When Donald Trump was elected President in November of 2016, it was much more than a mere transition of one Presidential administration to another. Although we did not know it at the time, it was in fact a transition from a traditional democratic government, a functioning Republic, to an oligarchy. In other words, we elected a President whose idea of government is one that is managed by an autocratic leader and small cadre of rich and powerful people.
In the case of the Trump administration, that small group is made up of Conservative billionaires. They are reactionaries opposed to progress in science, education, the climate, a peaceful society, advancement for the poor, immigrants, small businesses, unions, living wages, peaceful demonstration, and diplomacy.
We now have a government run by a bunch of super-rich individuals, largely inherited wealth, who have been funding a high percentage of Republicans for decades. Using phony voter restrictions, they have reduced the voting populations in Texas, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and other states to the point that Democratic Presidential candidates must now win hundreds of thousands more votes simply to win by one vote.
Even before Donald Trump was elected by a majority of electoral votes while losing the popular vote, the Republican party controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. They controlled legislatures and governors of over half the states.
The most neo-Fascist of their supporters, the same ones who funded the Citizens’ United efforts to allow unrestricted funding of politicians by billionaires and global corporations, had already quietly passed measures in over 30 states and only need a few more to have a new national constitutional convention, at which they hope to officially change the form of American government to one in which they will pay fewer taxes, have more authority, control immigration, run government by fiat and reduce or eliminate the power of the middle class. They intend to formalize a government of economic aristocracy. They aren’t thinking about maybe doing it. They aren’t planning to do it. They have already begun to do it and the fact that they already control government and will continue to do so unless we vote them out, should tell you that they are serious. How serious are they and what are they doing?Here are merely a few examples.
Over 80,000 full-time government employees have left because they were either discouraged, transferred into clerical or meaningless jobs or simply released under whatever circumstances the Trump Administration could legally justify. Sixty percent of top foreign service positions are unfilled. The EPA is no longer allowed to use the term “climate change.” Lobbyists from mining and coal companies have taken over the positions in the Department of Commerce and the Interior Department that used to regulate them. The consumer protections within the Dodd-Frank banking legislation to protect consumers have been weakened. The former Consumer Protection agency has basically ceased to function as a watchdog for citizens cheated by financial institutions.
It is all happening in secret. There are no announcements or press releases or press conferences. While Trump tweets nonsense to millions and the media reports on his nonsense, the government is quietly being dismantled. People with no qualifications…truck drivers…recent college graduates with no work experience at all…are being put in charge of government departments formerly held by scientists and highly skilled technologists. One job requiring a scientist was given to a high-school dropout, a Trump campaign worker. This is happening all over government.
We were already spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined. We have been at war in Afghanistan for 17 years. We have a major military presence in Iraq. We have troops in Western Europe, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea. And we are less secure than at any time since December 1941. We have no strategy to handle both major threats and terrorist threats. The military wants more money yet they offer less accountability to the public. Corruption in military contracts goes on unabated while generals leave the military to join the group gouging the American citizens and actually weakening our national security. To its everlasting shame, the top members of the military have aligned themselves with those who will provide, not the best equipment but the best outcomes for their long term careers.
We can no longer be certain that we are safe from the technological advancement of smaller nations, or from the potential aggression of large ones. In the one area where our government claims to be world-dominant, we no longer can be sure that we are being told the truth by our government. We have a liar for a President, a man of such venal nature that he may even be a traitor, and a military that follows his insanity blindly, endangering us all. .
Here are the key reasons you should vote for Democrats and against Republicans.
- The Secret Destruction of Government
The Trump administration and the Republicans, largely Tea Party Republicans (financially supported by the Koch brothers) have decided to do more than merely bring totally unqualified Republican campaign workers into the system. In 2017, they began to dismantle the entire personnel structure of government departments. Using the Right Wing propaganda term “the power elite” to describe average government civil service employees, they began turning out long-time, highly-qualified, underpaid administrators and scientists and replacing them with people who have only one qualification—that they are Trump supporters.
The fact has not gone unnoticed. Articles about the dismissal of long-time key leaders of the State Department, the FDA and the EPA have been written about in the New York Times, The New Yorker and TIME magazines. But with government control in the hands of the Republicans, a Republican President and a total Republican Supreme Court, our government can be reduced to a shambles and no one can stop it. Elections do have consequences.
Neglect has been the other method of trying to make government ineffective. After 16 months in office, 328 of the 656 top positions in government had still not been filled. Many of the positions that were filled came from the industries that they were supposed to regulate. For example, a deputy director at the Department of Agriculture whose function was overseeing the nutrition of children’s lunches came from Pepsi-Cola.
