services pared down or eliminated. Or the steel industry had to eat shit because of his trade policies, and farmers were put out of their livelihood. All that, and we STILL had a fucking huge budget deficit, and it only got bigger. Only our un-president Bush has managed to beat the deficit Ronnie ran up. It's not something we should be particularly proud of.

A long time ago, when this country was operating in accordance with a certain historical document called the "Constitution," we used to believe that government was by the people for the people. If that was the case, that would mean that the people were actually in charge of their own affairs, no? So why the fear of big government? It seems to me that the government, such as it was, was there to work for the people mainly because it WAS the people who ran it, and in doing so, people actually got back what they put in, and the bigger the government, the people were more empowered and involved. But now that we have given up the Constitution and that we are content with letting businesses run free because we really need those cheap clothes, or those low interest car loans (to buy gas guzzling Hummers and Expeditions, not to mention fleets of RAM 2500s and F-250s), we are actually not in control of the government. Really. You think your vote counts? Barely. I might be a leftist, but I don't have a lot of faith in the Democrats any more than I have in the Repugnantcans. I pretty much believe the Repugnantcans are total fuckups now, having seen the last three years or so. But really, neither party is serving me. I just have to vote Dem so I can avoid the greater of the two evils. You think either you or I can get into office without first being on the boards of some high profile companies? Or without being career politicians? I may as well give up on my bid for president, and you should too. Forget what the founding fathers said. They didn't know what they were talking about, did they?

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Should we rewrite this erstwhile revolutionary document to read as follows?

We the corporations of the United States, in order to form a more lucrative free market, establish factories in third world nations, insure shareholder profits, provide for the golden parachutes of CEOs, promote the general destruction of laws governing trade and environmental concerns, and secure the seats of political power to ourselves and our cronies, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of [insert multinational corporate conglomerate name here].

You say "no"? Well, stop reading this fucking blog and go do something. Don't buy cheap shit from Wal-Mart (sorry Robin, but I'm thinking long term here, hang in there!), don't buy gas any more than you need to, don't buy from major label record companies, buy more locally grown food instead of chain restaurants and grocery stores, more locally made goods and services (clothing, furniture, jewelry, music & art). In fact, don't be afraid to NOT BUY ANYTHING, and if you can in fact refrain from buying all the petty shit you ordinarily would, you might actually... wait for it... have more money to spend on your own well being! There, it is the Republican principle put to GOOD use! But it takes discipline. See, you can vote for Tweedledum or Tweedledee, but the corporations are the ones who actually shape your life. Don't give them your money. It's called "voting with your dollars." You can turn off your TV so you aren't bombarded with the onslaught of ads and utter bullshit that compels you to spend your last dime. A lot of people are poor or bankrupt because they can't ever seem to not buy so damned much shit. Prosperity is a greater enemy than poverty.

Major corporations are only big because they have your money. They can buy and sell politicians who act on THEIR behalf before they act on yours. But they only get that big because you are so willing to share your money.

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