Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Destroying institutions has me worried about the trajectory of the country.

Our government is purposely destroying institutions that it has built over centuries. And that has me worried about the trajectory of the country and the future after President Trump.

How did we get here?

Well... The Republican Party has, since about the Barry Goldwater / Ronald Reagan times, been aggressively committed to shrinking the size of government.  Remember President Reagan once said the scariest words in the English language are "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help."?  People laughed and nodded, until a hurricane hit or they need roads.

Shrinking the  size of government is an acceptable position. But it fails in the real world arguements.

It fails when you ask citizens "what do you want to get rid of?" The only thing most people can agree to get rid of is foreign aid - and even that solution fails when you realize that:

1.US Foreign Aid is a teeny-tiny part of our budget (less than .44%).
 2. The majority of our foreign aid goes to Israel and her two neighbors to prevent war.

3.The entire foreign aid budget is less that phase 1 of the 2nd street subway in New York.
The red part was more expensive than our entire foreign aid budget
The rest of the budget - military, medicare, social security -, people generally want.  To counter this desire of the American people, Ronald Reagan's administration came up with a plan to starve the government of money - primarily through tax cuts - and then be "forced" to cut spending.  (Remember Grover Norquist's comment that he wants a government small enough to drown in a bathtub.  Well, every year Republicans sign his pledge not to raise taxes.  But they raise spending.)

This didn't work as expected, because the government in general (and Republicans in huge-as particular) are willing to spend more than they have when they are in power.

The next bright idea came was to tarnish the institution of government itself to allow Congress to reduce its funding.

This was fairly easy to do. By changing the rules of donations and backing, the Senate and the House have become amazingly unresponsive to their constituents. It is easy to say they don't work because people don't see solutions from the legislative branch. (i.e. - they don't work!) The ability of 1 party to block progress (and both parties do this) makes it easy to demagogue Congress.

Then they moved on to the President.

With the election of Barack Obama, Fox News joined the Republican party to question the very loyalty of the President (he was call a Kenyan Muslim who hates white people). Fox News very specifically and officially set themselves up as opposition by Roger Ailes hiring most of the unemployed Republican Field - Huckabee, Gingrich, Santorum and Palin. Mr. Ailes stated this himself in 2008.

This has continued with the election of President Trump - who the left finds unpalatable.  And, since the Republicans did everything to tarnish President Obama, the feel empowered to use those same rules against President Trump.  (Yes - this goes back a long way - but has been particularly ugly under the last two Presidents.)

What is new is a coordinated attack on the very institutions of our government, by the President and the Congress. 
  • They have attacked the FBI and the Justice Department as being partisan.  Partisan for Democrats! Remember this was the group that touted a pre-election surprise of Hillary's emails - that wasn't.
  • They are trashing the reputations of Republican prosecutors to protect Trump. To save his ass, they question the very idea of outside investigation.
  • They have attacked the integrity of the Judiciary. Trump has said Hispanic Americans cannot fairly judge Trump and gay Judges cannot rule on gay issues. They have attack the 9th circuit consistently and any other court that rules against them.
  • They have dismembered the State Department so that our foreign policy is unintelligable.
  • They have attacked NATO.
  • They have attacked all trade agreements as not in our country's interest.
  • They have attacked the EPA from the inside.
  • They have massively shrunk our National Parks administration and reduced the size of monuments and changed the focus of the Interior Department.
  • They have neutered the Housing and Urban Development Department through inactivity.
Our nation will make it through this if our institutions are strong. But I don't know if our bipartisan institutions can recover from these attacks.

AND WORSE - I don't think the Republicans or Donald Trump are doing this on purpose.   They are simply trying to get more donations and keep our President out of trouble.  We are stumbling into losing our country.

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