SEARCH BLOG: GOVERNMENT and SPECIAL INTERESTS
Yesterday, I wrote about the way our federal government was for sale to the highest bidder using examples of campaign contributions. I also stated that Dean Baker's remarks about economists were off the mark [but not necessarily wrong].
Bill, who started my explosion, wrote back to agree in principle that the government does not operate as intended, but he defended Dean Baker's comments about economists [Baker has a Ph.D in economics from the University of Michigan].
I responded [slightly edited] to Bill:
I have been venting about politics and economics lately... your note was the spark that set off the subsequent explosion. Of course Baker was reasonable and I have written similar positions recently. It's just that economists argue from wildly disparate perspectives, but the underlying dynamics of our economy's problems are not truly based on economic factors as much as political manipulations and subterfuge that create "opportunities" for the unscrupulous and unethical to screw everyone else... maybe legally, but certainly questionably.I'm beginning to sense that I sound a bit crazed. Politics can do that. For example, Pat Dollard has a couple of posts that linked to articles forming a perfect non-sequitur ... how our government represents interests other than its citizens.
I don't truly know if Obama is "fairly honest" or not [Bill was actually talking about Dean Baker being "fairly honest"]. His little real estate deal seems to indicate that he is not beyond "bending the rules" in his own favor. McCain had his S&L party a while back. The Clintons flex the rules a bit so that Hillary can "loan" her campaign $5 mil and get it back even if she drops out... can't do that with a donation... just bending the rules again.
It has become the nature of our political system to bend the rules as much as possible. Maybe there are no Thomas Jeffersons left... or if they were around, the system would prevent them from ever winning an elected position.
In the first one, certain elected officials seem to view the restriction of illegal immigrants from Mexico into the U.S. as a problem because, as I mentioned yesterday, the immigrants represent a huge voting block around which to consolidate their power. So others, like Duncan Hunter [an apparent dinosaur with regard to current political practices], have to introduce legislation to force action on legislation that has already passed.
- Jim Kouri
February 7, 2008
Representative Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, author of the fencing provisions of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, has introduced new legislation in the House of Representatives to require the construction of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico within six months, according to a memo sent to the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
- The White House wants a $1.4 billion stimulus/national security package…for Mexico
A reader asked me to check into information that President Bush was pushing a massive foreign-aid package to Mexico to help them secure their southern border against the flow of illegal aliens from Central America.
“We can’t even get our own border straight, and we are going to provide Mexico with funding so they can solve their problem,” the reader fumed. “I doubt the Central Americans are staying very long in Mexico anyway. We know where they are going!”
Too outrageously outrageous to be true?
Well, I checked it out and it’s even worse than the reader described. Far worse.
The plan is called “The Merida Initiative.” Seems that the White House has had this plan in the works for nearly a year with little congressional input on either side of the border.
We can’t finish our own border fence, properly supply our immigration agents and border patrol with all the equipment and resources they need, or get our house in order. Yet, the Bush administration wants to fork over $1.4 billion to Mexico and Central America–with much of it going into the hands of corrupt law enforcement officials and government bureaucrats who have worked tirelessly to undermine our immigration laws. The funding is tucked into the 2008 supplemental budget.
Good work Duncan and Michelle... although this example is tough to categorize.
Is it because of special interests... or is it just plain stupidity?Bill framed the problem we face:
I don't have answers for correcting all of our problems, certainly not, but we can't give up on our system of government. We have to fight back with better presentations and arguments. It's the only way I know to do it effectively.Thomas Jefferson thought differently:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.Today, we tend to think he was talking about Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan... or maybe he was just caught up in the moment. Hell, today he probably would be arrested as a "terrorist conspirator" under the Patriot Act.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787.
In a practical sense, Bill is probably correct. The system is too massive with too much inertia to have a convenient "bloody revolution".
Couldn't we just hope for some "revolutionary leaders" ... representatives, senators, presidents... who put the interests of American citizens... individuals... above special interest groups, foreign governments, or their own pocketbooks? Is that really too much to ask?..