Saturday, September 16, 2006

Case IN POINT By Joe Koester, Councilman Ward 9

Case In Point

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
Dwight Eisenhower

During a recent event, Russ Carnahan quoted Dwight Eisenhower – I had heard this quote before and thought it was appropriate for the political climate in which we now live. I think it is hard not to like Eisenhower; he was a rational moderate who had lived warfare but loved peace. We all recall his warnings about a military industrial complex that we should look upon with great caution and healthy suspicion. This was a man who believed in small government, but supported successful government programs such as Social Security because he saw its positive effects in reducing suffering caused by destitute poverty. It is interesting to note that along with Social Security he thinks of unemployment insurance, farm programs, and most notable, labor laws as things worth defending and believes that those who would do away with these things are stupid and negligible in number. Furthermore, in a prophetic way, he goes on to indict oil tycoons as part of this stupid, splinter group. Some others who make up this stupid group, he said, included occasional politicians and businessmen from other areas – say, Wyoming for example.
Sadly, the splinter group he spoke of has turned into the ruling class today.
These oil millionaires sell their snake oil with their smooth talk claiming that they are the down home folks while they say the Democrats are the rich, Hollywood snobs. Sadly, too many Americans gobble this up. In metro St. Louis, it is Town and Country, Ladue, and Chesterfield who vote solidly for the GOP along with much of St. Charles County. The working men and women of our county’s towns provide the votes needed by the GOP to elect those who pass legislation that benefits the affluent of Town and Country, Ladue, and Chesterfield. The St. Charles County GOP gets stagnant wages, rising health care costs, cuts to programs that benefited our poorest children and our most vulnerable seniors while affluent families in Ladue get yet more tax breaks and corporate welfare so they can help widen the gap between rich and poor.
It’s a sad state of affairs when lawmakers in Jefferson City and D.C. can pillage on behalf of the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans and we go along with it. Like the bumper sticker said, “If you’re not mad as hell, you haven’t been paying attention.”
People of St. Charles, it’s time to pay attention. This GOP hegemony has got to come to an end for our nation’s sake. If your party was the GOP of Eisenhower, that party has expired and a few Texas oil millionaires have taken over. They broke their contract with America and we all need to remember that. They wanted to end corruption, end pork barrel spending, adhere to self-imposed term limits, clean up the election process, end un-funded mandates and balance the budget - this was their pledge, this was their contract. What did you get for voting for them? You got rampant corruption; pork spending that has grown by double digits since they have taken control; not one member who stuck to his pledge to step down after eight years; unfunded mandates such as “No Child Left Behind” and a budget that your great grandchildren will be paying off. In fact, we are so far in the red, it now makes sense to me why this is the GOP’s color on the election maps.
Quite literally there is so much wrong that these oil millionaires have done that writing about it becomes overwhelming.
By the way, the next time someone hints at these guys doing a better job at keeping us safe, just remember it is this administration that chooses to give capital gains tax cuts rather than check all cargo coming into our ports. It is this administration that would rather eliminate the estate tax rather than finance Homeland Security. The money they have decided to spend for our safety was determined by political clout rather than what makes sense, resulting in millions of dollars for Homeland Security being spent protecting sites in Montana, Wyoming, and Indiana rather than at our borders, at our airports and seaports, and in our major cities.
We started with Eisenhower, let’s end with another quote from him: “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and co-operation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”