Occupy Flint Ends: Accomplishments Unclear but Memories to Cherish
Occupy Flint is closing down their encampment. Terry Bankert posted this on Facebook and debate has raged. My goal is to rally the 51% around a few points regarding smaller government and money in politics.
1) Some suggest the Tea Party movement for “smaller government” lacks specifics and is less coherent than the Occupy movement. But the Tea Party movement began with a very specific target: Obamacare. It began spontaneously before the law was enacted, in response to the “Town Hall” sales pitch roll out. The President sold it like crazy, but a lot of people still weren’t buying. Not only would it help people afford health care and insure the uninsured, for those who were worried about the price tag, we were also told it would reduce the deficit. A great deal of money was spent trying to convince us, but some remained skeptical and voiced their skepticism. Shouldn’t we worry that Obama care will provide numerous examples of the dangerous influence of money in politics? Wasn’t it written by lobbyists for legislators who didn’t even read it? Won’t this ENORMOUS new program metastasize in all sorts of ways as the money interests attempt to have their way with it behind the scenes? If we believe this enormous government program is about helping people afford health care, aren’t we dupes bought off by a sales pitch? It would be nice to believe it’s about helping people, but isn’t that how they get ya?
2) Contrary to popular opinion, money is NOT the only thing that matters in politics. What is money used for? Those who say money is the only thing that matters in politics contradict this when they also say it is used to “buy influence,” or to convince “people of things that aren’t true.” Those who need to be influenced or convinced are the ultimate arbiters and money is used to reach them. Furthermore, money can’t be the only thing that matters in politics because there are real differences between the parties. They compete with each other. I know we’d like to think they are all in cahoots, but there isn’t that much harmony to be found amongst folks with such egos. They really differ and compete and want to beat the other guy. In this competition, they end up raising similar amounts of money. If both parties spend half a billion dollars or more in the presidential election, money can’t be the deciding factor. We will have a choice to make despite all the money they spend. The more informed we are, the better our choice will be. In addition, there really are some things money can’t buy, some things people cannot be convinced of. Can you imagine the President convincing ANYONE that he now sees FDR’s point regarding public sector employee unions, and will move to eliminate them in his second term? Just run a half billion dollars worth of campaign ads in the red states and sew this thing up? He’s having a hard enough time convincing people he’s opposed to private equity firms (it presents such a nice contrast with Romney who’s made a point of having run one). There IS a limit to how much money can inoculate you from the charge of hypocrisy. Even MSNBC discovered they could only find a sieve to carry this water. How can Bain Capital be that bad when you rail against them on your way to a fundraiser hosted by the new CEO…? Our job is to join the fray and make a decision, not put our heads in the sand and say a pox on both your houses. If you think sand in your ears puts you beyond the reach of the money message, you’re fooling yourself. Getting you to at least not vote for the other guy is something they try to buy as well…
3) Have you ever told someone you need to talk to your spouse before you buy something, even if you don’t really need to? People do that; sometimes it’s not even true, and it can still be effective. Because it’s our own money, we’re careful how we spend it. Government NEVER use the fake spouse excuse. We shouldn’t be encouraging the government to take more from ANYONE in order to “invest” more in ANYTHING. No more base line budgeting. Cap or cut taxes, close loopholes, get rid of the IRS, then prioritize spending the increased revenue that will come in. That’s all you get. The more government spends, the more it wastes, the more opportunity for corruption. Money can’t be kept out of politics; the best we can hope for IS to shrink the government. The less the government controls, the less money has to influence. Let’s get the 51% behind that.