(Photo from the New York Daily News)
In an essay titled "Speak, Money" in the October issue of Harper's, Roger D. Hodge talks of suffrage:
"Ideally," he says, "our ballots purport to be expressions of political will, which we hope and pray will be translated into legislative and executive action by our pretended representatives. ...
"Alas ... voting is the beginning of civic virtue, not its end, and as suffrage has expanded so has its value been steadily debased. The locus of real power is elsewhere. Wealth and property qualifications, poll taxes, and the like are very far from being historical curiosities; they have simply mutated."
Here's the crux of the matter, which so many of us are feeling so deeply and painfully:
"Campaign contributions and other forms of political spending have assumed that old exclusionary function [e.g. poll taxes], and only those who can afford to pay are able truly to manifest their political will. Voters still 'matter,' of course, but only as raw material to be shaped by the actual form of political influence--money--which molds the body politic be realizing itself in the ductile mass of common voters."
Now, this state of affairs, claims Mr. Hodge, has a name. It is "corruption." Here's the process and the result: "Corruption, in its institutional sense, denotes the degeneration of republican forms of government into despotism, and typically comes about when the private ends of a narrow faction of citizens succeed in capturing the engines of government ... a corrupt citizenry is one that has allowed its private and narrow personal interests to trump those of the general public."
Mr. Hodge's entire essay may be found in the October 2010 issue of Harper's, pp. 13-17.
Now to the so-called "deficit" problem, which may be a real problem, but the Republicans really do not care about the deficit. They care only that their ideology triumphs no matter the cost to the public - especially to the poorest and most needy of our citizenry.
To repeal the health care bill will increase the deficit by at least $230 billion dollars.
Thus repeal of the health care bill is not about deficit reduction. It's about petulant Republican ass-holes in Congress pushing their moldy and quite rotten views about government onto an ignorant and unsuspecting public!
If one is serious about reducing the deficit, one does not start with programs that keep people alive, but with programs that kill people. Like, say our warmongering program; by reducing the Pentagon budget.
Again, from Harper's October issue:
Thirty-eight percent "of this year's federal budget deficit [is] attributable to Bush-era tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
One does not begin reducing the deficit by cutting Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, programs vital to the well-being of millions of our citizens. The tea party crackpots and other goofy Repugnicans like Sarah Palin have used to great effect the big lie about "death panels" in the health care reform bill. Now they are using the big lie about deficit reduction, claiming that the health care bill will send the deficit into the stratosphere. Obviously, they know what they say is not true. But truth doesn't matter because they live only for political power. That end justifies every means available to them, no matter how low or scummy those means might be!
Honest people, people truly concerned about not only the deficit but American citizens, will start cutting the deficit by raising taxes on the rich and ultra-rich! We should not be repealing health care reform, we should repeal Bush's tax-cuts for the wealthy!
But most of our politicians are bought and paid for by the wealthy in our society. Thus, the poorest among us will necessarily bear the brunt of Republican and blue-dog Democrat machinations.