A Serious Disconnect

October 2, 2008

There exists a most serious disconnect in this presidential campaign. There are no clear “good guys” or “bad guys.” Both candidates are good people, but victims of their parties’ flawed ideologies. Mr. McCain, a “maverick,” is a member of a party in constant defensive posture, which, time and time again, in trying to protect its own petty wealth, destroys the “common wealth.” Simply put, I would rather make more money and grumble about paying taxes, than make far less (or lose money). I would rather pay taxes than watch the further crumbling of our infrastructure along with the lives of those people around me.

For John McCain and the “Free Market Capitalists,” there is no connection between that “Free Market” and the “economy.” All we have is a desperate group of right wing Republican House members still fighting against all regulation of business, banking and commerce and trying to eliminate taxes instead of “fixing” them. If they had their way, we would go back to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages and the Confederate dream of the “Old Plantations.”

The comparison is no accident or slip of the tongue. The image of the South, thousands of poor soldiers dying to preserve the wealth of a few rich landowners, should still be fresh in our minds. Despite the justification of the South, under crushing fiscal repression by the North, it was slavery that these poor ignorant souls fought to preserve! It was slavery, the very thing that was choking the economic growth of the South! Similarly, in the case of the Republicans, it is their dictatorial and ignorant abuse and perversion of the “Free Market” concept, that is killing our economy.

On the Democratic side, the concept of “socialism” as a Messianic solution to economic ills has seriously hampered the ability of the party to function rationally over the past 50 years, Candidates like McCarthy, McGovern, Dukakis, even Mondale, Gore and Kerry, left wing zealots, with an “offensive” agenda posed a threat, not only to die-hard Republicans, but to “salt of the earth” Democrats as well. Ironically, “salt of the earth” Republicans, those with average and above average intelligence, could easily live with many of the social changes that these men had proposed, but not the near lunatic spending proposals.

These Democrats also suffered a severe disconnect. The job of government, logically, is not as an aggressor. The government’s job is to protect the public. We elect people to protect us!!! The government is employed by us!! The government’s job is to be a player, that is, our agent in the “Free Market!!” We are the owners of the government. Wake up!! We hired them to represent us in the “Free Market,” but they don’t. Both parties have chosen to represent the same Special Interests! Exxon-Mobil does not vote. The Bar Association and Insurance Companies do not vote. They buy votes. They buy the votes that we give, for free, to our elected representatives.

Not having competitive bidding in Medicare contracts costs the taxpayers at least $200 billion a year. Competitive bidding is one of the hallmarks of the “Free Market.” The government’s job, its duty, whether it be Democratic or Republican, is to save us that $200 billion!! When it does so, the government is a player in the “Free Market,” not a “Socialist” entity. When the government regulates lenders and speculators, it is doing the job that we hired it to do. When skulking little weasels undermine the job of the government, they must be excised like tumors!!!

I believe, with my whole being, that the most important concept in all of government and all of human interrelationship is the difference between “need” and “want.” I have said this many times: What people need they will ask and argue for and find a rational explanation for why it is necessary. What people want, they may cheat, steal, lie, lobby or use any other immoral and inappropriate means to obtain.

Government’s “raison d’ etre,” its very reason for existence, is to balance the public’s needs, to try to fairly provide people’s needs and prevent violence. The response from an elected official to “what I want” should be “It’s not my job to worry about what you want. What do you need?” With the almost total corruption of our political system, “needs” are almost totally ignored!

We need a national healthcare system. The insurance companies in our “Free Market” cannot provide it, period. They cannot provide Homeowner’s Insurance (they are constantly requesting government bailouts). We need to help the Mexican economy. We need their help with border security. We need to clean up NAFTA. We need a comprehensive energy policy. We need mass transportation. We need all these things and many more. None of these “needs” have been addressed at all!!! Many, many other needs have been totally ignored!!!

The small but powerful group of ultraliberal Democrats wanted the excesses and sequelae of the Roe vs. Wade decision: Late term elective abortion (unreasonable now, when the fetus is usually viable and a human baby needs to be destroyed), the absurd emancipation of minors (encouraging teen pregnancies), the elimination of the parents in the abortion decision and incomplete counseling. The same people wanted the excesses of Affirmative Action, the way it was passed. They demanded bussing and the hiring of unqualified minority applicants over qualified “majority” applicants leading to serious incompetence and dysfunction, especially early on in the Justice Department. Clearly, these same decisions and bills could have been executed without the excesses that these Democrats wanted, but that the citizens involved, did not even need.

Not to be outdone, an equally small group of remedial, ultra psychotic Republicans wanted desperately to totally eliminate the Roe vs. Wade decision and Affirmative Action as well. Some of these same people wanted to eliminate taxes, regulations, tariffs and all restraints, not for everybody, but for the stock markets, speculators, lenders, credit card companies, and for large international corporations who did not need to even employ people in this country. These same people wanted to start a war in Iraq, one that we clearly did not need, to destroy Habeas Corpus, to perform illegal search and seizure, illegal surveillance, bugging all telecommunication in this country, to hold Americans and others for years without charges, to fire Justice Department attorneys for not agreeing to violate the Constitution, to frame a governor of Alabama. The list of what they want goes on and on, ad nauseum.

Just what do these wretches on both sides of the aisle need?? The answer is “nothing!” They have all they need. It is you and I, John and Jane Q. Public that have real needs, and we have no way of even telling most of our elected representatives what we need. However, before condemning these people, examine the system that has been so easily corrupted. They, too, are victims. For instance, my experience with my local U.S. Congressmen (both Republicans) has been very encouraging. Our Senators, both Democrat and Republican, have paid attention to our concerns and needs, sometimes agreeing and helping, sometimes not. However, the enormous cost of communicating with most Senators and Congressmen is beyond the average citizen. Most of our representatives will listen only to lobbyists. This is especially and ironically, much worse among state representatives than with national representatives.

Now, in the cases that I have just discussed, I referred only to what my friends or colleagues or I myself needed. For what I want, I need to consult lobbyists. The lobby pays the politician a certain amount of money to gain his ear, not to persuade or bribe him to do something, but to buy the privilege of speaking to the person or to an aide. For a much larger “fee” the politician may even be persuaded to vote for something that does not actually benefit the vast majority of his constituents.

Thus, in a most ironic and absurd twist of fate and language, accepting a huge bribe to pass legislation that does not benefit one’s constituents is considered “business as usual.” Accepting a lobbyist’s fee for an “earmark” that may actually benefit one’s constituents, or just trying to help one’s state, is called “pork.” Thus the hundreds of billions of dollars that people like Congressmen Stark and Dingle have illicitly diverted to their buddies in medical laboratories every year do not count as pork. The millions of dollars the lobbies have paid their campaigns are just good old “bribes.”

The tens of billions of dollars lost to taxpayers when the new “Democratic” Congress reversed the Republican Congress’ bill for competitive bidding for Medicare durable goods and oxygen will also go down as “business as usual.” So, too, will the tens of billions of dollars overspent for Medicare Part D. The President and the Drug lobbyist that he hired to run the drug program, claim that we do not need competitive bidding.

The more than one hundred billion dollars recently added by the Senate to the “Bailout” is mostly petty bribes to House members. They are “earmarks,” of course, aimed at promoting passage of the bill in the House. Senate leaders on both sides could be seen on television patting each other on the back. The “earmarks,” something they are really good at, are substitutes for the improvements in an economic bill- something they are not good at. Disconnection in action.

Allen Finkelstein, D.O.