You know how we grew up hearing about American democracy, majority rule, honor, and all that? Well, I did, anyhow. But I’m a pre-boomer, so… All lies.
Remember when everybody mocked the NRC after Clint Eastwood’s stunt with the empty chair? Well, maybe the joke’s on us. Advise and consent. Yeah! But what if it’s advise, but don’t hold your breath waiting for consent? Sure, the president can get the consent of a majority of senators. However, because Republicans have chosen to destroy democracy by abusing of the “gentlemen’s agreement” of filibuster, a majority isn’t enough. The minority rules. We mocked the NRC Convention, Ho-Ho. But they’re mocking our system of government. Nothing to laugh about there.
Today Congress essentially told working Americans to drop dead. House Republicans pushed through a dangerous bill that would paralyze the National Labor Relations Board, blocking the only path that workers have to workplace justice.
H.R. 1120, the “Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act,” is designed to advance a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision, known as Noel Canning v. NLRB, challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the board.
Under the decision, the NLRB only has one Senate-confirmed member – Chairman Mark Pearce, a Democrat whose term expires this August.
Now H.R. 1120 seeks to freeze all activities of the NLRB that requires a full quorum, or three members. It would also bar the NLRB from enforcing any decisions it has made since Jan. 4, 2012, when Obama made those disputed recess appointments.
So here’s the Republicans’ dream meeting of the NLRB, an essential protection for the rights of American workers in particular, and for human rights and justice in general. Think of it as an application of the Clint Eastwood ideal.
Dave Johnson Campaign for America’s Future / Op-Ed Published: Thursday 28 March 2013
A folklore has grown up around our politics’ refusal to address the concerns and needs to the vast majority of us.
A new study, Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans, by Professors Benjamin I. Page, Jason Seawright and Larry M. Bartels sought to gauge the political and policy priorities of the wealthy, and how these concerns contrast with the concerns of the rest of us. Amazingly, the priorities of the 1% match up with the priorities of our political class, while the priorities and needs of the vast majorities of us are ignored.
The study questioned people with wealth that placed them in the top 1%. They were asked what they felt were the “very important problems” facing the country. The most common response was the budget deficit, with 87 percent believing this to me the most important problem. This contrasts with the rest of the population, with only 7% saying this is the country’s most pressing problem. Of course jobs and the miserable state of the economy for people what are not in that 1% were cited by regular people as the most important problem.
“Entitlements” (That is, Earned Benefits Program.)
The 1%’ers want “entitlement programs” like Social Security and healthcare cut while the American Majority want (and need) them expanded.
The 1%’ers opposed raising the minimum wage, government help for the unemployed, government spending to ensure that all children have access to good-quality public schools, expanding government programs to ensure that everyone who wants to go to college can do so, and investing more in worker retraining and education. The American Majority supports all of these programs.
The 1%’ers also opposed more regulation of large corporations, raising the Social Security “cap,” using corporate taxes to raise revenue and taxing the rich to address inequality. The public supports these.
(Note – both the 1%’ers and the rest felt that the country needs to spend more on repairing and modernizing the country’s infrastructure.)
If the priorities of the wealthy seem to line up with the priorities of our DC elite, there is a reason.… [Emphasis and subtitles added by me.]
Money might not buy happiness, but it does buy legislators and government executives.
Our democracy needs to be protected from the depredations of big money.
We’re still legislating and regulating private morality, while at the same time ignoring the much larger crisis of public morality in America.
Why doesn’t the morality brigade complain about the rampant greed on the Street that’s already brought the economy to its knees, wiping out the savings of millions of Americans and subjecting countless others to joblessness and insecurity — and seems set on doing it again?
What people do in their bedrooms shouldn’t be the public’s business. Women should have rights over their own bodies. Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
But what powerful people do in their boardrooms is the public’s business. Our democracy needs to be protected from the depredations of big money. Our economy needs to be guarded against the excesses of too-big-to-fail banks.