Perhaps there is an easy way to solve our nation's economic problems. Eliminate taxes for everyone earning over $100,000 per year and for all corporations? After all, we are told that those at the top of our economy create most of our jobs. If we eliminate their taxes, they will create more jobs.
Why not bar individuals from suing corporations? I recognize that the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Party nationally, and the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce lobby group in our state, have already proposed something similar with a combination of tort reform, "tax limits" and the latest federal budget, but maybe we should not stop at halfway measures. Why not make it clear that corporations should have the same First Amendment rights as other citizens to contribute to campaigns?
Hell, if ExxonMobil makes a profit of $34 billion, why not let the company spend it any way it wants? It could pay for all our elections. ExxonMobil would make sure only those entitled to vote will get a ballot. It will pay for Accenture and Diebold to handle the balloting.
Only a radical would restrict corporate involvement in the political process. Think of how many jobs ExxonMobil is responsible for. Why shouldn't it be invited to participate robustly in our political process? It won't cost us as much.
With these reforms in place, we can get about the business of eliminating unnecessary government programs and truly privatizing everything. Toll roads, not freeways. Sell off national and state parks too expensive to maintain. No more agencies of government dealing with health, drugs, welfare and agriculture. The private sector knows best.
We must stop the trade imbalance and we can do it by getting wages down so our products are cheap enough for poor people in Bolivia to purchase them. Begin by eliminating minimum wage laws. And what is wrong with kids learning a trade at 12 or 14? Kids in Korea are making the products we purchase. Why not compete? Teach job skills that have practical application. Kids love to work and work keeps them out of trouble.
We don't need public schools. It is time to get government out of education. Too inefficient. Corporations should run schools because they will be hiring these youngsters and they understand how to train kids to work the jobs that will be around in the future. We should not be teaching marginal subjects such as philosophy, political science, history and the arts. Let's get serious. We need jobs, not philosophers. We need soldiers, not politicians.
Repeal the New Deal, Fair Deal and the New Frontier. Instead of coddling people, it is time to get rid of food stamps, subsidized housing, free health care for the poor. What incentive is there to work if people get food, shelter and health care from government? Get out and work! Earn your food! Buy a house! Get your own insurance! C'mon!
OK, OK, I am not serious. But the Bush administration and the neocons are serious. They are trying to repeal Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security through the back door by running up deficits so large we will have no choice but to eliminate programs, but not tax cuts for the rich. The Bushies are the only ones who think tax cuts for wealthy supporters, not low interest rates and refinancing, kept the economy afloat.
Republican Abraham Lincoln suggested that "government should do for the people what they cannot do for themselves." This is not the ethic of the neocons. They say coddle the rich, eliminate corporate taxes, and permit them to dominate our politics, control the media and write our laws.
At the moving service for Coretta Scott King, speaker after speaker told the truth to the president, who was sitting on stage, and to the nation. He wasn't listening. Forty-six million people without health insurance; poverty on the rise; racism; low-cost housing in short supply; family-supporting jobs being eliminated. All this while spending on the military coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy are bankrupting America.
And with significant exceptions such as Tammy Baldwin, Ted Kennedy, Gwen Moore, John Conyers, Russ Feingold, Howard Dean, John Edwards and Dave Obey, the Democratic Party seems to have lost its voice. It is time for a bold platform. Time for national single-payer health care and time for free tuition for our technical schools and our universities. Time to break up the oil cartel. Time to get out of Iraq and to raise, not lower, taxes for the well-off.
We need help for small family-owned farms not more subsidies for Monsanto and ADM. We need more teachers, not more soldiers. We need to renew the war on poverty, not pre-emptive wars.
When you read the Bush budget, you must conclude that they don't want to trim the fat, they plan to eliminate government as we have known it since Franklin Roosevelt.
Ed Garvey is a Madison lawyer, political activist and the editor of the fightingbob.com Web site. E-mail: email@example.com.
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