These are dedicated people who, especially in a time of full employment can normally go out the next day and find a job at dramatically higher pay. These include dedicated scientists, who if they are mistreated (over 60 Nobel Laureates have been government employees) they will go to academia and not come back. That is hugely damaging.
After 9 months of Trump’s deliberate destructive techniques, over 79,000 qualified long-term government employees had either quit or taken retirement. A huge number said that they could not tolerate new policies designed to undermine the work they had spent decades building.
Public servants oversee all aspects of our daily lives and impact our future. These include support of local and regional firefighters in forest fires, FEMA administrators, NASA (like Neil Armstrong) or many essential technological experts and scientists, including those who have done the research on the use of penicillin,
Social Security and Medicare, each, are among the largest yet by far most efficient organizations in the world and have been since their inception, despite a government that has from time to time chipped away at their funding and at other times challenged their operations as even being necessary. The agriculture department has a budget larger than that of most countries, yet feeds 70 million impoverished people regularly and efficiently, while running agricultural subsidies, rural development programs and a self-contained bank with $224 billion in assets! To pay government employees wages comparable to private sector staff with the same qualifications, it has been estimated that the budget would need to be doubled. We can’t afford to lose that kind of self-educating, trained, highly skilled workforce, performing at a higher level but lower paid than private industry.
Republicans claim that government costs have increased by over 30% since 1980/ Well, the population has increased by about 20%. Inflation has gone up by a compounded 24% he cost of living has increased over that. So the costs are in line with what we get for our money. Besides a higher percent increase in per capita wages would not be a factor as we have cut government employment as a ratio of employees to population over the years as we cut taxes on the rich.
Remember, the military is part of government. One of the largest government departments is the Department of Defense. Military and Homeland Security, already about three quarters of what taxpayers deliver to Social Security and Medicare, which is about a trillion dollars a year.
The State Department has also been attacked and the Department of Justice, the CIA and the NSA. These are very large organizations who hire top graduates from the best universities and train them for years before they can become completely valuable. Yet, sixty percent of top diplomats from the State Department have retired or left for private international institutions or corporations. The point is that it is not just ex-Obama appointees but long-standing independent dedicated government employees who are being lost. Trump doesn’t care. He ordered Rex Tillerson, his original Secretary of State appointee, the former CEO of oil giant, EXXON, to cut the State Department by 30%!
Of course there have been some spectacular hires. One man who was hired as Assistant Secretary of Energy had been a Meineke Car Care manager in New Hampshire. A man who had been proposed as a Federal judge had never filed a motion, argued a case or taken a deposition. A 23-year-old whose only previous job had been on the Trump campaign was named White House czar for the opioid epidemic.
Rebeckah Adcock was hired as a senior advisor at the Department of Agriculture and as part of Trump’s deregulation task force. She is a former executive at Croplife, the trade association for pesticide manufacturers.
Brooke Shupe Appelton who is now the Chief of Staff at Agriculture, was the chief lobbyist for the National Corn Growers Association.
Erik Baptist, appointed as Senior Counsel to the EPA was formerly Senior Counsel to the American Petroleum Institute.
Executives of organizations like “Cause of Action,” and “Americans for Prosperity” and the “American Conservative Union” such as, for example, Kellyanne Conway and others have been brought in from Right Wing lobbying and legal attack firms whose entire organizational focus is on reducing the power and the operational efficiency of government. These organizations are largely funded by people like the Koch, the Walton, and the Mercer families, hugely wealthy people whose only objective is to reduce their taxes by reducing government services.
- The Huge Cuts and Eventual Elimination of Medicare and Medicaid.
In June of 2018, not long after the huge Trump tax cuts, the Republican House of Representatives, under Paul Ryan, announced that it would cut $5.4 trillion from the budget over the next decade, much of which would come from Medicare and Medicaid, starting immediately. The goal, they said, was to move health care completely into the private sector rather than the taxpayer funded system we have now for the retired and the poor. At the same time, the House plans to increase defense spending beyond what it spends now, a total that is already greater than the total defense spending of all other countries in the world combined.
If the Republicans win the House or Senate, either one, this fall, they will be in a position to move towards eliminating Medicare and Medicaid as the country has known them. In addition to the $5.4 trillion cuts to these two programs the House has included $2.6 trillion more in an unspecified number of cut to welfare and anti-poverty programs.
This is how the Republicans will pay for the last tax cut, and having felt no penalty for what we all knew would be the cuts that are about to come, they have now planned more tax cuts for the rich, which will presumably result in even more cuts to government services.
