October 2004

Bush administration anything but conservative

By Galen Larson

I tried to write a positive article this month about the Four Corners area, and there are many good things about it to tout. But it will all be for naught if we allow our nation to be ruined.

The thought of turning this great country over to the corporations makes my stomach turn. With the current administration we could very well lose our form of government and country. Just in the last few days Russia is about to lose what little democracy it has gained and which we so heartily supported. President Vladimir Putin is about to throw it to the wind and he alone will appoint the governing body, forming a new type of government – autocratic rule. That sounds even better than Daddy Bush’s One World Order, but means the same: Dictatorship.

Conservative – what an interesting word. Webster’s definition: “tending to conserve; disposed to maintain existing institutions; hostile to change; one opposed to hasty changes or innovations.”

Doesn’t seem to fit this administration’s platform. Hasty in declaring war, not very conservative with our tax money, doesn’t seem to want to maintain the lifestyle so many have worked for. One innovation they are drooling to install is investing Social Security revenues in the stock market. If they had done that before 9/11, we would have felt an even larger crash.

The way corporations act brings to mind a statement my father made to me: “If you let someone else handle your money, you can be sure you will never get it back.” I know someone out there will say I’m against corporations and capitalism. Not on your life. I have been an entrepreneur and a day laborer, union member and an executive. I’ve been paid meagerly and exorbitantly, and guess who made it possible for me to get those exorbitant salaries? You, that’s who! The cost is always passed on to the consumer.

Look at Bush’s former treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, two of the most respected men in America in the field of economics. O’Neill was the administration’s first intelligent Cabinet choice — a man who pulled a number of corporations from the verge of bankruptcy into viability. Greenspan kept the economy on a fairly even keel till this administration took over, and is still working a balancing act. Both told the administration that they had to put a cap on the shenanigans of the greedy corporations. O’Neill was immediately fired and told to say he had resigned. No, he said, he would not lie, he would tell the people he was fired. Thanks heavens the same course did not befall Greenspan, or we could really be in the soup.

So if I agree with them in my liberal thinking, I am in good company. I have one wish before I die: I would like to hear a politician stand tall and tell us we need taxes. They fund many of the amenities we enjoy in this great country – pensions and provisions for the elderly, schools, excellent highways and many other miracles to better our lives. Think of the aroma we would enjoy if our taxes didn’t build sewers.

Tax breaks sound good, but can you exist for a year on the paltry sum you get back? Can you pave your own road, hire your own security force and educate your children for what you pay in taxes? Face it, there are some things that government does more efficiently than individuals, and for those things, taxes are necessary. But we need to make sure we spend that tax money on the right things.

Some of those taxes go to bail out huge, mismanaged corporations whose CEOs receive $20 million pensions. They go to farm subsidies, not for the small struggling farmer and rancher, but for ADM, ConAgra, Cargill, etc. How can these entities have the gall to ask for tax breaks after getting the workers’ tax monies? They put their offices offshore, then want to bid on tax-funded government contracts. They bite the hand that feeds them yet want to be stroked in return.

Why is it wrong to be a liberal when there are so many quotes in the Bible that refer to kindness, consideration, and extending a helping hand to your fellow man? It was supposed to be harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Yet this supposedly Christian administration supports rich corporations and lets poverty increase.

Laugh if you must at this old bald head, but if you choose wrong in November, you’ll soon be starving or dead – no, wait, that’s Dick Cheney’s line.

Galen Larson is a rural landowner.