[If we can’t bear the cure, there’s no hope for American democracy.]
Cure would be laughably easy were it not for the insane resistance the few needed measures would meet from greedy capitalists dependent on government handout, especially those who rely on no-bid contracts and virtual monopoly of a service or supply. The squeal would be worse than from metal-to-metal contact of an eighteen-wheeler that suddenly lost all its brake pads. False cries of unrighteous confiscation and deprivation would flood the airways of national media and deafen all legislation.
Solution to this country’s political and financial ills requires only two or three actions:
ONE: Disincentivize wars and foreign adventures by forbidding companies to profit from them. Services and supply to the government must be performed at honest cost without any margin not firmly set in advance by clear, fairly determined contract with no fudging after the fact from “profitably unforseen” overruns. Were profit taken out of both military activity and public works projects, tax burdens would shrivel, deficits would dry up and all the nation’s real needs would soon be met with no big difficulty. Voices of customary greed, those who feel that this country’s financial arrangements are fine as they are and should stay that way forever, will scream and throw every possible weight of objection against anything that could reduce the income they want to keep so as to maintain their lifestyles in comfort amid high dramas of showy self-importance.
TWO: The electromagnetic spectrum belongs to the public. Under federal authority arm-twisted by private media companies, the frequency fields are subdivided and farmed out at great profit to the companies with little service to the public or financial return to their government. Private mega-corporations, nominally owning segments of our airways which they are allowed to farm at increasingly vast expense to political parties, PACs and the public, should be deprived of profit from politics. Some air time must be allocated pro-bono to public service. The market for television time is swollen by competition between consumer advertising and political advertising. This is plain stupid. It increases the suction of vampire capitalism on the body-politique. How much blood should people have to give up to the biggest suckers in the world? (Don’t the media moguls think they’re smart, sitting in the “cat-bird seat,” to mix a metaphor, with “dogs-in-the-manger!?”
The action needed to safeguard democracy in America from corporate power and its big spending will be to recognize that enormously expensive messagery and image-massage is not “free speech.” Candidate advocacy ads must be forbidden on TV and radio. Strip the rhetorical slanting out of issue treatment by forbidding all issue advocacy by interested persons or parties while mandating public forums and mixed discussion panels with genuine debate and critical analysis. This would regain for the public a large measure of calmness and rationality. Can we see a third measure? Yes, THREE: Decriminalize marijuana. Regulate production, quality and tax the sales. (Fund the schools not the jails! Privatize neither.)
Now, let’s note carefully who responds with what argument, strong or lame. I think we can pretty well predict who will say what, though they will likely cloud the real “why.”