Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Koch Machine and America’s Broken Democracy (VIDEO)

US President Donald Trump’s ravings against the 2015 Paris climate agreement are partly a product of his ignorance and narcissism. Yet they represent something more. They are a reflection of the deep corruption of the US political system, which, according to one recent assessment, is no longer a “full democracy.” American politics has become a game of powerful corporate interests: tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for mega-polluters, and war and global warming for the rest of the world.

Moreover, “Trump’s policies embody mean-spirited priorities that are widely backed by the Republican Party in the US Congress: slash taxes for the rich at the expense of programs to help the poor and working class; increase military spending at the expense of diplomacy; and allow for the destruction of the environment in the name of deregulation.

The rest of the world urgently needs to understand America for what it has now become. Behind the formal structures of a once-functioning democracy is a political system run by corporate interests with the cynical aims of cutting taxes on the rich, selling weapons, and polluting with impunity. In Trump, they have found a shameless frontman and TV personality who will do their bidding,” -- Columbia University’s Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley places the crux of the problem on the Koch Brothers:

A number of billionaires are flooding our democracy with their money, drowning out the voices of the rest of us. But Charles and David Koch are in a class by themselves. They’re using their fortune – they’re the fifth and sixth richest people in the world – to create their own political machine designed to protect and advance their financial interests.

[They are] the real forces behind Trump's economic agenda--it's certainly not a concern for working class Americans. The Koch brothers have geared up for a major effort to secure huge corporate tax cuts. Their plan includes lobbying and paid advertising campaigns, as well as grassroots mobilization. The goal is to create the appearance that the American people support their massive tax giveaways.

For example, next month Americans for Prosperity, the Koch network's advocacy arm that kickstarted the Tea Party, plans to organize town halls, phone banks, and door-to-door canvassing to put pressure on lawmakers. On Monday they will also kickoff their national media campaign with an event in Washington featuring Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Big business has been dreaming of this moment for years. Trump has proposed cutting corporate tax cuts in half, eliminating the estate tax, and slashing tax rates for the wealthy. This is their chance and they don't want to let it slip.