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Est. April 5, 2002
January 17, 2019 - Issue 772

What the Right-Wing's
Smaller Government
Looks Like


"The right-wing's dream is rapidly turning into a national
nightmare.  No services for the people is truly what Trump
sees as his role and he even hinted that that's what
furloughed federal workers should do: tighten their belts
and those of their children and wait out this difficult time. 
He has yet to see a difficult time, since he was born into
wealth  and never has had to tighten his belt."

The generations-old pipe dream of the country's right wing of a smaller government looks like it has come to pass through the mendacity and erratic behavior of Donald Trump: Americans losing their homes, parents deciding how to stay in their homes and feed their children, education coming to a halt in some places, and farmers looking for a magic wand to provide loans for next years food crop, just to name a few.

This has come to pass as a result of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government by a president who has acted more like a toddler than a grown-up human being. If the pundits and Washington observers say that Trump's White House is in chaos, they should go into the hinterlands, where chaos of many descriptions reigns.

Because of the cut-off of federal payroll money for some 800,000 federal workers, there are businesses that are experiencing some financial discomfort. And, that goes for the entire country. The effects of the shutdown, which Trump has promised will last a long time, is being experienced across the board, in rural and urban areas and, wherever there is a concentration of federal workers, the effects are worse.

Trump wants a border wall in the worst way and he apparently will do anything to get his $5.1 billion out of the Congress, even though historians and many others have pointed out that walls tend not to keep people in or out and would be, therefore, worthless. It would be a benefit, though, to Trump's favored contractors, whose wealth would be greatly enhanced by the president's largesse. Building a wall that stretches for a couple thousand miles would be much more costly than the $5 billion-plus that Trump is demanding. Some have estimated between $25 billion and $30 billion.

That kind of money, put into the federal government's education fund, would go a long way toward alleviating the problems in the Los Angeles public schools that the teachers have taken to the streets over. Many of the problems in LA have come from the draining of the public school budget to go into the “public-private” charter schools, many of which are for-profit, not just in LA, but in many cities across the country. Since the charters are privately run and often beholden only to an unelected board answerable to a corporate CEO, they have cut corners to make maximum profit and usually pay the teachers the lowest wage possible and provide few benefits and expect them to work long hours without extra pay or overtime. Consequently, the Los Angeles teachers union has been joined on the picket lines by charter teachers, according to reports in the national press in the past few days.

Pretty much across the board, in all of the departments and agencies of government, there is chaos in maintaining the programs that millions of families depend on for their day-to-day living. There are threats of home foreclosures and reports that families who considered themselves to be in the middle class are going to food pantries or applying for other benefits to keep their families above water.

National parks and monuments, museums, and other sources of recreation and education are closed and, in the case of the parks, there is real danger of damage and destruction that will take a while to fix. Federal workers are on the job without pay and some, like air traffic controllers, are in vital positions that hundreds of thousands of air passengers depend on for a safe flight every day.

But, there are Trump supporters who, despite their being abused by the president and his shut-down, still support him and are vociferous in their praise. Farmers, for instance, generally have been supportive, even though Trump's ridiculous trade wars (remember he said, “trade wars are easy to win”) have largely brought to a halt the sale of soy beans to the Chinese, the biggest customer of one of the biggest farm commodities in the country. There are many other examples. Yet, when Trump appeared at the recent American Farm Bureau Federation convention, one attendee said that Trump has done more for farmers than any other president. Their loans for next year's crops are likely to be held up for some time, since the mechanics of a smaller government don't seem to deliver as well as the government that existed before Trump.

Promises made by candidate Trump have not come to pass and they are not likely to do so. He was going to bring back the coal industry, the steel industry, the fossil fuel industry, and many others, all in opposition to the science that says we are headed for catastrophe in social, economic, and environmental areas. It is from a president that apparently knows nothing about much of anything, yet makes decision about matters of state by “listening to his gut.” That isn't going to do any more, because his “gut” is giving him bad information on an hourly basis. And his “gut” changes by the hour, so that even members of his administration don't know what is happening or what he will do next.

That's chaos, and he has visited it upon the entire nation. Although it may be inadvertent, he has shown the people what a smaller government will do to them. The right-wing's dream is rapidly turning into a national nightmare. No services for the people is truly what Trump sees as his role and he even hinted that that's what furloughed federal workers should do: tighten their belts and those of their children and wait out this difficult time. He has yet to see a difficult time, since he was born into wealth and never has had to tighten his belt.

Strikes across the country are what is possible and, of course, Trump sees no solution to an unruly populace, but violence. He said as much during his presidential campaign and as president, when confronted by mild protesters. He likes to see them manhandled and beaten. Just a bit. The rabid advocates of “smaller government” have not been heard from during this time, because they have no solution, either. Their wish, a smaller government, with its disruption and chaos, may not be what they envisioned, when one of their own stated years ago that he didn't want to kill government, he just wanted to make it small enough to “drown in a bathtub.”

Grover Norquist, an anti-tax gadfly, made that statement years ago, when he was the darling of the talking heads circuits. He and others of his ilk may not be so happy about their place in America's political life, if the people decide to throw him into that metaphorical bathtub, along with the small government that they have sought all their lives. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.




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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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