When I went to college, I received a BA with a double major in government and geography. Not political science, which to me was more of an activity, but government. And before you think that "geography" is how to read maps and learn the location of cities, there is actually political geography, and a host of other sub-disciplines. To get the degree, I needed to undertake a thesis. For those of you too young to remember, this meant a lot of time spent in the library with file cards, noting quotes and citations, creating outlines and drafts, and lots of typing.
My topic was the interrelationship between government and business given the rise of multinational corporations and the potential effects on hegemony. At the time, most businesses were NOT multinational. This was something that was really just getting underway. Back then, phone calls were expensive, FedEx and faxing didn't exist, and computers took up entire rooms. Manufactured goods were made by people working on production lines. The stock market? That great business barometer today? The Dow was substantially under 1,000.
I've been thinking about that old thesis, and what it said, in light of the upcoming fiscal curb, as well as the influence of multinationals on both politics and government. My prediction 35 years ago was that it was possible that some companies could grow to be larger than some governments, and would have the ability, to exert hegemony over sovereign governments. Back then, I was thinking about what we called "third world nations" - and yet here we are a generation plus later, and I'm thinking about the US government.
There used to be a chasm between politics and government, but the two have become intertwined here in America in ways the Founding Fathers never imagined, nor was even considered a generation ago. It was a separation between campaigning and governing. The costs of campaigning were much, MUCH, smaller. People would get up on stumps, or in front of larger audiences, say what they would do if elected, and then work at getting their beliefs codified. The non-political parts of government hummed along their own axis.
But something happened about 30 years ago, that being Reaganism, which even its architect, David Stockman, has come to abhor, and then the mingling of banks and investment houses, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and finally the Citizens United decision. If you think these things have not brought us to the edge of the fiscal curb, you haven't been paying attention. Those teabaggers pulling the guts out of the GOP? They would have been laughed out before Reagan started courting the evangelicals in public and maligning them in private conversations. The current crop? Bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch and their ilk. Although fewer in number in the House, they do stand intransigent.
Government was created in America to be for the people. To do the things individuals couldn't, or shouldn't, do on their own. It operated for the greater good, and never for the factions. (For more information on the factions, see James Madison's Federalist #10.) To pay for those things, there are taxes.
It looks like there will be some sort of deal this term. A return to the pre-Bush tax cut levels for those making over $250,000/year, and a return of the 2% for FICA. A little pain spread around to fund those things we need to pay for as a society. There is no question that the deficit has been falling over the past 3 years. It has, in fact, fallen about 30%, from a little over $10 trillion to $7 trillion, and it will continue to fall as we slow spending for the Bush wars. Too many forget that those wars cost far more than any entitlement programs. In money and blood.
And then next year, the real work of fixing our tax system and our Federal government pay-out system will begin. Hopefully this will be a function of government and not politics. It's a small glimmer of hope, but there is a lot of backlash against the corporations that fund the politicians who work against America.
At the state level, there is even more work to do. The teabagger faction has made even further inroads to state governments. In Virginia, for example, they've moved the Republican gubernatorial system from a primary to a convention: insuring that the tebag candidate will be on the ballot against Terry McAuliffe. In West Virginia, there is teabag hue and cry against Shelley Moore Capito, who wants to run against Jay Rockefeller in 2014. The state legislatures in red states have been working during the lame duck session on banning gay marriage and Planned Parenthood. It is going to take a lot to get these people out of office over the next several cycles, and replace them with people who will truly govern in the public interest.
To that end, this Saturday, OFA's offshoot, The Action, will launch. The full mission statement is after the jump. The Action is starting with mobilizing to end the Bush tax cuts, and will continue with both state and national actions. I will be on a state conference call tonight - I hope you will join the call where you live.
We may have won the election, but we have not yet won the war to take America out of the hands of those who would compromise its sovereignty. On Saturday, that battle begins.