Thursday, March 31, 2005
By Jerry M. Landay, The Providence Journal
I AM SCANNING A LIST of the 154 federal programs that President Bush would either zero out or slash in his fiscal-2006 budget, which Congress is now considering. It represents a triumph for the handful who -- with Bush conservatism's chief cheerleader and theoretician, Grover Norquist -- would "drown" the federal government "in the bathtub." In fact, it is an American tragedy in the making: a blot on our collective soul.
The wreckage is breathtaking. It includes termination of a program that tests bio-engineered food safety. Also proposed for axing are conservation programs for American forests and energy, flood prevention, funds for studies in advanced technologies, vital public telecommunications facilities (such as Internet access for schools and libraries), drug-free school programs, workers' job retraining, vocational rehabilitation, enhanced teaching quality, adult education, community service, child emergency medical services, disease control and prevention, land and water conservation, rural fire-fighting facilities, hiring of police, protection of national parks, education of migrant farm workers, the miraculous Hubble space telescope, high-speed rail (advanced transportation long enjoyed in Europe and Japan), and vocational assistance for veterans. END QUOTE.
QUOTE:Few of the "hath littles" are aware of what's being done to them. The middle and blue-collar classes are victims of declining wages, ever-higher health-care costs, and other price hikes -- led by energy costs, the highest in history, and climbing. Behind the smokescreen of a glorious "patriotic war," fear of terrorism, and pumped-up religious fervor lies a home-front war against the middle and blue-collar classes: a conservative counter-revolution, which aims at a colossal redistribution of wealth upward, to the New Aristocracy -- supported by a self-serving rewriting of the law based not on legal principle but on "free-market" theory.
The intended result is the creation of a "peasant" class, driven to the bottom by the need to compete against cheap labor pools, such as India's and China's, working for the bargain-basement wages that are all the big-business scrooges will dole out.
With corporations unwilling to share their productivity gains with workers, as in the old days, and the American union movement in tatters, America's struggling wage earners confront a sad irony: a nation originally dedicated to dissolving ancient European class distinctions is now being
driven backward into another feudal age. END QUOTE.
Another article, same subject:
Corporate America hits paydirt:
Business is basking in strong GOP majority
By Jim VandeHei, Seattle Times
WASHINGTON — Fortune 500 companies that invested millions of dollars in electing Republicans are emerging as the earliest beneficiaries of a government controlled by President Bush and the largest GOP House and Senate majority in a half-century.
MBNA Corp., the credit-card behemoth and fifth-largest contributor to Bush's two presidential campaigns, is among those on the verge of prevailing in an eight-year fight to curtail personal bankruptcies.
Exxon Mobil and others are close to winning the right to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which they have tried to get passed for more than a decade.
Wal-Mart, another big contributor to Bush and the GOP, and other big companies recently won long-sought protections from class-action lawsuits.
Republicans have pursued such issues for much of the past decade, asserting that free-market policies are the smartest way to grow the economy. But now it appears they finally have the legislative muscle to push some of their agenda through Congress and onto the desk of a president eager to sign pro-business measures into law. END QUOTE.
United Republicans are counting on the support of enough Democrats to pass a bill that has been stalled since the mid-1990s. It would require many people filing for bankruptcy to repay more of their debt. Under current law, tens of thousands of people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which erases all of their debt. The new law makes it harder to file for Chapter 7.
Like the class-action law, hundreds of companies stand to benefit from changes in the bankruptcy law. Credit-card and banking companies, which are leading the lobbying effort, were top financiers of Bush's two campaigns. MBNA, Credit Suisse First Boston, Bank of America and Wachovia were among the top 20 contributors to Bush, donating more than $300,000 each.
The legislation includes several provisions benefiting specific industries. Retailers such as Target and Nordstrom, which help fund the National Retail Federation, a trade association lobbying for the bill, will benefit because they lose substantial money each year when people erase their debt through bankruptcy. END QUOTE.
Corporate America-- home of all Ward Churchill's little Eichmanns.
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