I was inspired to write this after scanning the current debate in California about “budget cuts.” Hope my stab at humor brings you some light. – Joe
In eight short years, conservatives have effectively bankrupted many state governments and left the fed in shambles. And now citizens have to “make tough decisions” and share the suffering equally across the land (unless of course, you’re part of that lucky 1% who co-opted the functions of government to serve their own ends… they’ll be cozy with their offshore bank accounts, golden parachutes, and permanent tax holidays).
Are you a teacher who educates our future citizens? Too bad. You’ve got to tighten your belt and let that job go. Manual laborer? Sorry but that job can earn more money for our shareholders if its done in Micronesia. Need a college degree? Prepare for indentured servitude because you’ll be working to pay us off for most of your adult life. Health care? Ha! That’s just a ponzi scheme dreamed up by a bunch of socialists.
Ever wonder how conservatives did all this?
Well here’s your very own how-to manual for getting Big Government out of the way so you and your buddies can horde all the wealth to yourselves and build your empire.
Step 1: Blame the Individuals
Every battle has to have two sides, so you’ll need to divide the people against each other. This means that you’ll need to declare that “there’s no such thing as society” and focus the entire debate on the faults of individuals.
Enron screwed people over? That’s just a few bad apples. The business news a lap dog for corporate excess? That’s just Jim Cramer doing his thing. The economy in shambles? That’s just George W leaving his legacy.
And of course the housing crisis is the fault of greedy buyers. Industry can’t do right for us because of that welfare queen. And government can’t serve the people because of that corrupt politician and his special interest crony.
Get the people talking about individuals and it’ll be easy to blind them to the public infrastructure they depend on. You don’t want anyone to make a peep when we gut the schools, defund public works, and empty out the treasury. Those problems will just be fodder to throw at the sorry Democrat we’ll blame when the fit hits the shan.
Step 2: Cut Taxes
Now that you’ve gotten everyone bickering about each other (and ignoring us), you can get to work dismantling the government. All you have to do is cut taxes. Yes, it’s that simple. One move and you get all the benefits of (1) weakening every social program; (2) making government services inadequate; (3) setting the stage for calling out “waste” and inefficiencies (more of that blame game!); (4) keeping your richest friends from ever having to pay for the infrastructure they exploit to make all that money; (5) getting nonprofits and opposition leaders in the government (progressives… eck!!) to spend all their precious resources fighting to keep things in the budget; and (6) outsourcing government operations to your buddies in the corporate world so they can profit from them.
This one move is strategic. It does all the work for you.
And when life starts looking dire, you get opportunities you never dreamed possible in a democracy.
Step 3: Exploit Disaster
If you’ve managed to accomplish steps 1 and 2, people will be in a panic. And we all know that panicky people make rash decisions. Now is your chance to push that unpopular agenda through the cracks – disaster capitalism at its best!
Remember how we tricked the populace into an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq to secure oil revenues? That wouldn’t have happened if people weren’t scared out of their wits by the fright of terrorism. Think people would have gone for No Child Left Behind and allowed tests to replace learning in the classroom? We had to fabricate a crisis (which took years of hard work to create) to push that one through. And you know that there’s no way we could take away so many civil liberties with the Patriot Act if the debate was drawn out for weeks under public scrutiny.
So there you have it. Three easy steps to destroy the government.
If you’re an overachiever (you know who you are!), you might even try giving away billions to your buddies in the banking industry when the bottom falls out. Or consider no-bid contracts to our old pals in the energy and defense sectors when no one is looking. Or, and this takes some special skill, you might call any efforts to “increase revenues” just another example of irresponsible spending that got us into this mess in the first place.
Note 1: Take care that progressives don’t ever learn about this strategy. It could be nullified and made ineffective by exposing our agenda, allowing people to organize, or letting government work well enough for people to start thinking that government isn’t inherently bad and (gasp!) that it might be useful for something other than empire-building.
Note 2: Want a more detailed discuss of how these ideas were so successfully implemented? This excellent series by Sara Robinson will help you learn how to take over the common sense of an entire culture:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Note 3: Not satisfied with this strategy? Maybe you’ll want to build a different kind of politics that works in another way.
Update: Many readers on Truthout suggested that we should make a list of names of the people who enacted this strategy. I think this is a great idea. If you know of anyone (e.g. Karl Rove, the Coors family, etc.), add their name in a comment below this article. I’ll come back and collect these names into a list for us to use.
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