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It's Not the Party—It's the Policies

Real solution to two-party system

My friends and follow progressives,

The door is wide open. Republicans have completely misread the election results.

1. A large majority of Americans want a public option in health coverage, not a repeal of "Obamacare."

2. A majority of Americans do not want an extension of tax cuts for the top 2 percent income group.
We know that trickle-down supply-side economics does not work. Right? Agreed?

Well, President Obama isn't going to fight for these principles.

The time for a progressive revolution is now. I am 73 years old and have never seen the Demos is such a sorry state. Watching the news yesterday and today is making me sick to my stomach.

The mixed messages coming from Obama and Axelrod are pathetic. Many people put their lives on hold to get Obama elected. My wife like thousands of black women rejoiced when he was elected. As a white man I shed tears of joy that one of my two wishes had come true. A black person elected to the presidency. My second wish is to see a women in the White House.

Now reality has set in. The political system in this country is rotten to the core. We have a de facto one-party system I call the Demopublicans a k a Republocrats.

Please read a short article I wrote last week:

A Viable Four-Party System: The Only Hope for Democracy

I have been active in politics since 1948. I can remember as a youngster the Truman victory. Then the Democratic Party was a coalition of labor, minorities and working poor. The Republican Party was mainly composed of Eastern conservatives and Midwest farmers and corporate/business interests.

How times have changed. Progressives and hard-right conservatives are no longer at home in the "Tweedledum, Tweedledee" two-party system we have today. Looking at current political activity is all we need to prove the glaring fact. The 2010 mid term elections further prove this unforunate reality.

The Tea Party movement on the right and the real progressives on the left have little or no voice in the RNC or the DNC. Big corporate money drives both parties and without serious election reforms and the abolishment of the antiquated electoral college there is little hope for democratic expression at the polls.

As a lifelong progressive I have resisted the overtures from my democrat friends to vote for the lesser of two evils. There has always been an alternative to the "republicrats" in the presidential races but never a real viable minor party campaign due to the lack of media exposure and refusal of the "demopublicans" to allow the Progressives (Green party) or the hard right (Libertarians, AIP, Constitution) parties to participate in the national TV debates.

Opening up the process to the Greens and the hard right would have these salvitic results:
1. Expose the electorate to the views of the left and the right
2. Make the "demopublicans" address the real issues that concern about 40 percent of the electorate
3. Raise the voter turnout by about 20 percent
I estimate that at least 20–30 percent of registered voters would vote for a third party. Perhaps 15 percent would go left and 15 percent would go right.

It is extremely important that both the left and the right have viable, healthy parties. It would avoid the false argument that "you are wasting your vote." Or the utterly incomprehensible idea that "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush."

The oil companies, insurance industry, and the banking/Wall Street conglomerates own the political system. They will continue to own it and do as they will until 30 percent of the electorate leaves the "two-party system" and votes for a third party instead of staying home.

Senators Feingold and Sanders: Come home where you belong. The doors to the Green Party are wide open.

The view expressed here are that of the writer and not endorsed by the Green party

Frank Thomas

Modesto, CA

Dec 10 2010 - 3:53pm

Re 'It’s Not the Party—It’s the Policies'

It is all about the policies!

Dr. Pollin has the ability to summarize the complicated economic situation that our nation, and the world, faces. We will know that these economic problems have been resolved, when he wins the Nobel Prize for Economics, instead of the neoliberal economists, who are the current winners. While I am not qualified to judge literary works, I am not surprised that the current prizewinner has been converted to neoliberal economics. Of course, the Nobel Prize is not political?

Pollin's basic point is that you can't go by the previous record of a political party when you vote. You also cannot depend on generalities, such as hope, when you vote for a candidate. He or she may be hoping for policies you do not support. You have to look at who is supporting the candidate, and why they are supporting the candidate. If investment banks or multinational corporations donate money to a candidate, they are defending what they think is their economic interests.

I didn't vote for Obama, because I knew the people advising him were Wall Street people from the Clinton administration, responsible for NAFTA, "free trade" and the deregulation of money markets. I have been a Democrat, longer than many of you have been alive, but when I followed the party line and voted for Clinton, I made a major mistake, which I will never repeat.

Democratic candidates will tell you that Republicans are bad news for the economy and the nation. This is true, but the choice you have between the two parties is that Republicans will launch a frontal attack on wages and benefits that you will feel immediately, and the Democratic Party that will slowly attack wages and benefits from the flanks and rear. Everybody needs to be thinking about some new political parties, because the current "mainstream" parties are committing political and economic suicide.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Oct 12 2010 - 3:37pm

Unions

"...and no action at all having been taken to strengthen workers' rights to organize and join unions."

Let us not forget that Reagan's winning margin was supplied by the liberal educated middle class, voting for Reagan as the only way they saw to control US unions.

Looking for a "why"? Let's notice the US public does not like unions, while the German public does. The problem then is not with unions or the idea of unions. The problem appears to be with the way unions are organized here in the US. Example: the average Social Security payment here is $12,000 a year, and that amount is under daily attack. California's unionized state employees average $36,000 in taxpayer-paid state retirement, and can begin at age 55. Is anyone surprised the average Social Security recipient might resent the California state employees' ability to game the system? Without knowing, I feel sure this isn't the case in Germany, for if it were, the public would resent unions there as well as here.

Without knowing, my assumption would be that US union organization is corrupted with our American faith in personal greed, and adversarial systems. Whatever, it remains that if we had another FDR-like leader who put controls on the behavior of the richest 1 percent, giving us another half century of middle-class growth, that hoped-for president's laws would be overturned, just as FDR's were, and by the same public reaction against the same illicit use of union power.

Liberals must encourage and assist US unions in self-examination and reform, but until they do reform, US unions will repeatedly deliver this nation into the hands of the richest 1 percent.

Richard Waggy

York, PA

Sep 14 2010 - 2:32pm

Money isn't everything

I find that Mr. Pollin has made some good points regarding the fact that a political party is a name and has no meaning without the governance and policy to back it up. However, the piece, in my opinion, falls into the same trap that most issues of inequality do: money.

Using income inequality as the benchmark of inequality is a tangible, and perhaps apropos, method of getting a rough estimate of how a society is doing. Many people will argue that the simple existence of a wide disparity between individuals' incomes will reflect a disparity in social standings. Perhaps there is truth to that, but ultimately the driving question isn't how much better the top is doing but, How bad is the bottom doing?

In a hypothetical world there could be 100 people. One of them has 10 million monetary units, and the other ninety-nine have 1,000 monetary units. Roughly 91 percent of the wealth of that world will be controlled by one individual. It's a staggering amount, and we would imagine that she would become all powerful. She could buy each of those individuals thousands of times over. While her relative wealth allows her to do that, it is unlikely she will be able to truly exert her authority if the other ninety-nine's monetary lot is enough to keep them fed, healthy, happy and at peace with one another. Monetary capital is, in the end, no match for human capital.

This may seem like a tired argument that the wealthy and conservatives use to rationalize away income disparities. You certainly aren't allowed to use this excuse if those at the bottom don't have the means to unite their human capital in order to avoid being abused by those at the top. But simply "spreading the wealth" won't necessarily fix that problem. It may create equal capital income, but that may simply be replaced by unequal human capital. Money can be a huge distraction, and perhaps what we really need to beat back the tide of rising inequality isn't Democrat or Republican, isn't even Keynsian distribution versus Friedman monetarism. Perhaps what we need is an appreciation that money can, and perhaps should, be insignificant.

William McClain

Los Angeles, CA

Sep 13 2010 - 3:21pm