Grace Ross: We’ve Always Opposed Corporate Government
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Complaints about the government not being responsible for taking care of people’s health (which will be part of our taxes anyway) may be camouflage for a deeper issue.
What actually happened during the shutdown is that congress continued to pay itself and to cover its own healthcare; they continued to spend money on the military including for U.S. soldiers being overseas in places that the U.S. people generally don’t want them. More importantly, we continued to give tax breaks to all the monied interests under sun and corporations like the banks still got their loans and subsidies while you and I as regular people who have to actually pay taxes will continue to pay even for the weeks when the government wasn’t in business.
For some reason when we think about our government budget we think about where the spending is happening, but not where we’re not bringing in revenue because some folks have been given an out.
Then during the shutdown, some of the services that the government is ongoingly committed to providing bizarrely had some very wealthy folks actually picked up the tab.
This guy out of Texas agreed to pay for all Head Start – a program proven to impact the future success of children who participate – across the country while the government was shutdown.
One of the really reprehensible public expenses that wasn’t paid for while the government was shutdown was burial for soldiers who were killed overseas. Can you imagine? Folks who had given their lives and their families can’t even bury them if they’re killed. It turned out that there were two private outfits in Massachusetts that covered those expenses while the government was shutdown.
Given that the government shutdown was driven by folks who claimed to be anti government, any chance that is what it was really about? Especially since the debt ceiling and sequester cuts (which are just cuts, but whatever) are still looming and continuing. These same folks were elected and took the same oath of office as everybody else – supposedly to serve all their constituents. It makes you wonder if the issue was really more about the idea that government shouldn’t serve everybody, that government should be about tax breaks and giveaways for a very few.
Here in Massachusetts, even as a colony and then across the country as the country grew, we have always distrusted first corporate-control of our lives and then aristocracies in government controlling our lives. Because we experienced both. First, we were under a company with a charter from the Crown in England and then the Crown itself.
A friend of mine a couple of years ago sent me a cartoon – with the Tea Party outside a huge government building protesting and Occupy outside a huge corporate building protesting. BUT it was all one huge building – with different names over different doors.
Here’s where the real misconception lies. At this point if you claim to be on the very far right and be anti-government or you claim to be on the very far left and be anti-corporation, the two are working so hand in hand these days that it’s hard to make any distinction.
As US citizens we should be angry in general about the power of wealthy control – whether it claims to be a corporation or the government. Even the very wealthy guy from Texas who agreed to cover Head Start had the money because he’s had all of these corporate profits that haven’t been taxed.
Having not taxed the wealthy the same as the rest of us, the government claims not to have the money to afford to function and provide services. These basic social functions get pushed out onto the shoulders of individuals who have no obligation to pay them and where we the people lose all control over how the money gets spent.
You get situations like UMass Amherst where Monsanto is funding a bunch of the science department. Now Monsanto is engaged in oil extraction through what’s called fracking – an incredibly polluting, dangerous, and relatively short-term source of oil; however, the leadership of this public institution is unlikely to refuse to divest its money from fracking because Monsanto holds the purse strings over the school’s science department.
We are exactly where the founding fathers (and mothers) warned us not to go as a country! And our lasting populist instincts as a people still nag at us intuitively – we sense something is seriously wrong.
We have allowed our elected leaders to let the wealthiest interests through their lobbyists exempt themselves more and more from social obligations and fair dealing. Then as the big financial bullies, they control our wealth and use it to make all of our institutions – public and government – so dependent on private corporate profits that they can use extortion to determine what our government and public institutions do.
It is indeed circular and it gets hard to tell where government begins and corporations end.
Like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and all of those folks who had been through a series of governments either by a corporation or aristocracy, we the people never liked either option. And the right/left division does not help regular people name the real problem: whether the very wealthy interests are individuals or corporations, whether through a supposed democratic government or not, they are controlling our lives not us.
The federal government was able to shutdown and still pay all of itself while the rest of us couldn’t make ends meet: folks went unburied, unable to get their cancer treatments, whatever but the very wealthy will continue to get their give backs through taxes regardless... unless we consider taking back our government as our forefathers and foremothers did.
Grace Ross is the author of Main Street Smarts.
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- Grace Ross: Healthcare: The Latest Excuse To Cut Jobs
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- Grace Ross: Hunger Programs–Let’s Not Be Mean Or Stupid
- Grace Ross: Listening To The March On Washington
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- Grace Ross: Walking The Walk For Peace
- Grace Ross: Weird Weather: What Does It Mean For Food?
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