© Josh Sager – January 2015
Over the last few decades, the modern Republican Party has devolved into an organization that exists solely to tear down the societal bridges that helped those currently at the top of society reach their lofty positions. In short, their central motivation is to tear down social programs, deregulate, and cut taxes.
While there are obviously many factors that led to this shift within the GOP’s ethos, the largest such factor was the infiltration of money into politics after the Buckley v. Valeo SCOTUS decision determined that money equaled speech. This decision allowed wealthy donors to gain massive control over political parties through directed “donations” (ex. only donating to politicians who support the donors’ view of government), and led to a complete cooption of the GOP by a small group of wealthy interests.
These wealthy interests benefit from “shrinking” select parts of the government through cuts and deregulation.
Cuts in social programs—primarily education—create a system of social stratification where the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. Those who can afford to send their kids to private school do so, leaving the vast majority of Americans to the underfunded and derided public school systems. At the end of the day, this creates an overclass who are on track for white collar jobs, and a massive underclass that is forced to compete for low-wage, low-benefit, positions with little chance of advancement. This stratification creates a buffer for the rich, where they don’t have to worry about lower class people advancing and cutting into money that would otherwise be left to the already wealthy.
Deregulation allows corporations to exploit workers and harvest immense profits on the backs of those who have very few choices. Minimum wage protections are kept meager, at best, while few benefits (ex. health insurance, sick days, etc.) are guaranteed and employers are allowed to create dangerous work environments (ex. unsecure coal mines).
The GOP’s attempts to eviscerate government are particularly galling considering most of the politicians involved have benefitted from the very things that they now seek to destroy for their rich masters. There are innumerable examples of this, but here are two particularly egregious examples:
The anti-welfare champion Paul Ryan used Social Security survivor’s benefits from his father to pay for his college education—despite this, he now support privatizing and cutting social security so that future generations will not have the opportunities that we gave him. Additionally, Ryan now receives a $174,000 per year salary, complete with impeccable benefits and the ability to take over 200 days off a year, from the public trust.
Jono Ernst, the pig castrating conservative lunatic from Iowa, decries all welfare and social spending, yet fails to see the $460,000 her family has taken in farm subsidies as “wasteful” or “big government.” As the average American on food stamps gets $133 per month in aid, some simple math tells us that Ernst has received the more money in aid than 288 SNAP beneficiaries would receive during a full year.
These sell-outs are simply burning the bridges behind them now that they have reached a point where they no longer need significant government assistance. Their privilege will allow their children to be educated, clothed, fed, and have access to white-collar opportunities. Their jobs give them access to top notch healthcare and virtually guarantee them a longer than average life in an area of their choice. They will never have to worry about being stuck in a neighborhood next to a factory farm that showers them with feces or in the backwash of a coal power plant that gives their children asthma and lung cancer.
The society that these sell-outs and their corporate masters are leading us into a form of feudalism, where a select few “lords” use puppet bureaucrats to control the society and put a veneer of legitimacy on their rule. It is a toxic society where the vast majority of citizens are completely dispossessed and forced to scramble for the crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich while futilely dreaming of a better world.
If we want to avoid this world, we need to elect people who actually serve the people instead of their donors—this includes progressives, true conservatives (not the corporatist imbeciles who have taken over the name “conservative in the current political system), and everybody in between. We need to build up the national infrastructure and prevent corporatism from creating exploitation. While this will be very difficult, it must be done and we must begin this process immediately.