The Useless Vicissitudes of Politics

Sam BrownbackIf you want a great example of the vicissitudes of politics, all you have to do is take a look at the new CNN/ORC poll about the economy and Obama. The president’s approval rating has gone up to 48% — it’s highest level in almost two years. And this is, of course, all about people thinking the economy is doing better. This is just seven weeks since the Democrats suffered a very bad defeat at the polls. It was going to be bad regardless, but if the election were today, the Democrats would doubtless do much better than they did.

And that’s the difference between electing a whole bunch of really bad politicians and electing a much more reasonable bunch: seven weeks and a couple of hopeful economic reports. It’s incredibly sad. The psychology seems to be that when the government really isn’t doing its job and the poor are being greatly harmed, conservatives get elected because the poor are just too depressed to even show up to vote. Or maybe it isn’t depression. Maybe they are just too busy running around between their three part-time jobs that they don’t have time to vote. The results are the same: a bunch of old people on Social Security and Medicare show up to vote for politicians who promise to cut welfare. You know: Social Security and Medicare aren’t welfare when you receive it.

This is what is so frustrating about following politics. There is clear cause and effect, but it makes no sense. It isn’t the case that politicians get rewarded for improving the lots of the voters, and they certainly don’t get punished for destroying the lots of the voters. The poster child for this is now Sam Brownback. He has effectively destroyed the Kansas economy with the help of long-time Republican snake-oil salesman Arthur Laffer. And his penalty for this act of ideological rigidity and policy incompetence is that he didn’t win re-election by as much as he normally would have. It’s outrageous that this man continues to be employed. In a just world, he’d be in prison.

Yesterday, Luke Brinker reported, Sam Brownback Is Sorry He Predicted His Tax Cuts Would Work. Well, he didn’t actually say that. He just said that he regretted saying that his tax cuts would be a “shot of adrenaline.” But that raises the question as to what Brownback thought he was doing. If the tax cuts were not meant to grow the economy, then what? Of course, we all know what. It’s the reason I say he should be in prison: it was just an excuse to take money away from the poorer classes and give it to the rich. And in that way, it was a huge success. So why all the complaining?

Since I’m a big proponent of democracy, I think we should consider trying it in the United States. But there are a lot of things that we need to do and a whole lot of power and money that is against trying such an exciting experiment. Clearly, we have to get money out of politics. And according to the Supreme Court, that will require a Constitutional Amendment. (Although even in that case, I can see the unholy trinity on the court claiming that the new Amendment was unconstitutional.) It’s going to take some kind of catastrophe for this to happen. We also need to have automatic registration. It is an outrage that we don’t have that. It isn’t hard. Finally, we need to make voting mandatory and legislate some kind of paid holiday for voting. I would like to see a week of voting and anyone can take a paid day off during that week to vote. All of this would lead to a far more liberal and humane country. And that’s why the power elite will do everything they can to stop it. They like elections where people like Sam Brownback prevail.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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