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Letters 08/19/2011

- August 19th, 2011  

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The real deficit

We have a “democracy deficit disorder” in our country. Here’s the evidence:

• Endless wars;

• Constant campaigning and lobbying;

• Debased public discussion;

• Corporate spin replacing investigative journalism;

• An economy built on debt and military spending;

• Fear mongering against anyone who doesn’t look or talk like us, or has a different lifestyle;

• Protecting wealthy corporations at the expense of the public good;

• Subsidizing companies that don’t need it;

• Free market fantasy that sends our job overseas;

• Exporting jobs to countries that pay slave wages and degrade the environment;

• Privatizing the commons (water and public lands);

• Attacking public education and unions;

• Allowing the powerful and wealthy to write our laws;

• Ignoring climate change that is affecting the lives of all peoples;

Being a citizen requires more than voting; it requires questioning and being skeptical. It means digging deeper and thinking critically. Whatever happened to informed, thoughtful, in-depth discussion without rancor and insults?

There is much to be done to build resilience for changes already happening.

It is time to stop allowing pundits and politicians to steer our future.

We are all responsible. The destiny of the earth is in our hands.

Ann Rogers • TC

Our democracy is broken

Our government has lost its bearings. The economy teeters on the brink of a depression, the military is broken by protracted, useless war and repeated deployments that break the spirit of the troops, and the Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads each determined to outlast the other while the ship of state is at risk of sinking.

There are remedies for this nonsense. First: no war without universal conscription and a war tax. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are being fought by enlistees from rural towns where there is little or no work and a solution appears to be to enlist and get money for college. If everyone, male and female of draft age were at risk, there would be a national protest. If everyone had to pay taxes to finance the war, currently estimated at $30,000 per person, the public would never approve of a war.

In World War II men were drafted for the duration; in the Korean War for 24 months. Repeated deployments -- a horrid mistake -- break marriages, destroy families, and create a population of suicidal, depressed, unemployed veterans.

As for the economic crisis, the dreadful deficit spending and enormous national debt, it’s not only a matter of cutting spending; it’s a matter of increasing revenue, which means taxes. The Republicans, in their determination to destroy the middle class and create a country of serfs struggling to exist in poverty while the rich get richer, blame Medicare. The national health program which now serves only half the people as Medicare and the VA, should not be financed from the general fund, but by a health tax, just like the Social Security tax, and those budgets kept separate, untouchable.

The Tea Party zealots, some of whom have never before served in any elected office, are blocking compromise, which is an essential solution in political horse trading.

Add the betrayal of the American public by the Supreme Court which handed over the electoral process to the highest bidder, namely corporations. Our democracy is broken. I doubt if the American public will rise up in revolt like the Egyptians, for Americans are too docile and too brainwashed by the likes of Fox News and Rupert Murdock. If you look at the test scores of our high school dropouts, we are also too dumb. H.L. Mencken had a name for us: Americanus Doofus. He was right.

God save the republic.

Harley Sachs • Houghton

 
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