Tuesday, July 5, 2011

'For The Public Good'

As Americans across the country recover from their Fourth of July revelry and get back to work, we hope that you took the time to enjoy the holiday - because the political discussion in Washington is turning right back to the budget, debt, and deficit battle.

We can only hope that you also re-read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights that we linked to yesterday, as those founding documents have a great deal to do with the outcome of the debate going on now.

As E.J. Dionne pointed out in his syndicated column yesterday, our nation is facing a significant crisis in how we see ourselves, one that that is positioning at least a portion of our country to be at odds with the Founding Fathers.

The idea that this nation was created - as many Republicans and regressives on the far right seem to think it was - as a haven from taxation and government  is preposterous. As Dionne points out, "A reading of the Declaration of Independence makes clear that our forebears were not revolting against taxes as such — and most certainly not against government as such."

In the first item on the list of King George's many abuses listed in the Declaration, the Founders condemned the king for his refusal to pass laws that were "the most wholesome and necessary for the public good." In the Constitution, the issue of taxation isn't even addressed until the third graph of Section 2. Conversely, the need to "establish Justice" and "promote the general Welfare" are in the very beginning, directly after "We the People..."

This wasn't an oversight by the founders, any more than the choice to NOT deal with the issue of slavery. These were items that were debated and discussed - and then codified in language released to the world.

As Steve Benen also pointed out yesterday, "We’re supposed to believe the leaders of the era were states-rights libertarians, embracing the attitudes of Ayn Rand and Grover Norquist generations before their birth."

The facts about the founders simply don't agree with the regressivist philosophy of today.

The question by many progressives and sane Republicans is, "So how do we fight the crazies, on this issue of the budget?" Surprisingly, Republican Sen. John Cornyn may have given those who do want to protect "the public good" the exact answer on how to defeat the regressive arm of the GOP on this issue.

Sen. Cornyn called for the budget debate to be laid out in public, as did another regressive Republican, Alabama's Jeff Sessions.

We firmly agree with both of them. Let the American people see EXACTLY who agrees with who.

As President Reagan's former budget director Bruce Bartlett pointed out, the American people overwhelmingly agree with the progressives and the Democratic Party right now. Americans are clamoring for unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations to be abolished, and tax rates to be raised, albeit slightly, in order to keep our promises and our benefits.

It's long past time for the Democratic Party to stand up for what the American people overwhelmingly want - and by doing so, force the Republican Party to also stand up and defend their stated beliefs; namely continued tax breaks for the richest and those who need them least, while taking away benefits from the sick, elderly, children, and those who need help the most.

As the saying goes, when they show you who they are, believe them.

No comments:

Post a Comment