Sept. 18, 2014 By Jack Jodell.
This is the third and final segment in my series of the compelling reasons I have found to be a Progressive. Over the entire 6+ year history of this blog, it has been clear for all to see why I could NEVER, in good conscience, be a Libertarian, a Wall Street Democrat, a reactionary Tea Partier, or a conservative Republican. I find far greater kinship with the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. and Robert F. Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Keith Olbermann, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, and even LBJ – than I do with Rand Paul, Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, DICK Cheney, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, John McCain, Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, Milton Friedman, Grover Norquist, or Mitt Romney, to name but a few. For the former group is composed of visionary people who believed that government can and should be a force for the common good, while the latter either despised government, or saw it as an impediment blocking the paths of themselves or their buddies to obtain what they, themselvess, wanted, or, even worse, something to use for the purpose of obtaining wealth for private individuals. Some final issues on why I side with Progressives rather than with members of the other groups:
8). TAX EVADERS – While nobody relishes the idea of paying taxes, fair-minded and practical people recognize that taxes are necessary to maintain our military, police, schools, and infrastructure, and can be used to help level the economic playing field to ensure that nobody gets too far ahead at the expense of all others, or becomes too powerful for the common good. They are literally the dues a civilized person must pay to live in a civilized society. Taxes pay for the roads that businesspersons use to move their products to and from the marketplace on, and to pay for the education and discipline that workers need to make them suitable employees. They also pay the salaries of the police who protect businesses, as well as to provide for the needs of the military which protects the country as a whole. In this narrow sense, the paying of taxes is, therefore, a patriotic duty to be shared by all citizens. Naive, greedy, and selfish individuals, as well as a good number of Libertarians,Tea Partiers, and conservative (reactionary) Republicans may disagree, but they are dead wrong. Those who deliberately avoid paying taxes (the wealthy who shield exorbitant extra profits in overseas tax shelters) are detestably greedy, and the products they sell should be avoided by all fair-minded people. Greedy multinational corporations who typically underpay and exploit their vast labor force and then attempt to use tax inversion schemes (whereby they claim their headquarters is foreign-based and is therefore exempt from paying their fair share of taxes here) are equally detestable and should likewise be avoided. Burger King falls into this category, and that is why I encourage everyone to BOYCOTT BURGER KING!
9). PRIVATIZATION – For years, right-wingers have been trying to take as much from government-operated producers of goods and services as they could and put it in private hands. The focus has even extended to our military. This is a cause also championed by Libertarians. Progressives believe this is a fundamentally wrong action to take. For one thing, once a formerly government-run program becomes privatized, all transparency and accountability vanishes. Private companies keep as much as they can absolutely secret. PROFIT replaces the common good as the sole determinant for undertaking a particular action. This invariably leads to employee layoffs and stagnant worker wages, as well as the outsourcing of jobs, with not necessarily any increase in production. It enables a small circle of owners to greatly prosper while excluding those who actually perform the work. Regarding our military, once many functions became privatized, issues of soldier safety began to arise, as military contractors began cutting costs to increase profits. Corruption set in as former Vice President DICK Cheney awarded huge government=paid contracts to his old company Halliburton, and cost overruns began skyrocketing. The oft-repeated claim that privately held companies operate more efficiently than government-run programs is FALSE! A perfect example lies in health care. Medicare does a superb job in delivering health care to seniors and those on disability, and does so with a relatively miniscule 4 – 5% overhead. Privately-held insurance companies and for-profit hospitals have typically operated with overheads of well over 20%! Regrettably, the hapless American consumer/taxpayer has been footing the bill for this difference, paying for non-health care related expenses like advertising budgets as well as CEO and Boards of Directors’ exorbitant salaries.So much for the efficiency argument! Privately-operated prisons have come into vogue in certain states, and once more corruption has reared its very ugly head. Numerous children have been recklessly and needlessly imprisoned on very flimsy grounds just to satisfy enrollment requirements for these institutions. This is unjustifiable in all senses of the wrd! For years, those who hate all government aid for the poor or working poor have insisted that those people (whom they don’t care about one bit and actually look DOWN upon) would be far better off if churches, rather than the government, would be providing their care. This is patently absurd, because NO church has either the funds nor the manpower to deliver the type of aid needed to properly do the job!
Once more, it all boils down into whether you believe the government can and should be a force fpr the common good (as I and other Progressives do), or whether you oppose all government intervention in business and in a person’s life (as the Libertarians, extremist Tea Party crackpots, conservative and reactionary Republicans believe).
10). DISENFRANCHISEMENT – in recent years, there has been a disturbingly unified trend among far-right Republicans to find ways for them to keep entire blocs of their political opponents from voting. Those who usually don’t vote Republican have been prime targets. These have included blacks, Hispanics, Asians, students, ex-convicts who have served their time, the poor, and even the working poor. To keep these groups from voting, a number of sinister tactics have been used. Voting hours at polls in poorer areas have been greatly reduced, making it very tough for those with 2 or 3 jobs to find time for voting. Entire blocs of voters’ names have been stricken from voting registers. The number of voting machines have been reduced in key precincts in hopes that very long lines will result, reducing the numbers of likely voters.Students have been made to vote only at their home polling place rather than at a spot near their campus.The ability for voters to vote early or by absentee ballot has been greatly reduced. There has been a growing push for voter ID cards, available at a fee, making it much harder for the poor to be able to vote. Circulars have been distributed in key areas deliberately misinforming voters about nonexistent changes in the election date. WORST of all, billionaires like Sheldon Aselson and the nefarious Koch brothers have pre-bought many thousands of hours of TV and radio advertising time, and are busy bankrolling and producing slick, misleading or inaccurate ads designed to fool voters into voting for the candidates THEY favor, rather than for the ones who may actually deliver what the voters want or need. Our very overly activist EXTREME Court made this blatant, unfair interference possible with their preposterous 2010 Citizens United ruling. This insane verdict basically declared that money is free speech (even though it certainly is NOT!), and ended nearly all restrictions on the amount a wealthy individual or group can contribute to a particular political campaign. Young children often display far more common sense than the conservative majority of that blasted Court did in rendering this absurd ruling! Progressives recognize all of the moves listed in this section to be antidemocratic in nature, advocated by those who have no respect for democracy itself, and urge everyone to join us in our fight to end disenfranchisement in all of its forms, and especially un overturning the utterly ridiculous Citizens United ruling by adopting a new Constitutional Amendment declaring that money is NOT Free Speech! To this end, we urge you to visit and contribute to the website Move to Amend.org (https://movetoamend.org) !
In my next solo post: “HOW TO SPOT A PROGRESSIVE IN A POLITICAL AD!” Watch for it in the next week!