Friday, November 14, 2008

Message to My Fellow Republicans: Taxpayer Money is Not a Slush Fund for Big Corporations

As the McCain folks continue trash Sarah Palin in an attempt to blame her for their own shortfalls and a loss preordained by history, some Republicans are beginning the serious business of re-evaluating the future of the GOP.

Clearly the philosophy of the Republican Party has gotten off track. As I have mentioned in these pages before, it would be unwise if the blame lands on the backs of social conservatives. Indeed it has been the support of social conservatives who kept the GOP and Bush alive, well after the party's pulse was barely beating.

I chuckle at those Republicans who idolize Barry Goldwater's economic conservatism and social liberalism as the model for the party. In 1964, Goldwater demonstrated that such a coalition is a definite minority when he lost in one of the worst landslides in presidential history. Let's not also forget that Goldwater, one of the few Republicans who voted against the Civil Rights of 1964, helped to continue drive away African-American voters from their historic support of the GOP. Goldwater is not this Republican's hero.

As I've pointed out here, the problem is not that Republicans lost majority support because it embraced social conservatism, but rather because the party lost the fiscal conservative voters who are the essential part of the Reagan coalition. Voters no longer see the GOP as the party of limited government and lower taxes. Republicans became the party of big government and lost fiscal conservatives in the process.

Once in power courtesy of the Reagan Revolution, Republicans set about using the tools of government to assist their supporters, big business. While in days of past, Republicans decried the Democrats for handing out government largess to the poor and working class, not coincidentally voters likely to vote for the Democrats, Republicans took taxpayer money and gave it to corporations. While the Democrats often are guilty of demagoguery, the charge that Republicans were for corporate welfare stuck, and rightfully so because it was true.

In days of past, Republicans fought for their business patron by standing for a competitive marketplace and lower taxes. Today's headlines are that the Republican Treasury Secretary is reconsidering which corporations are going to receive taxpayer bailout money. On its deathbed, the Reagan Revolution spends its remaining days picking which corporations will be rewarded for their failures with taxpayer money. Fortunately, Reagan, a true hero to Republicans, is not alive to see how far his heirs strayed from the principles for which he stood.

Today, corporate welfare takes many forms and exists as much on the local and state stage, as the national. As you drive around the city of Indianapolis, you see monuments built with taxpayer money to help corporate interests. Two of the most prominent on the city's skyline are the Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse. Those buildings built by so-called public-private partnerships are simply ways of channeling taxpayer money to big corporate interests. It is the new patronage. Rather than shake down low-paid government workers for part of their paycheck, politicians receive campaign contributions in exchange for sending taxpayer money to big corporations.

The cousin of public-private partnerships is privatization. Republicans in the 1980s and 1990s rightfully touted privatization on the very Republican principle of bringing market competition into the provision of public services. Then Republicans proceeded to forget those principles, privatizing services for which there were only one or two vendors able and willing to provide the service. Then, in orther to further protect their corporate patrons, government handed out long-term contracts to sheild those companies from competition. Worse yet, office-holders, undoubtedly blinded by the campaign contributions they received from these companies, fail to monitor the private company's compliance with the privatization contract.

As Republicans study the damage to their party and look to the future, we need to revisit the philosophical roots of the Reagan Revolution. Those roots were not about handing over taxpayer money to corporate patrons in a public-private partnership or privatization deal. The philosophy was about keeping taxes low and fighting for a competitive marketplace for business. If Republicans continue to treat taxpayer money as a slush fund for corporate interests, they will continue to suffer the consequences at the polls

Note: See related post on privatization, including my rules for doing it correctly.

5 comments:

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Thank you so much for writing this Paul. It gave me goosebumps.

Are you part of the Indiana Republican Liberty Caucus? You need to be.

Diana Vice said...

Excellent composition. It gets an A+ from me.

Pete Boggs said...

While we already have a local hero named "Patriot Paul," with a soon to be available, cash for the cause, action figure; Ogden is definitely a patriot named Paul.

Paul K. Ogden said...

No, HFFT, I am going to google them though.

Thanks for the kind comment, Paul. I know some people who have other names to describe me but I can't repeat them here because this is a G (sometimes PG-13) blog.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

This found its way into my mailbox today from a hospital chaplain. I think Frank Anderson should read it.

"SHERIFF JOE IS AT IT AGAIN, He's my HERO!



You all remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona , who painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb. Well... SHERIFF JOE IS AT IT AGAIN!

Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay.

The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who'd like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows.

The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million. Teresa and I adopted a Weimaraner from a Maricopa County shelter two years ago. He was neutered, and current on all shots, in great health, and even had a microchip inserted the day we got him. Cost us $78.

The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

I have long wondered when the rest of the country would take a look at the way he runs the jail system, and copy some of his ideas. He has a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand.

He has a pretty good sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6 - $8 for the Holidays, and plant it later. We have six trees in our yard from the Prison.

Yup, he was reelected last year with 83% of the vote. Now he's in trouble with the ACLU again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural, that has a special hotline phone number painted on it, where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wasn't doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought 4 new buses just for hauling folks back to the border. He's kind of a 'Git-R Dun' kind of Sheriff.

TO THOSE OF YOU NOT FAMILIAR WITH JOE ARPAIO

HE IS THE MARICOPA ARIZONA COUNTY SHERIFF AND HE KEEPS GETTING ELECTED OVER AND OVER AND THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio (In Arizona ) who created the ' Tent City Jail': He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights Cut off all but 'G' movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then He Started Chain Gangs For Women So He Wouldn't Get Sued For Discrimination.

He took away cable TV Until he found out there was A Federal Court Order that required Cable TV for jails, so he hooked up the Cable TV again and only let in the Disney Channel And the Weather Channel. When asked why the weather channel, He Replied, 'So They Will Know How Hot It's Gonna Be While They Are Working on My Chain Gangs.

He cut off coffee since it has ZERO nutritional value.

When the inmates complained, he told them, 'This Isn't The Ritz/Carlton... If You Don't Like It, Don't Come Back.'

More On The Arizona Sheriff:

With Temperatures Being Hotter Than Usual In Phoenix (116 Degrees set A New Record), the Associated Press Reported:

About 2,000 Inmates Living In A Barbed-Wire-Surrounded Tent Encampment At The Maricopa County Jail Have Been Given Permission To Strip Down To Their Government-Issued Pink Boxer Shorts. On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 Degrees Inside The Week Before.

Many Were Also Swathed In Wet, Pink Towels As Sweat Collected On Their Chests And Dripped Down To Their PINK SOCKS.

'It Feels Like We Are In A Furnace,' Said James Zanzot, An Inmate Who Has Lived In The TENTS for 1 year. 'It's Inhumane.'

Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic. He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: 'It's 120 Degrees In Iraq And Our Soldiers Are Living In Tents Too, And They Have To Wear Full Battle Gear, But They Didn't Commit Any Crimes, So Shut Your Mouths!'

Way To Go, Sheriff!

Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

If you agree, pass this on. If not, just delete it."