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Coastal Voices: Get past the partisanship

While people on the conservative side call out the faults of liberals, as did Marlowe Thompson in his Jan. 21 letter (“Liberals oppose Constitution, Declaration of Independence”), our government cannot be more delighted that we citizens are fighting with one another rather than paying attention to our government.

It is called “divide and conquer.” We are playing right into the hands of those in power to stay there by flaming the fire of our fighting with one another about which party is better, or worse, instead of delving too deeply into how our democracy is being subverted.

On “Bill Moyer’s Journal” on Saturday night, he interviewed David Stockman. He began his career as director of the Office of  Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985. Stockman was the chief architect of Reagan’s supply-side, or “trickle-down” economic policies, and as Reagan’s budget director he quickly gained a reputation as a tough negotiator and a ruthless cutter of taxes and government spending.

In late 1981, however, he was the subject of a controversial profile in the Atlantic magazine, in which he revealed to reporter William Greider that he was critical of the Reagan budget. He asserted in the article, titled “The Education of David Stockman,” that the huge 1981 tax cut he and Reagan had pushed through Congress “was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top [tax] rate.”

In his recent book, “Crony Capitalism,” he goes on to assert that by bailing out the major banks, we essentially did away with the “free market.” They are now in a position to manipulate the dialogue. By dismantling the Glass Stegall Act our government set the stage for the risky behavior that brought down our entire economy.

This behavior will continue until we force our leaders to make genuine reforms. One such needed change is how our elections are held. By limiting campaign contributions to $100, we will have a genuine election by the people. Another act would be to make a constitutional amendment to reverse the “Citizens United” decision passed by the Supreme Court that said corporations are people.

 Another interview by Moyer was with Gretchen Morgenson on her book “Reckless Endangerment.” She says that we still don’t know the extent of the derivatives that were bought and sold. It is such a tangled web of debauchery and predator behavior buried in fake documentation that it will take years to uncover, if we ever do. And small banks that did nothing wrong pay the price by paying higher insurance premiums to the FDIC.

The most telling point that I got from this show is that we will have more and more of these bailouts at taxpayer expense that could bring our country to a third world level unless we the people educate ourselves on how our system of government works for and is owned by corporations.

TV stations in South Carolina pocketed $11.3 million in political-ad money — and subjected viewers to an unrelenting barrage of attack ads. Media corporations profited while using our public airwaves — for free — and we have a right to know what we are getting in return. But broadcasters are fighting hard against a Federal Communications Commission proposal to create a publicly searchable database documenting all of the electoral, local and civic programming our stations air. Is this a responsible way to be spending money in an economy where ordinary citizens cannot feed their families nor find work?

Crystal Griffin is a Crescent City resident.

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