Letters: Privatization agenda leaves Americans poorer
Terry Flowers, Independence
To the editor:
Have you heard the claim that the government cannot provide any service economically or efficiently? From decades ago until now I have heard that claim.
At first I did not think much about it, although I did wonder about its validity from time to time. More recently, I have come to believe that this has been from an intentional move to privatize everything possible for the sake of profit. The Koch brothers, who are libertarians, have had as their long-term goal to deregulate and privatize for decades.
Today we have arguably the worst health-care financing system in the developed world.
Today our present administration, with the backing (lobbying and campaign contributions) of corporate financing, is intentionally hampering the United States Postal Service. The newly appointed Trump (and Trump financial supporter)postmaster general ordered overtime stopped and machines for automation removed. I believe that this is a deliberate attempt to disable the USPS so that public confidence will be lost and Congress can privatize the service. Another way for corporations to increase their profits and wealth.
Services that have been privatized or partially privatized or are on the list for privatization:
• Social Security.
This is not intended to be a complete list but is representative of services targeted for privatization for the profiteering of corporations and our politicians.
Let’s look at the claim that government cannot provide services efficiently and/or economically. The USPS was operating in the black until Congress required it to pre-fund its employees’ retirement fund for 75 years into the future. What other private business/corporation has ever done that? And now the service is intentionally being hampered by its leadership for the sake of political donors.
This is typical of how privatization progresses. First the agency/service is underfunded, then the claim is made that privatization would be more efficient and cost less. Then Congress goes along and privatizes the service.
Almost always the cost does not go down for the American people. The government spends less on the services but the public pays more and corporations and politicians benefit from the profits. I do not believe private enterprise can provide better service with more efficiency than many government-run agencies.
How did we get to where we are today? Decades ago the Koch brothers established a goal of reducing government (regulation) as much as possible even to the point of elimination. They started a public opinion campaign to decrease confidence in our government as stated in the opening paragraph. Then they began to recruit candidates that would embrace their ideology and poured large amounts of money into their campaigns.
Then the Tea Party came along and it was embraced by the Koch brothers. This led the Republican Party to accept some of the more radical ideology of the Tea party so that the party would not be split and so they would not lose the support of the Koch brothers. Money speaks very loudly. Republicans such as Eisenhower and Lincoln would not recognize the party today.
Now we have Trump. Trump has deregulated just about every industry. Are corporate profits up? Yes, but at what cost? The EPA has been gutted, and many protected species and protected lands are no longer being protected. We face the crisis of climate change with no solution or leadership from Washington, D.C.
I must say that the Koch brothers have been very successful in their long-term goal of reducing the impact of government on corporations. We see the wealth gap wider than ever before and getting wider. We are losing the middle class, and the American dream seems to have vanished for so many as the number of homeless families continues to grow and more Americans go hungry.
It is my belief that government should look out for the most vulnerable in any society. Government should be sure that regulations are in place to protect and safeguard the general public from unscrupulous corporations.
We hear some from the extreme right calling liberals radical or extreme. My perspective is that the entire political spectrum has shifted to the far right over the past several decades so that what was once considered moderate is now right and what is now considered left is moderate and what is considered far left is simply left. It is the right that is extreme. And the right is extreme in its quest for money, growth and wealth at the expense of the everyday common person. It is money over people.
Yet if anyone points this out he/she is called a “socialist” or a “Marxist” or a “communist.” Of course none of this is true, but it is how the far right operates. Their M.O. is to accuse their opponent of the very thing that they themselves are guilty of. We have a greater risk of losing our democracy and freedom from the fascist style that we currently have than from the socially responsible style of Bernie Sanders or the “squad of four” and a few others that have been recently elected across the nation.
So where do we go from here? We vote, vote, vote. We get involved in the political system and we let our elected officials know that we have had enough. We elect candidates that will put people ahead of corporations all up and down the ballot.
We support the common good such as a single-payer health-care system that HR1384 would deliver. We support our USPS. We support public education from early childhood to college/university/trade school. We make our prisons public.
We reform our police departments so that they do not have the identity of a warrior but that of a public servant. We provide social services to the police department to assist in societal issues. We support the New Green Deal to mitigate as much as possible the effects of climate change. And so much more. We can have the greatest nation in the world. Yes, we invest in our people and in our future. It would pay us back in dividends. But if we continue to act like an empire and spend the bulk of our resources on endless/needless war and weaponry we will eventually fall just like every other empire before us.
The choice is ours. What are we going to do?