10/2/2013 - PKT, Los Angeles, CA writes ...
It's More Than Just ObamaCare
This article in many ways epitomizes the mindset of the radical right and why I believe this government shutdown will lead to eventual default and chaos. It's because the extreme tea party wing of the GOP sees this not as repealing a program they don't like but the first step in a revolution to destroy the New Deal and Great Society once and for all regardless of the cost. Out of the chaos they believe will come a new age based on limited government, free market principles, low taxes and a new spirit of isolationism. Sorry been there done that it doesn't work.
The Gilded Age is everything the tea party wing of the GOP loves. No government regulation, no taxes, no social programs, live or die according to your skills, luck or being born rich. Little or no unions so labor was cheap and profits high and even higher thanks to rampant stock manipulation. Read about the Western mining stock scams or the Eastern railroad boondoggles that cost investors millions and made millions more the likes of Jim Fiske and J.P. Morgan. It's no coincidence that powerful communistic and socialism movements came out of the 19th century as the working class was forced to cope with inhumane working conditions, slave wages, workplace violence if they tried to unionize, courts bought and paid for by the corporations, political corruption on a grand scale and living conditions where malaria, cholera, typhoid and tuberculosis flourished.
The surge of populism and the progressive movement started to change things and the Great Depression took us to the next step. In the 1930s communists, fascists and socialists were making great gains as despair racked the nation. Veterans seeking their promised pensions were attacked by army troops in the nation's capital. Hoovervilles were in every city in the US. The New Deal relieved some of that pressure and the war finally ended the Depression. By the time the war ended and the prosperous '50s rolled around Americans were living large thanks to government spending on roads, dams, electric grids and infrastructure. Taxes were high but everybody prospered. The '60s also saw the rise of civil rights and finally the inclusion of everybody into the American system regardless of skin color.
I could go on but the course of history is clear. America does best when everybody does good and it's been the quasi-socialist New Deal and Great Society programs that have spurred that growth not only in the middle class but in human rights. Now the tea party and extreme right are out to destroy that in order to return to a mythical time that never existed. They are willing to give up the social safety net, regulations, worker and consumer protections, health protections and much of the advances of the 20th century to do it. And they want to return to the cutthroat capitalism of the 1800s on top of it. I'm sorry but this vision doesn't resonate with me nor does it appeal to a majority of Americans. I'm white, I'm older, I work, I pay taxes, I'm not on welfare and I don't get any government "handouts" but the extreme right agenda has no appeal to me because I believe in a greater America where equal opportunity also means equal access to health care, a minimum standard of living and not having to trade an imaginary government tyranny for the very real tyranny of a corporate autocracy such as we had in the 19th century. I find the tea party and writers of articles such as this ignorant of history, economics and parochial in their worldview. In short they typify the 19th century mindset they find so appealing.
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