Monday, November 24, 2008

Tomato(R) Tomato(D)

This country recently faced a difficult decision. Millions upon millions of Americans went to the polls to decide which of two men would lead our nation into the future. They cast their vote to determine whether tax and spend economics, foreign adventurism, government interference in the free markets, crony capitalism, violent oppression, vice laws, theocracy, and fascist control of businesses and private commerce were to be the law of the land, or, well, ummm...

While nearly half of those who recently voted in the national elections are somewhere between mildly disappointed and suicidal that their candidate lost in the election, I'd like to offer a slightly different perspective, which I believe may be both disheartening, and in its own way, comforting.

While the major media, both political parties, some corporate concerns, and members of academia would like you to believe that democrat and republican politicians can be easily pigeonholed, certain historical realities would seem to belie that fact.

You are supposed to believe that democrats want big government, social welfare, and peace, while republicans want small government, free market solutions, and war. Those in power propagate these stereotypes so that they can frame the argument to their immediate advantage in order to manipulate the people into voting for the leaders they want elected. In reality, both parties are more than happy to steal, spend, and kill whenever it meets their current needs.

Since Lyndon Johnson in the sixties, democrat presidents have overseen increases in spending which were smaller than the increases in revenue, while republican presidents have done the opposite. This means that while both parties have presided over constant increases in spending and debt, democrat presidents have actually increased spending less than revenue has grown, and republicans have drastically increased the debt by increasing spending far beyond the increases in revenue. So clearly, the myth that republicans want small government and less spending isn't historically accurate.

So what about social welfare? Well, since the fifties welfare spending has steadily increased, but it really started blowing up in the seventies. Regardless of which party was in power, the government has continued to increase welfare spending at an ever increasing rate. While they would like you to think that it is only democrats who increase welfare spending, this is simply untrue. And that is before you take into account corporate welfare.

Corporate welfare includes everything from tax cuts, and economic subsidies, to direct payments, loans, and bailouts from the state to private business concerns. In recent years, this kind of welfare has equaled something close to 100 billion a year, approximately one fourth of the total yearly cost of social welfare, but recently, this amount has exploded. 20 billion dollar loans to automakers, 160 million dollar loans to insurance companies, and 700 billion dollars worth of loans to wall street have all added up to nearly a trillion dollars in additional corporate welfare this year alone, more than twice the amount spent on social welfare programs, and all under a republican president.

This really only leaves the issue of war. While liberals cry out for peace while accusing those evil conservatives of being bloodthirsty warmongers, and those on the right wrap themselves in the flag and march ever onward into the teeth of the enemy, the history of this country has far more wars begun by democrats than republicans.

While modern republican presidents did get us into Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq twice, the modern democrat party is responsible for entering World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Somalia, and Kosovo, as well as limited military action in Iraq, the Sudan, and parts of Russia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. You can hardly make the case that they have some kind of special monopoly on peace.

So if both parties believe in increasing government revenues and spending and debt, increasing the size and scope of government, and engaging in multiple overseas wars, which are used as an excuse to further increase the size and scope of government and its debt, then does it really matter which of the two major party candidates was elected?

Some of you still think it does. But I would propose that the difference between Obama and McCain was only in how they defined the problems facing this country. Obama thinks poor people are being taken advantage of. McCain thinks that people need helping sending their kids to college. Obama thinks that the government should pay for your health care. McCain thinks that the government should give you money, and you should pay for your health care. Both candidates think that the government should regulate your property rights, your right to bear arms, recreational drug use other than alcohol and tobacco and caffeine, your right to buy and sell goods, and to enter into contracts, among other things. Regardless of how they define the problems facing the nation, their solutions are the same. More taxes. More spending. More government oversight. More state authority. More power, less freedom.

So if your candidate won, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. He won't end war, or eliminate poverty and disease and injustice. He will increase the power of the state at the expense of the people. And if your candidate lost, don't feel too bad. Things won't be drastically different under the other guy than they would have been under your guy. You'll still have socialized medicine, an ever growing welfare state, and increasing public debt. Republican or democrat, they are almost all statists at heart. That R and D stuff is just to keep you distracted.

If you pay attention to their actions, instead of their words, the whole thing becomes pretty obvious. The two parties go back and forth, eating away at your liberties from the ends without every really repairing the damage done by the other. They aren't opposing each other, they're opposing freedom and liberty and reason. They're opposing you. Both of them. Always.

The only real difference between the two parties is the bumper stickers.

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