08 December 2010

Republican Extortion and Political Morality

Politics, whether so intended by its practitioners or not, is the public expression of moral philosophy. We live in a society which is supposed to express in its institutions certain truisms, or, although not fashionable to call them such, ideological principles. These principles are, at least nominally, supposedly shared by all the political factions in our nation other than the most extreme.

For example, we accept the principle that the government should represent the will and interests of the majority of the people.

We accept the principle that government is necessary; the question is what kind of government and what is its scope.

We accept the principle that taxes are the price of civilization.

We accept the principle that from those who have received the greater reward from living in society, more is expected. This principle is not quite as universally accepted as others; but I hold it to be simply undeniable except by those who would defend greed and naked power as virtues.

We accept the principle that government should be straightforward, and not riddled with evasions and frauds.

These, in fact, are all moral principles. Of course no one could realistically expect perfection in their application. But I maintain that when a politician … or faction… or an entire political party … systematically and substantially deviates from moral principles like these (and there are surely quite a few others), they are acting immorally.

So let’s examine the main issue of the day; whether to continue lowered taxes for the top 2% of earners,  enacted under the last administration, which affect everyone from the modestly wealthy to the very richest without differentiation (actually a certain amount of regressive gradient due to the ability of the truly rich to hide income and legally (and illegally) evade taxes). The evidence is clear that these lowered taxes have greatly increased the share of the burden of government on the lower and lowest income levels, and added hugely to the national debt. I believe the evidence that maintaining these lowered taxes is contributing to the current prolonged economic crisis is also undeniable.

It is also a fact that a significant majority of Americans believe that these tax breaks for the rich and super-rich should end.

So, applying these basic facts and the supposedly agreed principles of our representative government mentioned above, I conclude that the extortion and blackmail practiced by the leadership of the Republican party on this issue is undeniably immoral.

They have held hostage other necessities which the government must attend to, such as unemployment insurance, to policies which it is crystal clear are not in the interests of, and not supported by, the majority of the people.

These policies are antithetical to the principle that government is necessary and that the more fortunate should pay their fair share of its burden. And they know this, but they don’t care.

Lastly, they have repeatedly used deceit and misrepresentation to hide their true intent. They have claimed that they want to increase jobs, but they’ve held hostage more efficient and economical means to help the economy recover to wealth transfers to the already wealthy, which have little or no economic benefit. They have claimed that they are concerned that the people’s government is going bankrupt, but they have extorted a “deal” from our beleaguered president which increases the deficit enormously, with marginal benefit to any but the rich and very rich (their constituency, after all). These tactics amount to evasions and frauds.

So, I hold the conclusion inescapable. The Republican Party is practicing a systematic program of immorality.

For shame.

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