Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Different Approach To The State Of The Union-- A Smart One From Nicholas Ruiz, Florida Congressional Candidate


Though many teabaggers are embarrassed enough by the prospect to distance themselves from her, tonight CNN is helping Michele Bachmann make Ayn Rand zealot Paul Ryan look vaguely sane-- at least by comparison. But, truth be told, Obama's spending freeze and defense of an unjust status quo (the very definition of conservatism) is just a tad less right-wing than Ryan's Wall Street-dictated GOP response. And, after all, as Paul Krugman has made abundantly clear, Ryan, no matter how his crafty benefactors from Big Business prop him up, and no matter how Boehner fluffs him, is not the serious thinker they try portraying him as and is just another Wall Street puppet-- and, in Krugman's words, a sad little flimflam man.

So tonight we're treated to a re-election campaign speech from Obama geared towards the lowest common denominator of American politics, followed by the pathetic Chamber of Commerce "but-we-want-even-more" response mouthed by Ryan and the "no one beats me when it comes to crazy" charade by Bachmann. I was very impressed yesterday with Alan Grayson's virtual plea to Obama at Huff Po that he address the real problems of real American working families. I turned to another progressive Democrat in central Florida, this time FL-24 congressional candidate Nicholas Ruiz, for a response to the State of the Union speech from the perspective of Americans hungry for real Change and who still want to believe in the Hope that motivated them to elect Obama in the first place-- as well as to elect both Grayson and a putative Democrat (since defeated) in neighboring FL-24.

Blue America will be hosting a live blog session at Crooks and Liars this Saturday at 2PM (ET). And we've already added him-- our first candidate of the 2012 congressional cycle-- to the Blue America ActBlue page. Why so soon? I think Nicholas' response to Obama's speech tonight will help you understand why we're so enthusiastic about him. I hope you will be too.
On The State of the Union

by Nicholas Ruiz III

Investment is a thoughtful word. Going back in time, we first see it in French and then Latin, where it originates with a simple concept: to clothe, or to envelop, and then to cover, or to adorn, and then ultimately for us, to endow, inaugurate or behold in esteem and high hopes of some future and greater return. In short, we invest in something, so that something else may be returned to us from it.

‘Investment’ is a fashionable word today, no? Sort of like ‘spending’ which the Republicans are all the time howling about with their insatiable need for cuts.

But let’s not forget-- spending is basically a form of investment. So when we cut spending-- we essentially cut investment in a particular idea. If we cut our spending on bubble gum-- we have essentially decided that investing in a chewable food product is no longer a nice idea. If we raise the Social Security retirement eligibility age, or lower the benefit payment in order to cut spending, we are then saying that investing in a particular concept-- that of a guaranteed public retirement system-- is a bad idea. Democrats don’t believe that investing in a guaranteed public retirement system is a bad idea. If they do-- they’re not Democrats.

My point: the national conversation about ‘spending’ really amounts to a simple question: “What are we going to invest in?”

There’s a bandwagon rolling through town. The Republicans are driving it, and it seems, Obama the Democrat wants to jump on it, too. But Democrats need not let him.

The increased radicalization of the American right is undermining any reasonable political balance available to our democratic republic. Under the disguise of spending cuts and cost-cutting, the nation is plainly being asked to accept a non-democratic investment plan for America. A reallocation program if you will, where we invest in something different than what makes America compelling as an egalitarian nation.

In a basic State of the Union preview op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on 1/18/11, Obama declares a new vanguard of national deconstructive investment: regulatory cuts. Citing the carcinogen, saccharin, Obama asserts: “The FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.”

The FDA’s idea, actually is that saccharin is ‘safe’ to consume in small quantities, and that theory is a speculative judgment call. Research shows that saccharin causes cancer in mice and rats in a variety ways, and by general scientific extrapolation-- it causes cancer in some human beings. Deregulating the carcinogen saccharin is a mistake that will allow greater exposure of the chemical to greater numbers of people and will almost certainly increase cancer incidence among the affected populations, as deregulation will also certainly increase corporate profits by lessening corporate accountability for use of the chemical. How’s that for rebalancing the nation’s investments?

Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Republican investment slasher has to like Obama’s Deregulatory New Deal. I doubt Democrats do. Paul Ryan already, last year, lavished his investment advice for the nation via his published ‘Roadmap’ for public destruction: an indecent proposal to slash billions in investment from the public sector. And why in the world would Paul Ryan want to bring public investment down to 2008 levels? Katrina vanden Heuval explains in the Washington Post on 1/25/11:
“Understanding the purpose of the "roadmap" is key to understanding Ryan. When he speaks of ‘fiscal responsibility,’ what he really means is that middle class and working Americans will shoulder the responsibility of tackling debts and deficits, while multinational corporations and financial institutions will reap the benefits of favorable government policies and taxpayer-funded bailouts… The respected Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, drawing on estimates of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, concluded that the average tax cut for the top one percent of the population (with incomes over $633,000) would be $280,000. The richest one tenth of one percent, who had incomes over $2.9 million in 2009, would pocket a handsome $1.7 million a year in tax

Refining Katrina vanden Heuval’s logic further, the ‘investment’ idea being peddled by Paul Ryan, et al. essentially achieves very dark returns: the further decimation and demoralization of the working class. With record unemployment, record commodity and equity prices and the lowest working wages, worker benefits and citizen confidence in decades-- wouldn’t it be a better idea to increase our public investment? I’m sure. We need to remind our Democratic President that there’s a reason Democrats don’t vote for Republicans, so he need not act like one by floating Republican investment ideas like the New Deal of Deregulation.

But if Obama is in need of some regulations to reasonably review, Democrats can help. For example, let’s review the stifling minimum wage regulation. The minimum wage, unreasonably and unrealistically, remains untethered to the consumer price index. Therefore, it almost never goes up. But market prices sure do. And that’s why the buying power of the average American today pales in comparison to the buying power senior citizens had when they were young. Deregulate the minimum wage by tethering it to the market via the consumer price index. Republicans, whose charms and favor Obama seems too eager to court, will be happy, too: it has the word ‘market’ in it.

On the state of the union: today, the most important need we have as a nation is the need to invest in all our people. Government policies that favor a fractional minority of people, and legal entities called corporations are simply not right. And most everybody knows it.

Put a progressive Democrat in Congress.

Would you like to? Please consider helping Blue America and Nicholas do just that-- here.

Labels: , , ,


At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

Thoughtful, Howie. Hope you don't mind, but I just shared it up on FB. Interested in seeing how the Obamabots react.

At 3:34 AM, Blogger Stephen Kriz said...

I wish their were more candidates like Ruiz. That is where the future lies, not with Reagan wanna-be's like Paul Ryan.

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Bugboy said...

"Republicans, whose charms and favor Obama seems too eager to court, will be happy, too: it has the word ‘market’ in it."

GOP, Inc., isn't that stupid; I seem to remember in times past that whenever any mention of tinkering with the mininum wage comes up, they scream to the high heavens that no matter how small the increase, it will close down small business.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

I'm glad that CNN ran the Bachmann piece.

It WAS news and the LIGHTS need to be continually Turned UP on Bachmann so that she can melt into a botox puddle.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous dogpaddle said...

I sure wish Ruiz would run against Obama in the 2012 Democratic primary. A clear thinker like him is what we need.


Post a Comment

<< Home