Midterm Choice: Profiteers or Bureaucrats

welfare martFive years ago, on one of my “UFO Tours” (coined by comedian Bill Hicks, when you only appear in small towns in front of a handful of people so you start to doubt your own existence), I had a show in Burley, Idaho – home to some of the warmest and most hospitable inhabitants I’ve ever hung out with.

Burley is a town of less than 10,000 residents whose median annual income is $27,981, far below the state or national average. The center of Burley is a Walmart. Across the street is a Rent-a-Center which is next door to a Check Cashing place. These three establishments are the jewels of capitalism. Walmart’s bottom line is always the bottom line. Profit trumps all at the giant box store to end all box stores. Walmart’s wages are so low you can only afford to shop at Walmart. A modern homage to sharecropping. Rent-a-Center allows their customers to pay high prices for low quality appliances and furniture in turn for monthly payments. Check Cashing places – providing payday loans and charging outrageous amounts for emergency lending – are parasites of poverty.

If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, which most people in Burley arguably are, it’s death by a thousand (as in, everyone-takes-a) cuts.

So the center of town is a testament to freedom…for corporations.

And the town smells like dog feces. In the middle of winter it was about 20 degrees outside, and I looked under my shoe to see if I stepped in anything. The entire town smells like that. I asked why, and I was told it was because of pig farms outside of town. According to a New York Times Freedom of Information request regarding toxic water in the U.S., the City of Burley has had 285 EPA violations. When the report was issued in 2008, Burley was noncompliant 12 out of 12 quarters.

So the air and water around town are a testament to freedom…for corporations.

And this is how the GOP wants America to be for those who work for a living. When Republicans talk about freedom, they don’t mean the freedom to be able to drink clean water piped into your home. When they talk about freedom, they don’t mean a job that pays enough to live on. When they talk about freedom, they don’t mean not being a victim of predatory lending.

No, instead they want the government to stay out of business regulation. Less regulation equals freedom…for corporations.

“I think having a moratorium on new federal regulations is a great idea, it sends a wonderful signal to the private sector that they’re going to have some breathing room,” said Minority Leader John Boehner in July of this year.

When the GOP talks about “breathing room,” they don’t mean clean air for us. They mean freedom…for corporations.

And if you think what they really mean is “free market” – that’s wrong. A free market’s foundation is honesty and transparency. What the GOP claims as their “free market” principles are actually fixed market conspiracies favoring monolithic and monopolistic corporations at the expense of everyone else’s quality of life.

“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies,” wrote the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. The “all regulations are bad” viewpoint, the “cut taxes at any cost” doctrine and the “let business reign” dogma of the right-wing caused the economic collapse of 2008. Wall Street and Banks were allowed to rule. Government ceded power to corporations. The economy became so hollowed out and dried up – it cratered. If you want to see how GOP convictions work in the real world – look at the final few months of the Bush Administration.

Tina DupuyAnd if Social Security were privatized – as Bush mentioned last week regretting not accomplishing – we would have had tenfold the tragedy. How can the rigged faux-free market fix the problem of millions more seniors with no safety net? Quite simply: it won’t.

It’s understandable – Americans are mad at the government for not working for us – now we want the government to go away. Get drowned in a bathtub. More government? Freer business? Each feels like putting a hot compress on a burn at this point.

The fact is we have a choice in the midterms between profiteers or bureaucrats. And all things being equal – at least the bureaucrats are accountable to “we the people.”

Tina Dupuy

Reposted with permission.

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Comments

  1. Temporarily Anonymous says

    Wal-Mart is doing exactly what Obama wants them to do. They go far enough to just please him and then the rest of us can jump off that high cliff. I hate Wal-Marts because they have moved into areas and have put small family run businesses out of business. Obama likes Wal-Mart because they employ people and give them half pay half health insurance and force them to still be depending on the government with food stamps or other things. That is his entire goal is to turn us into this Global One World Order under the UN with one Nationalized Bank for the entire world, with this Obamacare non health care that will make the young people who are not very sick pay more for the so called health care and the older being told after a while they are not worth anything and cannot contribute to society so they will get less health care and their will no longer be given medications to keep them alive and the younger people will have to realize they will not get to live probably as long as their parents. That their will be no more money for innovation on new procedures or medications we will have to all be stuck with what we have now.
    Robert Reich’s video on you tube “What an honest President would say about health care” and he being an advisor to Obama and others then you know what Obamacare is all about. It was made in 2007 but now you can see that Palin was right, there are death panels in Obamacare.

  2. Anita Martinez says

    Well, Ms. Dupuy, what are your solutions for the City of Burley. Did you ask the citizens of that city if they wanted the WalMart closed down or the pig farm closed down or the check cashing store closed down? No, these businesses that you hate are providing a services for these people. If they were not they would have to closed down, because unlike government they cannot just tax the people in order to stay in business. And about clean water and clean air…what?? the Republicans have clean water piped only to their homes and not to the rest of the city!! Same for clean air. We all want clean air and clean water. It is the responsibility of the local people to hold their “local” government accountable. Sure, you are so right bureaucrats are “always” accountable!!! Ask the people of the city of Bell, CA., how well their elected officials took care of them. I don’t know anyone who got rich by being on welfare (well, unless you are a government employee who can double dip the system or get a big paycheck and pension just by showing up at the office), but I do know a lot of people that have done very well by working for the so-call big bad corporations or “heaven forbid” when into business for themselves and did very well by putting in long hours of hard work.

    Ms. Dupuy, I do not believe for one minute that Ms. Pelsoi, Ms.Boxer or President Obama, care for one minute if I can feed my grandchildren or not; or for that matter any politican of any party. I want the government to provide safety for the country and that’s about it. I want the government to stop picking my pockets to “spread the wealth around” and to stop picking my pockets to lined their own pockets. If you have solutions, please outline them or else move to the City of Burley and help correct the problems.

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