It’s refreshing to hear mainstream Democrats talk about good government. And Senator Schumer is exactly right to focus on this and every Democrat should have this as their number one talking point. Why? Because the goal of Republican crusade that holds Reagan as it’s first saint is to minimize government. At least that’s the rhetoric. Of course when government means spending money on their friends in the defense industry or speding on the prison/law enforcement complex, then government is just fine. But that almost doesn’t even count as government.
In a graph, their goal is to reduce, as much as possible the % of the GDP the government spends.
This alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It fact there may have been a necessary correction in the late seventies and early eighties. I’d even argue we still need to reduce our defense spending by 2/3.
But as that graph suggests, it’s not like government spending is going anywhere. It is a necessary part of a modern nation, but to hear the Republican rhetorical debate, it seems like we want to return to the agrarian economy of 1776.
So, if you have time, check out Senator Schumer’s speech. I don’t agree with all of it as I think a focus solely on the middle class is not something Democrats can do. Unlike the rich and those living behind their gated communities, the base of the Democratic Party understands we are all of us. We want and deserve policies that won’t cut the life lines to those in even greater need.
Don’t forget that Supervisor Bohn hates government. I asked him about this during a GPU meeting a week or two after the NCJ article on the local tax measures was published, admittedly somewhat confrontationally. Is first response seemed to be of course I do, but then as I asked a follow up he said “I LOVE America” as a dodge, then, as I asked for clarification, specifically about government – he said and stuck to the political answer he was looking for – I have to deal with government.
“Ask most people and they’ll tell you they aren’t big fans of government. In fact, sitting in supervisors’ chambers just minutes before voting to put a tax measure before voters, Bohn declared that he hates government and hates taxes. But, Bohn clarified, he likes having streets without potholes to drive on and a sheriff’s office to call if the need arises.”
I also have to call out the local political scientists on this…
“This is a pretty typical outlook, according to Emenaker (CR Poly Sci lecturer Ryan Emenaker). “In general, people hate the government and taxes in the abstract, but they love specific programs,” he says.
In general, I disagree Ryan. They’ve been taught to hate government apparently in part by our Poly Sci lecturers.
Remember, Rex doesn’t really hate government, in fact I’d argue he loves it. He is employed by government, he works to change government, something he has been empowered to to by government, and, to top it all off, he insisted on raising regressive taxes on those least likely to be able to afford them while aggressively pursuing reducing other revenue sources that can be paid by those more likely to afford them – development fees as one example.
Let’s hope the media can ask these basic questions like – what do you think about government? pursue the obvious contradictions. If they can, we may be able to begin to change the myopic and destructive narrative that government in and of itself is the problem. It’s not, government is us and we need to become active again if there is to be hope to solve local, national and global problems in a way that will include all of us, not simply those in the gated communities.
The Reaction from the Right:
Jonah Goldberg (who literally wrote the book on liberal fascism) writing in the National Review. Chuck Schumer’s Uncompassionate Liberalism
One point on this article: This, seems to be a growing common wisdom – that the ACA is politically a loser. I could not disagree more.
“The great irony here is that Schumer is widely seen as a blocking tackle for Hillary Clinton, whose path to the presidency depends on her ability to distance herself from the president and a politically disastrous law.”