Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dubya's RNC Gala Address

It is full of so much flak, so many outright lies, so many misleading memes that I didn't know immediately where to focus. After some thought, I have decided to bring to your attention one slightly subtle Republican ideological trend that disturbs me and, I believe, deserves the focus of our well-framed rebuttals wherever possible. (Bush quotes are in boldface.)

"And we believe in ownership. We want more people owning something in America. We want more entrepreneurs owning their own business."

Ownership, in Bush's language, means only individual and corporate ownership. This administration is not for public ownership, ownership by The People, ownership in the commons. Bush's ownership means "I got it, you don't." Folks, this is the dark side of capitalism, the side that must be mitigated by social programs, progressive taxation, and the wise use of resources held in common for the public good. Bush's ownership means it's everyone for themselves, and the big dogs always win.

And the lure of individual ownership for all americans (in any category of property you care to name) is dangerous because it's impossible to attain and to sustain. Not everyone can or should be a landowner. Not everyone can or should own a car, a house, a business, stocks, or whatever. It's unsustainable in the modern world, unsustainable with so many of us walking the Earth. This kind of ownership maybe makes sense if you're John Locke in a New World colony, staring down the open frontiers of manifest destiny. But it's outdated and dangerous now.

Moving on.

"See, I don't subscribe to the notion that only certain people are a part of the investor class. I believe every American should be a part of the investor class. I believe every American should be encouraged to own assets, so they can pass it on to whomever they choose -- assets that the federal government can never take away."

If everyone is a part of the investor class, then everyone is at increased risk of losing everything. Investing, which means speculation on market forces, is something you use disposable income to do, not your life savings (and this includes Social Security -- hands off, George!). Millions of Americans don't really have disposable income, and millions still wouldn't even if all government taxes, fees, etc went away. These people would have to gamble with their life savings, their food, clothing, and shelter, just to secure the benefits that they currently have. And it's a reality that not every investment is a winning investment; sometimes you lose.

So, the all-investor world would necessarily be the all-debt world. In the all-debt world, the government -- which answers to The People -- won't take your assets away and use them for the public good, your creditors will. And they will use them for whatever unaccountable-to-The-People uses they want.

"Our party is the party of growth, and we're showing the country we're also the party of spending restraint. That's why I submitted the first budget to actually cut non-security, discretionary spending since Ronald Reagan was in office. Congress is on track to hold non-discretionary -- non-security, discretionary spending below last year's levels. And that's an important message to send. And the message is this: We're going to spend your money wisely, or we're not going to spend it at all. (Applause.)"

The Republicans are showing us that they are the party of pulling the rug out from under our best social programs, of stealing the investement in the commons that our taxpayers have made and sending it out as refund checks to the rich. They have shown us that they are the party of getting us into wars we have no business being in, at great expense and at great benefit to major international corporations. I don't consider the last 4 years of government spending to be a wise use of The People's money. To me it looks more like an attack on all the government programs that make America a county to be proud of.

Their lines: the ownership society, the investor society, the wise government spending society. What crap.

We've got to take these concepts on, becuase they sound good on the surface, but what they actually mean would tear the fabric of our great society apart.

You can read the full text of Bush's address at


At 2:31 PM, Blogger Synthesis said...

I think we are doing a pretty good job on Social Security.

Polling data shows that the more people hear about the president's plan, the less they like it. I am willing to bet the same will hold true for the majority of his agenda.

It is frequently pretty (and orwellian) language wrapped around festering piles of crap. The more we harp on his plans, the easier it will be for the public to see beyond the surface to the lies inside.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger johnnie said...

When Bush speaks of his vision of an ownership society, he fails to mention that so many of this country's assets are going to countries such as China. I would like to hear one reasonable answer why Americans should work full time and live in poverty while more and more of our nation's wealth goes overseas.


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