The U.S. Constitution does not prescribe capitalism or free-market enterprise, per se, but it does promote justice, liberty, and the general welfare. It’s up to us to fill in the blanks. When we creatively put our hearts and minds together, “We The People” can find answers to economic, social, and environmental problems that truly meet everyone’s needs — answers that we are unlikely to find on our own, especially if we are bound by fear and suspicion of one another.
The most fundamental political decision before us is NOT between limited government and strong government. It is primarily between being governed democratically by “We the People” or, by default, being governed by an oligarchy, a group of powerful international corporations and a few, extremely wealthy individuals. (And, waiting in the wings, is the potential for a totalitarian strongman government, suggested by the successful candidacy of Donald Trump.)
Our nation’s history reflects this distinction. We came together and moved from oligarchy to democracy from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, spurred by the New Deal, but we then swung back to increasing inequality of wealth and oligarchy from the 1970’s to the present, spurred by anti-government ideology and dogma. As a result, we’ve lost the checks and balances that used to define our government. Now, to an ever-increasing extent, money has taken over.
Thanks to the New Deal and a strong central government, the United States recovered from the Great Depression, was victorious over the Axis powers, and fostered a surge in middle-class economic strength and prosperity during the 1950’s and 1960’s. We must keep that most positive history and vision alive.
That progress was reversed, starting in the mid-1970’s. Good-paying, middle-class jobs began disappearing in the face of growing computerization, automation, globalization, and union busting. Wages stagnated. The profits from this increased “productivity” flowed to the wealthy oligarchs, and there’s been no compensating force. The 400 most wealthy among us now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans, and they are enhancing their influence through political contributions, the funding of “think-tanks,” and legislation at the state level, coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Unfortunately, we’ve also reached another impasse that may keep us from governing ourselves and countering the inequality of wealth. For some of us, anti-government ideology and dogma have trumped reason and turned science on its head. An artificial, manufactured fiscal crisis every year or 18 months has become the new norm. We may well experience an increasingly dysfunctional government and dominant oligarchy, as long as a vacuum in Republican leadership allows ideological extremists to hamstring the U.S. House of Representatives.
Certainly, there must be limits on government power. But it is well to keep in mind that extremes on either side are neither practical nor desirable. Just as there are no viable communist governments in the world, nor are there any viable libertarian governments. A balance is required, but the extreme right wing, including its media outlets, does not appear capable of acceptance or participation in this.
We Democrats aim to counter anti-government sentiment, denial, and misinformation with our core belief – that we must work together inclusively in our system of democracy and self-governance. (Fortunately and importantly, the 2016 candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders has demonstrated the power of millions of small political donations.)
Many of our founding fathers, particularly George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, believed in a strong, central government. We believe that our democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people, while imperfect, has a central role in using the common wealth for the common good in a balanced economy.
To this end, we have established this web site to offer evidence and facts that illuminate the issues we face and bolster our firm conviction that we need to work together and with our elected representatives to resolve those issues.
Paid for by the Baker County Democratic Central Committee,
and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.