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Letters 8/15/11

- August 15th, 2011

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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