Well I haven't been blogging for a while as I have been busy with school, life and so on. I felt it was time to come back and express some opinions about what the "!%&$" is going on in our country today. First of all I should let you know that my minor I chose is Political Science and Government. Crazy, I know, but I am actually very interested in this subject. I only have 47 credits to go for my Bachelor's degree. Since I went back to school two years ago, I have been taking courses for my general education credit (9 more credits to go!), my major courses in Education (15 more credits to go!) and now my minor courses (6 more credits to go!). I have achieved 73 credits so far, so that is exciting. My schooling has been so much more than just about the Dean's List and being honored as Alpha Lambda. It has truly been about a journey. I wrote on September 15, 2010:
“Classes start on Sept 28th and I'm still terrified that I won't live up to others' expectations. As to my own, I hope college will help me live up to those, too. Maybe, it can even help me with some self-esteem issues. Do I think college will help me live my life better? I don't know, but what I do know is, I am excited and looking forward to the new experience.”
I can say this, after two years of homework, writing assignments, responding to classmates, I have had a new experience. It has actually been a great one, too! I was surprised as well. I learned so many things and revisited so many others with new perspectives and new outlooks on my political, social, and scientific views of the world. These past five weeks of this class, Introduction to Political Science (I have to admit taking this course long after I completed higher level courses in political science has been interesting) has been no different. This week’s discussion: Expansion of government (when is too much government, too much?) and the lifetime appointments of Supreme Court justices.
Here’s my response to the first question. Warning: I have been watching The Men Who Built American (History Channel series about the Robber Barons, Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie) and the PBS’s special on The Dust Bowl.
This week’s question is in line with the political and economic crisis of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ Congress has been fighting about these past few weeks all over the news media. Well, at least they were until they took their Thanksgiving holiday recess this week. The agreement is over cutting spending on social programs, what many Republicans (and sadly, Democrats call) ‘entitlements’ and taxing the wealthy. These questions have been around for a long time. Huffington Post’s Adam Levine declared the forecast of Congress regarding the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations as “Clueless with a chance of catastrophe” (Levine, 2012, p. 1). I would have to agree, it seems that the ‘fiscal cliff’ has once again stalled Congress and created another ‘perfect storm’ that the American people will have to endure. Only this one doesn’t come with FEMA, or government aid, it comes with higher taxes following the Dec. 31st deadline of Bush 43 tax cuts programs.
Expanding government is not a bad thing, in times of recession and depression in this country it has been the right thing. In the 1930s the Dust Bowl was destroying the American farmer in the bread basket of this country. The New Deal Programs, including programs from the newly formed Farm Security Act provided much needed relief from the onslaught of dust storms and the even bigger problem of children’ health ailments, such as dust pneumonia (Burns, 2012). Yet, even amidst horrible conditions on the southern plains, farmers looking for a quick yield went back to their practices of destroying the earth to make money quickly. In essence, it would have, if allowed to continue without government involvement, caused another dust bowl. People do not learn, but perhaps government can. This year alone credit card usage is on the rise and late payments are following the trend (Levine, 2012). The problems that led to the 2008 financial crisis within Wall Street and the banking community may be repeating itself, and sadly, the American people will lose again. Banks and businesses will be bailed out and the average citizens will lose out. There is no good forecast for this disaster. The ‘fiscal cliff’ needs to be solved by government keeping social programs and raising the taxes on the wealthy. Paying our fair share is what average Americans are told every day, it is time the wealthy paid theirs. In 1896, Democratic Presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan stated in his famous ‘Cross of Gold’ speech,
When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer…Our war is not a war of conquest. We are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned. We have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded. We have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them! (Bryan, 1896).
Expansion of government can only bring social programs and better lives. It is not that the government expands too much, it is the business interests who through their endless pursuit of money destroy too much of the American Dream. When Wall Street and commercial bankers decided to ‘trick’ the American people into loans to line their pockets with cash, it was not the American Dream of private enterprise that they promoted; it was merely their own private interests. Robber barons of the past that monopolized American industry were stopped by Congressional committees, not by each other. Government cannot be ‘too big’ or too inactive. I am not a socialist, but I believe that government has not overstepped its boundaries, but private capitalists have overstepped theirs. Nothing is clearer than how the 2008 Financial Crisis occurred. Not through the average American citizen, but from the greed of the trusted institution of banking. As the Affordable Health Care Act is in constant dispute and ‘lies’ about its implementation are being ‘leaked’ to the public to cause an all out scare, it is clear who benefits from the Act, the average American, and who does not, the wealthy business owners. Bryan in that 1896 addressed the very same issue that Congress fights about today regarding the ‘fiscal cliff’.
There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make
the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The
Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will
find its way up and through every class that rests upon it. (1896).
These words echo our constant and never-ending fight. Government programs have saved the average American from starvation, disease, and destruction. The class system, and yes, I believe there is one in this country, is clear and yet, many people do not want to admit it. “The last time inequality was this high in the United States was 1929. Remember what happened next?” (Marche, 2012, p. 1).
Bryan, W.J. (1896 Jul 9). Official Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention Held in
Chicago, Illinois, July 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, 1896. The Annals of America, Vol. 12, 1895–
1904: Populism, Imperialism, and Reform. Retrieved from
Burns, K. [Producer]. (2012). The Dust Bowl [Movie recording]. Public Broadcasting System.
Levine, A. (2012 Nov 21). What Black Friday and the fiscal cliff have in common. Huffington
Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-levin/black-friday-fiscal-
Marche, S. (2012 Dec 11). American class system - We are not all created equal. Esquire.
Yea, yea, I’m all about the references. I admit. Anyway that was my take on expansion of government. If you have your own, please let me know. (However, if you only want to spout off complaints about those poor big businesses who can't create jobs and how us, average Americans just want ‘stuff’ and don’t want to work for it, go to a Fox News Channel board where you will be respected).
See, I learned how to express myself well in college. Thanks for listening.
Until next time…