The battle lines are now clearly drawn. And General Robert Reich is raising the banner for a novel idea: taxpayers should not be financing contributions to politicians made by self-interested government contractors.
The armies are assembled.
Those who wish to repeal every progressive advance from Teddy Roosevelt onwards have donned the gray uniform of the Confederacy of Dunces, and its battle standard is the Grover Norquist holy grail of starving our federal government until its shrunken and shriveled ghost drags itself to a merciful death in the bathtub of oblivion. (Well, those weren't The Grover's exact words, of course. But since the world ends tomorrow, I thought some artistic embellishment would be de rigeur.)
And we who wish to see a nation that isn't a wholly owned subsidiary of Blackwater-Lockheed-Martin-Exxon-Mobile-Goldman-Sachs, where there is a middle class that isn't spending its waking hours waiting in line to be hired as Walmart Associates and McDonald's Flippers, where women are not reduced to apron-wearing ever-obliging coffee-fetching damsels of misogynistic Donald wannabes, have clad ourselves in shades of blue, while we await sunshine and the moment when sanity returns to our political process.
One of the most consistent voices of reason and leadership, in the midst of very little of those precious commodities, is Robert Reich. His blog yesterday has a title that sounds drab and esoteric. It is anything but -- it is a call for a vitally important and necessary step on the road to political sanity, and it is one that President Obama can implement with a stroke of his pen.
Why We Need to Rein In Government Contractors That Use Taxpayer Money For Political Advantage. The gist is in the opening two paragraphs. I urge you to read the entire piece; it will only take you a couple of minutes. Reich makes a very compelling argument:
President Obama is mulling an executive order to force big government contractors to disclose details of their political spending. Big businesses are already telling their political patrons in Congress to oppose it – and the pressure is building.
The President should issue the executive order immediately. And he should go even further – banning all political activity by companies receiving more than half their revenues from the U.S. government.
Reich notes that in the wake of the egregious Citizens United decision, that the now unlimited amounts of money that any company, including government contractors, can spend on lobbying and untraceable political spending that is laundered through organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Aerospace Industries Association, are built into the costs of doing business of these companies.
So, for example,
... when Lockheed contracts with the federal government for a piece of military equipment, you and I end up paying for a portion of its political costs. It’s one of the most insidious conflicts of interest in American politics.
That's why Reich is calling on the President to immediately sign such an executive order, lest we all wind up going even further than Dwight Eisenhower imagined, having taxpayers pay for the unlimited costs of buying and supporting politicians who will faithfully vote for huge military budgets that will never be cut, and more Blackwater contractors running amok in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Republicans demand austerity and work to undermine the most basic programs that support everyone who is not ultra-wealthy, like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, while forging ahead on their quest to destroy labor and privatize all public assets.
Will this fix the problem? Of course not. But as Reich asserts,
Disclosure is a start. But in this post-Citizens United world, it’s only a beginning of what’s needed.
I've gone further than Reich did yesterday, in drawing the connection between contractor politics and the Shock Doctrine politics of the radicalized, austerity obsessed Republican Party of today. But it doesn't take much imagination to connect the dots.
I think Reich has this exactly right. President Obama has exhorted us to push him on important issues. I'd suggest that we take Reich's lead, and let the White House hear from us on this idea.
A sober remembrance of a very wise warning on this Pre-Rapture Day:
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(Update: Thanks to Community Spotlight, and for this making the Rec List. Can't wait to see the post-Rapture Gallup poll! :-)