Government is one of mankind’s oldest institutions that, in the modern era, affects every human activity in important ways. America’s government is the means by which state policy is enforced according to laws voted on by the populace within the confines of the U.S. Constitution, and one of its primary functions is protecting the people. During the early 1980’s, Republicans made a conscious decision to oppose the current form of government in their drive to transform America’s constitutional republic into a plutocracy, and they have worked diligently to deliver control of the country’s policies to corporations and financial institutions.
A means of giving corporations and financial institutions power to govern is ceding control of the nation’s resources, and eliminating regulatory agencies tasked with enforcing policies that protect the people and guarantee the nation survives according to the Constitution. After thirty years, Republicans are blatantly campaigning for voters’ permission to give the wealth of the nation directly to the rich, and allow banks and corporations to dictate policies advanced by groups such as the Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation, and Willard Romney.
Romney travels the country promising that if he is elected president, he will give job creators more tax dollars and “get government out of the way” to allow corporations and financial institutions the freedom to conduct business without regulation or oversight. It is a libertarian dream and, coupled with his party’s aspiration to charge for the privilege of living in this country, effectively changes America into a nation of peasants subsisting to enrich wealthy industrialists and bankers. The past few years provided a glimpse of the America Romney yearns for that means more wealth for the rich, and more bodies from the lack of regulations.
Republicans hate regulations because they hold big business accountable for their actions and protect the people from malfeasance in the pursuit of profits. In their drive to kill regulations, Republicans slashed funding for regulatory agencies and took the savings to fund tax breaks and subsidies for corporations and the wealthy; in the process Americans are left at the mercy of big business. A deadly meningitis outbreak that shows no signs of abating is a direct result of no oversight and a company flouting state laws, and it is a precautionary tale that plays out often when businesses police themselves which is Romney and his libertarian cohort’s preferred business model.
The notion that businesses police themselves is in itself a dangerous proposition, and Americans saw it play out when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform blew up killing twelve men while spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico; the well is still leaking oil. Several investigations blamed BP and its partners, Halliburton and Transocean, for making cost-cutting measures, and warned that without effective government oversight, the offshore oil and gas industry will not reduce the risk of accidents, nor prepare to respond in emergencies because their motivation is maximizing profits, not protecting workers or the environment. The final report also concluded that government oversight must be accompanied by sweeping reforms that accomplish no less than a fundamental transformation of the industry’s safety culture, but Republicans objected strenuously to reforms and slashed funding for regulators.
A similar tragedy occurred in West Virginia in 2010 when an explosion in the Upper Big Branch mine claimed the lives of 29 miners as a result of flagrant safety violations according to an independent investigation that found Massey Energy was directly responsible for the blast. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued 369 citations, assessed $10.8 million in penalties, and is still investigating criminal liability as one former superintendent plead guilty and confessed to conspiring to impede the MSHA’s enforcement efforts. Republicans objected to safety reforms and slashed funding for regulators.
Over a month ago, the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya came under attack from terrorists that claimed the lives of four American diplomats, and just a year earlier, Republicans led by vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan defunded security for consulates. The cuts prompted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn that the Republican cuts would be “detrimental to America’s national security,” but Republicans rejected her assertion. The Obama administration requested $2.15 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program for fiscal 2013, but Republicans in the House proposed spending $1.934 billion as they fought valiantly to maintain Bush-era tax cuts for the rich. Republicans are wont to claim America is broke and cannot possibly afford one penny to protect Americans at home or abroad, but they always find money to provide more tax cuts for the rich and their corporations.
Over the past year and eight months, Republicans proposed cuts to FEMA, the CDC, Weather Service, OSHA, FDA, USDA, and myriad regulatory agencies that exist to protect the American people, and throughout it all they fought for deeper tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Willard Romney proposes cuts to regulatory agencies as the means of “getting government out of the way” of big business, while proposing $5 trillion in tax cuts and reducing corporate taxes. All the while he touts education, law enforcement, and Medicare cuts to pay for the wealthy’s entitlements, and is peddling coupons for Medicare, education, and Veterans Health Administration in the latest privatization scam to enrich corporations.
The government Romney and Republicans propose is not business friendly, it is business-owned and operated, and the people are expendable assets. The American people depend on regulatory agencies to ensure the food supply, medicine, air travel, and workplace are safe, and their tax dollars support disaster relief, early warning systems, education, law enforcement and fire protection that Republicans pant to eliminate to fund more tax breaks. The GOP is well aware their plans for corporate- government are not a popular proposition among most Americans, and it is why Romney and Republicans support voter suppression tactics and ALEC’s voter ID laws to eliminate opposition to their corporatist agenda.
Ronald Reagan first proposed the idea that government is bad, and now thirty years later, the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate are openly campaigning to transform government to benefit corporations with full support of the Republican establishment. Their goal is American people at the mercy of unregulated manufacturing, banking, pharmaceutical, and food industry, and their remedy for disastrous outcomes is tort reform to limit damage claims against big business. It has taken Republicans three decades, but they are one election away from transforming American government into a deregulated corporate plutocracy to ensure a few hundred families prosper beyond their wildest dreams. However, for the great majority of Americans, what awaits them is environmental, natural, and man-made disasters and knowledge that their only recourse is a coupon redeemable at the local company store.