WE.CONNECT.DOTS: Sometime late in the last century a small but influential number of lawmakers intent on privatizing government services, convinced a larger number of voters to forego investigation and just vote the way they were told. Polls show most voters still care about the direction we are headed and, by and large, are sympathetic to the less fortunate.
They just didn’t vote in sufficient numbers.
These are some of the situations that have developed by an accrual process because of this state of affairs.
We haven’t won a war since World War II. We spend more on defense than the next ten nations combined, but most of the action has enriched weapons manufacturers and military support businesses.
Fortunately for the warmongers, the draft ended in 1973. Poor and less educated populate our military ranks. Sons (and daughters) of the wealthy and connected do not enroll in large numbers.
Administrations of both political parties tout the lean numbers of soldiers that fulfill our military missions. As a percentage of enlistment, more soldiers are fighting on the front lines. Private enterprises are hired to support the fighters, everything from feeding to delivering fuel and equipment to the battle zones.
Our current president, Donald Trump, talks out of both sides of his mouth. On some days, he declares the United States will no longer lend its military strength to protect other countries. They may support our defense goals, but do not pay their share in dollars and manpower, claims President Trump.
Despite this proposed reduction in military presence and obligations, Trump plans to increase defense spending $54 billion this year. The amount is believed to be more than China or Russia will spend altogether for military purposes.
To support this increase Trump wants severe cuts in domestic spending in housing, economic development, environmental regulations, civil rights oversight and the like.
Some of Trump’s budget manipulations serve his political ends.
For example, cuts in domestic spending may not affect GOP-controlled states as much as those ruled by Democrats. He threatens to pull domestic funding from states and cities that refuse to remove sanctuary protection of illegal immigrants.
Concerning his reduction of Medicaid appropriations to the states, Trump reckons he will change them into more flexible block grants. This will give Republican-controlled state governors the excuse to cut health services to the poor and the chance to redirect use of the funds to needs more in line with their philosophy.
Draining funds for civil rights oversight plus his constant clamoring about voter fraud will allow at least GOP states to make it tougher for likely Democrats to register and vote.
Trump’s cruelest hoax is about jobs. He promises to bring manufacturing that has shifted overseas back to our shores. Much of this occurred over the past three decades due to consumer demand for lower prices.
For a long time after World War II, Japanese consumers refused to buy goods made in the United States. Starting with the Volkswagen bug, American consumers made selection based on price. They wanted higher wages but refused to support the same for their fellow citizens.
Trump claims he can straighten this out with higher tariffs.
We need return to the days when cars were made in Flint and we were careful to drink the water in Mexico. Even if Trump knew what he was doing, he will have a tough time getting support of Republicans in Congress to make such changes.
Bottom Line: The Declaration of Independence states, in part:
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it . . .”
A case can be made our Government no longer serves the majority, but gerrymandering and isolating incumbent lawmakers from controversial votes keeps the bad guys in power.
More voters are registered Democrat. More Democrats vote. Thanks to unfair drawing of district boundary lines, a distinct minority voting Republican elect more Republicans to legislative posts.
Because Pennsylvania is one of a few states that does not permit citizen-inspired referendums, the only way to improve Keystone government depends on those in power now, voting and acting responsibly.