Who/what is government for?

Whose Security? How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector By Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch, July 1, 2014

When Government Succeeds NOV. 16, 2014 Paul Krugman 

Eighty-Six Percent of Americans Think the Government Should Fight Poverty by Zoë Carpenter, The Nation, January 8, 2014

The Greatest Story Never Told by Michael Tomasky, democracyjournal.org,  Issue #23, Winter 2012  Our political problem, in a nutshell: The party of government is afraid to defend government. Nothing will really change until that changes…The Bush era was the experience Americans had had with a conservative government that failed them…Bush had made things worse by nearly every measure, and this was before the economic meltdown. Maybe Americans would now be open to a different approach…Republicans let government fail while they are in power…by not executing the missions of the agencies…Oddly, no one on the liberal side really defends government much. In the progressive solar system there are groups devoted to every specific issue and cause you can name, but there is no group I’m aware of that is devoted to the simple premise of standing up in public and saying: Government does this, and it’s good.…Our current political dynamic will not change until someone puts forth a thorough, well conceived and articulated (and financed) long-term plan to defend the functions of government in principle and to show the American people that government in practice does in fact do many things well.…

The American Government Is Open For Corruption By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire.com, April 2, 2014  The remarkable story of how we have come to privatize political corruption in this country reached another milestone today as the Supreme Court, John Roberts presiding, handed down its decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, effectively demolishing the aggregate, two-year limit on contributions by individuals… It was a 5-4 vote, with the court split exactly as it had in the Citizens United case. In writing the opinion for the court, Roberts further emphasized the equation of money with speech, and also seemed to agree with Anthony Kennedy’s famous assertion in Citizens United that the ability of megadonors to shovel gobs of money into the election process, “We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” …What’s good for Koch Industries is good for Sheldon Adelson, I guess…Justice Stephen Breyer takes up a lot of these points in his dissent, most notably, the majority’s laughably narrow definition of what political corruption actually is — that political corruption exists only if you buy a specific result from a specific legislator…Four days after almost every Republican candidate danced the hootchie-koo in Vegas to try and gain the support of a single, skeevy casino gazillionnaire, [Sheldon Adelson] the majority tells us that there is no “appearance of corruption” … Money talks. Big money repeats itself, over and over, age after age. 

…the fundamental debate we should be having is not the size of government but what the goal of government should be…for both policy and political reasons, the Democrats need to firmly pick the side of middle class and low income Americans, and not worry so much about preserving and protecting the establishment. The Mission of Government by Mike Lux, Huffington Post, 01 March 2013

The Mission of Government by MIke Lux, Huffington Post, March 1, 2013 - the fundamental debate we should be having is not the size of government but what the goal of government should be: What should government’s central mission be?  There are four major views on this question in modern American politics, two in each political party. The first Republican view…government should be as small as possible.…the other [is] serving the needs of big business…the size of government exploded under Bush’s watch because drug companies and Wall Street and other industries wanted sweetheart deals, subsidies of all kinds, and bailouts…The first of the modern Democratic Party theories about the mission of government is the most complicated of the 4. This theory says the mission of government should be that it should make some investments in our people and the economy, that there should be a safety net for the poor, but that (most importantly) government should work to steady and stabilize the status quo…Tim Geithner, who was passionately focused on one big thing throughout the financial crisis and the years since: preservation of the financial status quo.…The final philosophy about the central mission is that of the progressive populists, who argue that government’s central mission should be strengthening and expanding America’s broad middle class.…The rhetoric, especially lately, has moved more toward the latter philosophy, but the policy specifics and appointments have too often stayed with the former…Neither Republican philosophy about the mission of government will ever become a majority in American politics — the Republicans have to pretend those aren’t their views to have a chance at getting elected. But for both policy and political reasons, the Democrats need to firmly pick the side of middle class and low income Americans, and not worry so much about preserving and protecting the establishment.

The Biggest Engine of Economic Growth? 8 Ways Taxpayers and the Government Are Necessary to Capitalism By Colin Greer, AlterNet, March 13, 2012 conservatives have constantly attacked government. The drumbeat repeats the notion that the private sector can do everything better. “Privatize everything” is the mantra. It’s hard to imagine anything more destructive to our economy… spreading the big lie that government is too big, corrupt and wasteful without understanding just what government provides the economy and society… the U.S. government has been the key engine of economic growth since the earliest days of the Republic— and it is now, but very few people realize that. Why? Because we don’t explain how government spending is woven into much of corporate success. We don’t counter that the government is constantly in an active, co-venture model with the for-profit sector in providing vast elements of infrastructure and directly creating technologies that the economy is dependent on, and corporations profit from…Most everything the American capitalist system needs is provided by taxpayer dollars and government action. Here are eight examples.

1. Public Trust and Economic Infrastructure

2. Education and Social Knowledge

3. Relief in Crisis, Catastrophe, or Everyday Life

4. Regulation and the Public Good

5.  Massive Purchasing That Supports Businesses

6.  The Infrastructure in Which Everything Operates

7. The Labor Pool: Preparing Employees for the Private Sector

8.  Stimulus for Just About Everything

9. Direct Investment in the Creation of Key Innovations ing to produce natural gas.

10.  The New Phase of Social Welfare Financial Transfers

The view that the private sector is the independent engine of economic growth is obviously false. It’s time for an articulated economic framework which describes how the modern state has worked in an active co-venture with the for-profit sector…Elizabeth Warren has clarified how the social web and the physical infrastructure that government supports is essential to market function, growth and wealth creation.  It makes sense to go a step further and clarify how government action and public dollars serve as a direct partner with the private sector in advancing growth and wealth. Then, it would not be so easy to take the money and run.




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