Janine Wedel and Linda Keenan from the Huffington Post:
We would argue that government, on the federal level, has already been upended by small government ideology, beholden to private interests as never before in our memory. But you can't just blame the Tea Party, which wasn't around when this revolution in governance took hold, or even just mainstream Republicans who were. Both parties share the blame for handing over government work - and by extention [sic], public power - to private companies. The irony is that, for all their talk of fiscal austerity, politicians have created the very opposite of an Obion County-style, lean-and-mean operation: what we have now is a sprawling shadow government - one that is often less efficient, less visible, less accountable, and even potentially dangerous in nature.
It was President Reagan who famously said: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Reagan thought that government should do less, and what it did do would be done better by private business. And so the "Reagan revolution" sanctified what was already an entrenched practice: contracting out government services to reduce the headcount of the federal workforce, giving the appearance of austerity but not the reality.
Those hoping a Democratic president might reverse course were very much disappointed by the Clinton administration, whose stated aim to "Reinvent Government" made clear that small government dogma had been firmly embraced by both parties. The injection of business principles into government was reflected in the language: recipients of state services become "customers" and citizens "shareholders". Contracting accelerated and assumed new incarnations during the Clinton years, and outsourcing exploded during the Bush era. The cost of services alone provided by contractors soared from some $125 billion in 2001 to an estimated $314 billion-plus in 2009. The advent of ever more complex technologies, which the government largely outsources, tipped the balance even further.
Today private companies are increasingly performing not just government work but inherently government functions. Those are the things deemed so sensitive and vital to the public interest that they should be carried out only by federal employees. Oversight of all this (one of those inherent functions) is severely lacking, leading to potential breaches of public and national security. And ironically, outsourcing often costs more, not less - hardly the "reinvention" and "efficiency" that voters were sold on.
Most troubling, the federal government is now perfectly primed for 21st century-style political corruption, and not in the old fashioned sense of blatantly buying influence. This is more insidious, in which a new kind of power broker, what Janine calls the shadow elite, can exploit the ambiguity that is now rife throughout the system, able not just to evade but actually write the rules governing their own conduct. This new breed works bureaucracy to their advantage, preferring to operate by means anathema to official, legal, and procedural objectivity. Meanwhile, taxpayers are only dimly aware that they are paying into a public system that is both bloated and often dictated by personal agendas.
The supreme court ruling that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in elections has set the stage for a full take over of our government. The supreme court was bitterly divided 5-4 with the dissenters saying this ruling would corrupt democracy. The framework is in place and has been engineered over many decades by what Dr. Wedel calls the shadow elite, this was just one of the last interventions. By the time George W. Bush got to the White House most of the framework was in place and he and his staff implemented it. Corporations are now free to and are flooding money to candidates who support their agendas. It does not matter to them how uneducated, ethically challenged or insane the candidate is they just want them to be loyal to their causes to further their profits and control of the population. They have been planning for decades to eliminate the systems put in place to help people get by during economic hardships, due to unforeseen illness, or in their later years. They say they are for free enterprise and our economic system while not factoring in the damage having millions of people who are poor and homeless would do to it.
To take the eyes of the public off the real goals of many of those leading and controlling Republican Party and Tea Party they use some theme designed to cause an emotional reaction and redirect the attention of the public. Sarah Palin has made a very obvious attempt to reintroduce the subject of abortion recently. Other themes are Obamacare, Obama is a Muslim, or Obama is not a U.S. citizen, because if you use magical thinking the truth and facts are not necessary. This is a very old psychological political manipulation.
Religion is not the opiate of the people, the real opiate of the people is lack of education and ignorance about what is really happening in their country including it’s history. Using false information stops real discussion of the real issues. It would be nice to hear about the real issues from the right, instead of some crazy statement like the ones I sometimes hear in Soldotna, “Obama is ruining our country, he‘s a Muslim and they are trying to take over our country.” When I introduce actual issues they don’t have a clue what I am talking about. By focusing on crazy themes and just saying no to everything we try to do to move the country forward they are even stopping constructive discussion about any of the real problems with the Obama administration. Constructive criticism causes growth, false accusations rob of us all of the ability to advance. We are beginning to hear the death rattle of participatory democracy in the United States, resuscitation efforts must be started stat.