Economic absurdities that
Democrats must expose:
...because it's wrong to penalize success and hard work.
...therefore, we should eliminate the capital gains tax.
...After all, they came from, and understand, business.
...even though it is based on pitting the worlds' workers against
...union bosses are only out for themselves.
...and the more the rich have, the more will trickle down to
...Democrats are communists, or at least, socialists at heart.
...so when we tax wealthy investors, we lose jobs.
...so investors, not workers, create wealth.
...so we should give them all the tax breaks possible.
...Democrats just want to tax and spend today.
...for those of Indonesia, Mexico, China and India.
...and how not to do it again.
...and the "crisis" is just a ploy by those who want to destroy
...Republicans' most important propaganda technique.
...and get the media on your side
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There are many valid ways to improve a society. Some emphasize personal
action: caring for the sick, teaching values to children, volunteer work,
conserving energy, donating to charity, and so on. These are important,
but they pale in comparison to getting the right persons into political
office, especially at the federal level—because the federal level affects
what happens at the state and local levels.
If national labor laws are biased against unions, it’s almost
impossible to organize workers, as the “right-to-work” states have amply
demonstrated. When an individual buys and drives a compact car, he
pollutes the air less, but his impact is overwhelmed by the fleets of SUVs
that our national and state laws allow and even encourage. Private
donations to charity certainly help the poor and are necessary, but as the
great depression proved, in a real economic crunch private charity will
last for a few months at best.
The basis for meaningful change—the change that allows further positive
changes to occur—is an informed, politically active public that votes the
right people into office in the first place. So,
- As a general rule, and barring unusual circumstances, never, ever,
vote for a Republican, anywhere, for anything—even for the proverbial
dogcatcher. All the Republicans voted against the 1993 Deficit Reduction
legislation. Misguided voters who thought they were voting for moderate
Republicans in the past several elections actually, in effect, gave more
power to their anti-worker right-wing Congressional leaders.
Qualification: I know an exceptional Republican—who once was a
Chicago politician—who I would vote for every time. But, again, barring
similar unusual considerations, the general rule applies.
- Vote for a conservative Democrat only if there are no other
realistic choices, and if a non-vote would result in a win for a
- In the primaries, pick a traditional, liberal Roosevelt/Truman-style
Democrat who has a realistic chance of winning over a conservative
- Always vote for a progressive populist, independent or Democrat, if
one is available who has a realistic chance of
winning. Unfortunately, not many independents fit this
description. (Maybe the present economic downturn and its accompanying
problems will encourage more Democrats to remember what their party used
to stand for, and why. Until they do, just hold your nose and make sure
we take back America from the Republicans.)
Progressive Populist Democrats
It’s easy to identify the progressive populists who believe in the kind
of liberal Roosevelt/Truman-style democratic capitalism that we had from
the 1930s to the ’80s. Progressive populists:
In other words, progressive populists actually believe
in government. They recognize that no private organization has as its
charter the obligation to solve social problems—only our democratically
elected government does.
- Support a progressive income tax (higher taxes for those who have
benefited most from the sacrifices that governmental policies have
forced upon working Americans)—versus those who want to reduce
inheritance, capital gains, and real estate taxes for the wealthy.
- Support a reduction in regressive taxes, such as sales and social
security taxes—versus those who support flat taxes and increases in
sales taxes, which hit low- and middle-income citizens the hardest.
- Support laws that protect the rights of workers to collectively
negotiate for wages and humane working conditions through their
organized unions—versus those who use their power to destroy unions and
decent working conditions.
- Believe that world trade can be truly free only when it is managed.
That is, businesses with high moral standards—those who respect workers,
the environment and the public—must be protected from unprincipled
competitors, and be able to compete on a level playing field.
- Work to improve relations between cultural subgroups—versus those
who use code words and divisive rhetoric to drive wedges between them.
Progressive populists are interested in justice and in improving
conditions for all Americans. This is what separates them from some of
the so-called populists who want to demagogue their way into political
- Work to improve the environment—rather than corporate
bottom-lines—so our descendants will be able to survive beyond the next
- Recognize that it is always cheaper and more efficient to prevent
our nation’s problems from growing than to ignore them until it is too
late to take effective action. Progressive populists believe that
proactive problem solving is preferable, and ultimately more cost
effective for the taxpayer, than cutting taxes for the
Now Is the Time
The revered guru of modern corporate philosophy, Milton Friedman, posed
and answered his famous question: “So the question is, do corporate
executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in
their business activities other than to make as much money for their
stockholders as possible? And my answer is, no they do not.” This is one
of the most frequently quoted justifications for greed that today’s
corporate executives cite.
Face it. Unless there is a profit in it, corporate executives not only
feel no responsibility for how their actions and decisions affect average
Americans or their local communities—they sanctimoniously claim a moral
superiority for holding such selfish values.
An effective government—with honest not-paid-for politicians—is our
only defense against corporate executives who have no moral standards for
the treatment of workers or the general public.
So, prepare to participate in political discussions and to influence
the ways other people vote by reading the news pages of The Wall Street
Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Barron’s and Business Week. Their
news reports are fairly accurate and can’t help revealing what corporate
America and our right-wing politicians are doing to workers at all levels.
Read their editorial pages and opinion pieces for entertainment only; they
are so violently anti-worker, anti-government, anti-tax-on-the-rich, and
pro-corporation, it’s hard to see how anyone can take them seriously.
(Don’t support these conservative publications by actually buying them;
they’re in most libraries and the Journal can be found lying around almost
The recommendations about voting may seem a bit dogmatic and extreme.
Not at all. Conservative politicians have made such inroads into the
American psyche that they’ve become outrageously over-confident. They
don’t even try to disguise their pro-business, anti-worker biases any
As the materials throughout this web site
demonstrate, their behaviors have become blatant to the point of
recklessness, and they’ve done almost irreparable harm, not only to
working-class Americans, but also to one of the greatest economies ever
developed in history.
The voting public needs to send a message. Now.