Best gov­ern­ment money can buy

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Pres­i­dent Obama told us he would ex­pand health care, re­strict fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions abil­ity to deal in high risk in­vest­ments, fight cli­mate change, im­prove air and wa­ter qual­ity, end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, save the auto in­dus­try, and con­trol im­mi­gra­tion.

He ex­panded health care (not as much as I would like and it isn’t sin­gle payer, which is cheaper and cov­ers every­one but has its flaws so pri­vate in­sur­ance must be main­tained for those who can pay). We got Dodd-Frank which puts reg­u­la­tions in place to pro­tect con­sumers and gov­ern­ment in­sured in­vest­ment banks from over in­vest­ing and hav­ing to be bailed out. We got more so­lar and wind power. We got a cleaner Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and fil­ters on coal and oil burn­ing power plants. We re­duced troops in Iraq to 10,000 and in Afghanistan to 5,000. The auto in­dus­try was saved and other eco­nomic band aids has put us at 5 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment. He de­ported 3 mil­lion and in­creased vet­ting of refugees to 18 to 24 months. Some things worked well and some didn’t. I’m not a fan of his for­eign policy.

Pres­i­dent Trump told us he would do 12 things when he was elected. Lock her up. Re­peal Oba­macare. Re­in­sti­tute water­board­ing. Build the wall. De­port all il­le­gals. End Syr­ian refugees. Rene­go­ti­ate the Iran Nu­clear deal. Re­build the mil­i­tary. De­crease the fed­eral work­force. Rene­go­ti­ate NAFTA. End cli­mate change reg­u­la­tions. And in­crease use of oil and gas.

So far, we aren’t even talk­ing about lock­ing her up. We are still talk­ing about re­peal. His ad­vis­ers have stated that we won’t be water­board­ing any­one (thank God). Wall build­ing may hap­pen some­day, but there is no talk of Mex­ico pay­ing for it. De­por­ta­tion has been go­ing great (have to see if he de­ports as many as Obama did). I don’t know that we are al­low­ing any Syr­ian refugees to en­ter (I don’t think elim­i­nat­ing a group of refugees based on na­tion­al­ity is a road I want to take. It strikes me as fun­da­men­tally un-Amer­i­can). Not hear­ing any rene­go­ti­a­tion of the Iran nu­clear deal. There has been sig­nif­i­cant de­crease of some por­tions of the fed­eral work force. There may well be more of that. Per­son­ally, his­tory is full of sto­ries about the cor­rup­tion of pri­vate con­trac­tors who do gov­ern­ment work, par­tic­u­larly when there are in­suf­fi­cient gov­ern­ment work­ers to over­see the con­trac­tors. A smaller IRS has re­sulted in less in­ves­ti­ga­tions of tax fraud and the con­tract­ing out of the col­lec­tion func­tions, which I guess some peo­ple think is a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of in­come tax. We are talk­ing about NAFTA and I fa­vor re­vis­it­ing that, as well as ev­ery other trade treaty. As for cli­mate change, no sur­prise that I think cli­mate change is the big­gest prob­lem we have and we are fool­ish to imag­ine that it will go away if we do noth­ing about it.

The in­creased use of oil and gas re­ally pro­foundly il­lus­trates the fact that we have the best gov­ern­ment money can buy. That’s true ever since Eisen­hower warned of the mil­i­tary-industrial com­plex, and it has been a prob­lem since Rev­o­lu­tion­ary times but it has been ever more in­sid­i­ous un­til now when big oil and big coal are get­ting pro­por­tion­ate fed­eral sub­si­dies in the bil­lions while in­creas­ing profit mar­gins and be­com­ing multi­bil­lion­aires while shrink­ing the work­force. Fewer peo­ple work in those in­dus­tries than ever while the own­ers and ex­ec­u­tives are richer than ever. I think it is ev­i­dence of how smart those peo­ple are. I am afraid it doesn’t show the vot­ers to be as smart.

One more thing: The law lit­er­ally sub­si­dizes busi­nesses to move over­seas. Not merely tax breaks but ac­tual law al­lows for hid­ing in­come. Democrats spon­sored leg­is­la­tion a few years back to end that law but it was over­whelm­ing de­feated by Repub­li­cans and other Democrats.

The best gov­ern­ment money can buy.

Wil­liam Wet­more, Wal­dorf

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