Charles Schumer on Good Government

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.


Local Take:

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.

Here is the quote from the NCJ:

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 Q&A


The Reaction from the Right:

(courtesy of the top search find by Google for “charles schumer good government speach”)

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.”


3 thoughts on “Charles Schumer on Good Government

  1. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    John, thanks for providing this. I dropped my Democratic registration years ago and became a Green because I believe in the Green principles when the Democratic party began abandoning those principles so they would be more like Reagan Republicans. I am glad to hear a Democratic with all his credentials make the case for a return to a more egalitarian party. I’m not changing my registration back yet, though.

    1. Thank you MEA.

      I took a look at the Green Party website several months ago, and it reflects a great deal of the libertarian spirit that emanates from SoHum, and that is a problem for me. I have the principles of a green, I hope to work toward a sustainable future where “ecosystem values” can be written into GPUs. Sadly these types of changes have to come through the Democratic Party until we change our electoral or governing infrastructure.

      That’s one of the great tragedies of the past few decades, the left may have won elections by triangulating with leaders like Gary Hart and Bill Clinton, but they lost a great deal of their base. It seems like this is changing. I hope so.

      Hope you hang on to that registration for a while. 🙂

  2. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    Libertarians and Greens are two different animals entirely. What you see in Southern Humboldt is Libertarian. Growers down there have learned to rationalize what once were Green ethics to protect their incomes, which are still substantial. The richest growers have always believed they could control the industry dating back to the 1970s when it all started. They have never once been able to control anything about the industry and have developed a reactive, bunker mentality that is more than a little out of touch with reality.

    This is not to say that the Greens are effective as a political organization. They aren’t. But read their list of principles and you will probably find yourself in agreement with them.

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