The House Republicans proposed legislation that would cut mandatory spending by $5.4 trillion over ten years. This includes specifically $537 billion in cuts to Medicare and $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and other health programs. Further, the plan includes a movement towards a system of private health insurance plans. Medicaid would be capped so that future costs, by cutting payments, would be reduced over time.
The budget also includes a $2.6 trillion reduction in welfare and other poverty-related programs.
The facts are very clear. Only the constant barrage of Right Wing propaganda obscuring the reality of our economy keeps us from seeing what is happening. The tax cuts were designed to further enrich the already rich while offering a modest tax benefit to average citizens, which the law actually reverses…on the average citizens only..in several years. In the meantime, state taxes and property taxes are no longer deductions, which raises actual taxes paid. And actions by the Republicans in Congress that confirm that the money will be restored to government by the middle and lower classes will somehow probably go unnoticed. The stupid and the ignorant and the lazy and the bigoted who find this President amusing or “bold” rather than heartless and reckless will not be persuaded by facts.
And, as usual, the Republicans call for long-term cuts in military spending, but not this year or next year or the year after that. But each year they raise military spending. In other words, as with tax cuts, which have increased the 2018 national deficit to about $700 billion from $400 billion and next year will take the deficit over $1 trillion dollars, they tell you one thing today—offer excuses—and then promise better things will come, somewhere out there in the future. But they never do.
The goal of the Right Wing of the Republican party, unbelievably rich billionaires, is to reduce their taxes at your expense. They cut taxes under Reagan, under Bush II, and now under Trump. And this time the objective…to enrich the rich…was so patently obvious that a out of a roomful of approximately 50 of the nation’ top corporate CEOs only one said that we should have a tax cut. Almost every major economist was against it. By controlling the votes of the entire Republican party, however, a mere handful of very wealthy industrialists, almost all heirs to huge fortunes have succeeded in lowering their taxes while creating larger and larger deficits and a staggering national debt.
And how are we going to pay for that debt? We already pay almost as much in interest on the debt as we spend on our military. And it I not just the Republicans who say that we cannot cut the military. In principle, we need a strong military. It is a dangerous world, and while we need to try to make it more peaceful, we must also keep the danger from our borders. We have enough danger from people filled with irrational hatreds within our borders.
So what is the solution? Our current national debt is now greater than our annual gross domestic products. In other words, we would have to take our entire gross domestic product for one year, revenues from all the corporations, all the people, all the sales of everything and turn it over to government and we would still not cover the national debt.
Let’s make it simpler. Let’s think of everything in billions which is a thousand million. Think of it as owing 20,000. This year, thanks to the Trump tax cuts, we will lose about 600 more. So to begin to reduce that 21,000 we owe, we would need to not only break even, but raise some amount each year. If we did something to give us a surplus of say, 100 each year, we could be down to a reasonable 200 years to pay off the debt, just doing simple math. But for a number of reasons, such as the fact that we don’t need to get to zero and because the country continues to grow, we could get there easily in half that time.
The reason you must vote Democratic is that these super-rich Americans who control the vote of the Republican party want to get there totally and completely by cutting Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, food stamps. Medicaid, Veteran’s services including VA health care and all other forms of welfare and services to the general public. Billionaires don’t need public services and they want to live in a tax-free society where they can keep all the money they earn from the investments they inherited from their fathers and grandfathers.
There is no guesswork about what they want to do. It is already being done. Paul Ryan, who speaks regularly at the meetings of the Republican super-rich, who meet semi-annually in places like Marco Island and Palm Springs, has already written cuts to Medicare and limits on Social Security into the budget for 2019. If you elect a Republican House you will literally be voting to cut the very retirement benefits you pay for from payroll deductions in order to pay for tax cuts to billionaires.
If you vote in a Republican House and Senate, there will be no check on a ruthless braggadocios, possibly criminal, liar who is dangerous to the future of the country and the American people. He is, if not a racist, most certainly contemptuous of the poor, the middle class, the small businessman, clearly of women, and of our long standing relationships in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Most of all, he is not a Populist.
Trump is a demagogue, a man who pretends to be a Populist, like a Mussolini, but who merely uses propaganda, popular appeals, in order to get what he and his fellow billionaires want. Hence the tax cuts, because he doesn’t mind giving away a few thousand to some Americans so that he and his friends can make millions…while simply borrowing it from government by paying less in taxes. He’s a hero to the billionaires and corporate CEOs. But he is a tragedy for this country and the average citizens, not the least of which is that poor dumb schmuck who voted for him.
These are the main reasons to vote Democratic. Do it now. And then find someone to take with you. Vote while you can. Because if you don’t, you can’t be assured that you will have a vote next time.