Friday, March 18, 2016

Universal Suffrage

“Universal suffrage” means everyone has the right to vote.  Everyone a) who is a citizen, b) who is at least 18 years of age (and c) who is not a felon (serving time) (a state by state requirement)).  Universal suffrage does not imply that a “democracy” prevails, because democracy means “the people rule.”  And while the people do choose their leaders, their representatives, their public servants, those who they choose seem more beholden to their “funders” – their significant campaign contributors – than to those who elected them to office in the first place.  This is a huge problem, of course.  It is the core of everything that I write about, that our democracy is a sham.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fiscal Responsibility

The idea of “fiscal responsibility” is a pretty simple thing: the government pays for what it buys, or it buys no more than what it can pay for (and sometimes it even saves some monies that were collected from taxpayers, and applies them to pay down the National Debt a little).  Fiscal responsibility disappeared during the Reagan years (I know – you don’t believe me; look it up) when the conservative goal of “making government smaller” ran into a wall of Democrats who refused to slash their own precious programs; but Republicans went ahead and cut taxes anyway.  So, they accomplished half of “making government smaller” (the cutting taxes part); while they put the other part (cutting spending) on hold indefinitely.  The result was predictable and has come true with a vengeance for some 35 years: out of control deficits and an exploding National Debt.  This is NOT fiscal responsibility, it is fiscal IR-responsibility.

Republicans have called themselves the party of “fiscal responsibility” for decades, while they have called Democrats the party of “tax and spend.”   This is what Republicans like to say, and it used to be true, some forty or fifty years ago.  But it has not been entirely true for decades.  Democrats may still be the party of “tax and spend,” but Republicans have become the party of “spend and charge it.”  They vote to fund government programs, even though they know they will not raise enough taxes to pay for them.

During the first six years of the George W Bush administration, Republicans had the votes in Congress (and the White House) to cut “unnecessary and wasteful” programs, programs they found unnecessary anyway.  Not once did they vote to cut programs in a way that made a real difference, but they did continue to vote tax cuts (especially for folks who didn’t need them).  Huge deficits resulted, and the National Debt exploded (and you thought that was Obama’s doing!).