To hell with compromise—it’s time to hire Ralph Nader

Forrest Johnson

Oh, golly, we have deadlock once again in Washington. But perhaps not. Political theater, they say, the two sides jostling for position, keeping true to their constituencies, promises, and beliefs. The slow, measurable tracking toward compromise.

Wait a minute here. Compromise? Trading revenues based on the ability of the top two percent of income earners against programs such as Medicare and Social Security? Trading revenues based on tax rates against spending cuts, when economists fully understand the silliness of such notions?

Yes, the New Conservative Neanderthal Party (NCNP) has forgotten Mitt Romney, but it still ascribes to the Backwards Doctrine, still believes that we can step back into the good old days if we just turn the TV to the channel that shows re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet and the Lone Ranger.

Beady-eyes Boehner complained about something my dog understands quite well. My granddaughter and grandson, those little half-pints, know it as well. Tax cuts for the wealthy don’t create jobs. Tax cuts for corporate America don’t create jobs. Tax cuts for subsidized farmers who grow all the products for the industrial food machine don’t create jobs—other than in health care and the insurance industry.

Yes, there’s nothing better than creating jobs based on chronic illness. What a beautiful business model.

Beady-eyes Boehner. I’m trying to think of a way to describe NCNP Sen. Mitch McConnell as he grumps his way through the day, sour that he couldn’t prevent that black-white guy, white-black guy from earning another term in the White House. All I can say is that McConnell has a permanent look on his face that implies he just stepped in something unpleasant.

You know what I mean.
Anyway, I’m peeved once again that we’re settling in for compromise when the American people have already been compromised and cajoled into a corner. The Affordable Care Act was compromised, diluted against the public interest. The efforts to regulate Wall Street were compromised and diluted against public interest. Efforts to protect the environment have been compromised and diluted against the public interest. Efforts to create a new sustainable energy system and a new way to feed ourselves have been compromised against the public interest. We will compromise on national defense and still have more bombs and bases spread around the world than the rest of the world combined.

We will compromise and lower the bill for national defense (Dept. of Defense, nuclear weapons, VA and VA benefits/retirements, and Homeland Security, to name a few), nipping a few percent off a total that is nearly half of all federal spending. The military-industrial complex is indeed complex. Many of the costs are masked within the interest of the national debt that folks like the NCNP want to blame solely on frivolous social spending. Blame it on welfare, blame it on frivolous infrastructure and public sector workers, blame it on the do-nothings who want a handout.

The reality is that national defense spending has grown wildly while tax revenues have shrunk. We haven’t paid for the largest portion of our federal budget, the military and national defense. We put it all on the credit card and the blame for debt goes elsewhere.

The reality is that we fund a food system that directly leads to higher health care costs through processed foods, the staple of the American diet.

We spend four percent of our federal dollars on education. We spend about 14 percent on Medicare. We spend six percent on health and human services. In this time of climate change, we spend one percent of our federal budget on energy programs other than nuclear weapons, since those little do-dads of destruction fall under the auspices of the Energy Department.  

At times, compromise—meeting halfway, in the middle—is against the public interest.

Forget the notion of even-steven compromise. That’s what’s been done to the American people for decades, and all compromise has done is to lead us right into the fiscal, social, and environmental messes we’re in right now. We’ve compromised, businesses have fled for cheap labor, we’ve lowered tax rates to the lowest levels in a half century, and we keep growing the national defense.

We’ve been flim-flamming ourselves into thinking we can have our cake and eat it, too, through the process of democratic compromise. Beady-eyes Boehner and his ideas are foolish and can’t be backed by historical evidence. Lowering tax rates simply benefits the haves at the expense of the have-nots. Lowering tax rates on the wealthy and corporate America has led us to near feudal levels of income and social disparity.

Like all human systems, capitalism has boundaries beyond which it works against the public interest.

To hell with compromise—it’s time for the president to hire Ralph Nader.

The National Union of Friendly Americans (NUFA) has built into its bylaws a statement offered many years ago by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.
I bring the statement to you once again.

“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both.”