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Will Americans Be Allowed to Vote on Supercommittee Cuts?

Sunday, 06 November 2011 07:20 By Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed

Congress' "supercommittee" of the 1% is preparing an austerity plan for the 99%. Will We, the People be allowed to vote on this plan, or, like Greece, will the elites just tell us how it is going to be? Our deficits were caused by tax cuts for the rich and huge increases in military spending. But instead of addressing these causes the elite supercommittee is said to be preparing to take money out of the economy by cutting the things We, the People do for each other. That's right, at the very time when 99% of us need more we will get less so that the 1% can enjoy record-low tax rates -- and it looks like We, the People will have no say in it.

Last week Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou proposed a referendum on the austerity plan that European governments are preparing for the country. "The markets" -- another name for the 1% -- went berserk in reaction. Pressure was applied, and now the Greek people will not be allowed to vote on their austerity plan after all, they will just be told. Richard Eskow writes about this elite veto power over democracy, in Vetoing Democracy: In Athens or Washington, Elites Still Call the Shots,

And what was most striking was the assumption the elite - the 1%, if you will - have veto power over the democratic process. In most of the commentary that flowed from the powerful and the press, a surprising number of world leader didn't even acknowledge that Greece had the right to its own democratic decision-making process.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, whose nation will benefit from "bipartisan" U.S. actions to create a free trade agreement between the two countries, said that "The world has plunged into fears again because of the Greek prime minister's radical step to hold a referendum." Closer to home, French President Sarkozy said that "the Greek's gesture is irrational and, from their point of view, dangerous."

The first part of that statement is a slur against democracy. The second part is, of course, a threat.

Here we are a year after our first post-Citizens United election, in which corporations were allowed to use money to directly influence our elections (as compared to indirectly influencing elections by funding the conservative movement and their organizations, think tanks, media, operatives, propaganda machine, smear machine, etc.). Here we are with the results, a year with no jobs plan from the corporate-elected House majority and a year of filibusters of jobs plans by the corporate-elected Senate Republicans. Here we are with people in the streets, like in Greece, being met with police force, like in Egypt. Meanwhile our Congress pretends it can just ignore the will of We, the People. Mubarak tried that - didn't end so well for him.

So, will We, the People be allowed to have a say over this austerity plan, or will it be like Greece all over again, told by the 1% how it's gonna be?

Or, maybe, Egypt?

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.

Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.


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Will Americans Be Allowed to Vote on Supercommittee Cuts?

Sunday, 06 November 2011 07:20 By Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed

Congress' "supercommittee" of the 1% is preparing an austerity plan for the 99%. Will We, the People be allowed to vote on this plan, or, like Greece, will the elites just tell us how it is going to be? Our deficits were caused by tax cuts for the rich and huge increases in military spending. But instead of addressing these causes the elite supercommittee is said to be preparing to take money out of the economy by cutting the things We, the People do for each other. That's right, at the very time when 99% of us need more we will get less so that the 1% can enjoy record-low tax rates -- and it looks like We, the People will have no say in it.

Last week Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou proposed a referendum on the austerity plan that European governments are preparing for the country. "The markets" -- another name for the 1% -- went berserk in reaction. Pressure was applied, and now the Greek people will not be allowed to vote on their austerity plan after all, they will just be told. Richard Eskow writes about this elite veto power over democracy, in Vetoing Democracy: In Athens or Washington, Elites Still Call the Shots,

And what was most striking was the assumption the elite - the 1%, if you will - have veto power over the democratic process. In most of the commentary that flowed from the powerful and the press, a surprising number of world leader didn't even acknowledge that Greece had the right to its own democratic decision-making process.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, whose nation will benefit from "bipartisan" U.S. actions to create a free trade agreement between the two countries, said that "The world has plunged into fears again because of the Greek prime minister's radical step to hold a referendum." Closer to home, French President Sarkozy said that "the Greek's gesture is irrational and, from their point of view, dangerous."

The first part of that statement is a slur against democracy. The second part is, of course, a threat.

Here we are a year after our first post-Citizens United election, in which corporations were allowed to use money to directly influence our elections (as compared to indirectly influencing elections by funding the conservative movement and their organizations, think tanks, media, operatives, propaganda machine, smear machine, etc.). Here we are with the results, a year with no jobs plan from the corporate-elected House majority and a year of filibusters of jobs plans by the corporate-elected Senate Republicans. Here we are with people in the streets, like in Greece, being met with police force, like in Egypt. Meanwhile our Congress pretends it can just ignore the will of We, the People. Mubarak tried that - didn't end so well for him.

So, will We, the People be allowed to have a say over this austerity plan, or will it be like Greece all over again, told by the 1% how it's gonna be?

Or, maybe, Egypt?

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.

Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus