Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Big money could bring the end of life as we know it

Are you scared yet? Should I go on?

These right-wing puppets (and– thanks to the Roberts’ court— the corporatists and secretly-funded big-money groups behind them) want to end life as we know it in the United States of America. They don’t want to take us back to the Bush era policies or the Contract for America.

With no Social Security, no healthcare safety net, no minimum wage, and, of course, no unions– they want to take us back to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, when people of all ages, including small children, slaved — literally– in factories and sweat shops for meager wages. If you were sick, old, or poor, it was your family’s responsibility to take care of you. No family? Tough luck, you’re on your own.

How could these ideas have gained so much popularity? Is it the sheer power of the moneyed forces behind the Tea Party– like the John Birch Society Koch brothers or secretly-finded groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, which spent $3.5 million last week? All of this money + 24/7 yellow journalism courtesy of FOX News is trying to squash the progressive advances of the Obama Administration.

Here’s some background on the origins of these ideas from The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party by Frank Rich or the New York Times.

When David Koch ran to the right of Reagan as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian ticket (it polled 1 percent), his campaign called for the abolition not just of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools — in other words, any government enterprise that would either inhibit his business profits or increase his taxes. He hasn’t changed. As Mayer details, Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business. While Koch foundations donate to cancer hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, Koch Industries has been lobbying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from classifying another product important to its bottom line, formaldehyde, as a “known carcinogen” in humans (which it is).

Tea Partiers may share the Kochs’ detestation of taxes, big government and Obama. But there’s a difference between mainstream conservatism and a fringe agenda that tilts completely toward big business, whether on Wall Street or in the Gulf of Mexico, while dismantling fundamental government safety nets designed to protect the unemployed, public health, workplace safety and the subsistence of the elderly.

Yet inexorably the Koch agenda is morphing into the G.O.P. agenda, as articulated by current Republican members of Congress, including the putative next speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Tea Party Senate candidates like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and the new kid on the block, Alaska’s anti-Medicaid, anti-unemployment insurance Palin protégé, Joe Miller. Their program opposes a federal deficit, but has no objection to running up trillions in red ink in tax cuts to corporations and the superrich; apologizes to corporate malefactors like BP and derides money put in escrow for oil spill victims as a “slush fund”; opposes the extension of unemployment benefits; and calls for a freeze on federal regulations in an era when abuses in the oil, financial, mining, pharmaceutical and even egg industries (among others) have been outrageous.

The Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that working Americans are aiding and abetting their selfish interests.

Has the country gone mad? Do the small guv’ment Tea Partiers think their Social Security and Medicare will be funded, while everyone under 65 will be thrown to the wolves? Fat chance. Tea Partiers, after they have used you, they’ll go after your Medicare-funded scooters next.

For a look at our future, check out this book from the past– How the Other Half Lives— or watch Walmart: the High Cost of Low Prices.

UPDATE, October 8: Diane Rehm’s Friday News Roundup covers this story. (Diane, honey, mention my blog next time, OK?)

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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