the state of
, and I will show you a microcosm of George Bush's domestic agenda for
. Under Governor Matt Blunt,
is rapidly implementing laws reminiscent of the Gilded Age, when
corporations ruled and the people were disposable cogs in their
profit-making machines. Virtually each day I pick up the newspaper,
Blunt has advanced this despicable agenda still further. Watching my
former home state (and current neighboring state) become an ally to the
American plutocracy in their bid to sweep away the remains of the
progressive, humanitarian advances of the Twentieth Century leaves me
deeply sickened and saddened.
the plutocratic point of view, businesses and corporations simply cannot
make their owners, executives, or shareholders obscenely wealthy enough
without breaking the backs of the poor and working class. For the affluent
to afford multiple multi-million dollar homes, cars that cost more than many
homes, yachts, trophy wives, and jet-setting lifestyles, the poor must
remain extremely poor. Freeing businesses (and corporations) of pesky
impediments like paying taxes, having to negotiate with labor unions,
and legal accountability for death or injury resulting from their
products or services are essential to ensuring astronomical profits to
fulfill the extravagant "needs" of the rich. Cutting "socialist
government hand-outs" to the poor enables the plutocrats to give
themselves additional tax breaks. In the New Corporatcracy, the elderly,
the working class, victimized consumers, the homeless, minorities, the
disabled, the sick, and the poor will increasingly discover that they
are on their own as Social Darwinists implement "survival of
the fittest (with the fattest wallets) policies through the government.
in high places, including Dad and himself....
2004, Matt Blunt narrowly won the
gubernatorial race by garnering a mere 51% of the popular vote. Did he really
win the election though? Unlike George Bush in the 2000
presidential election, he did not need Katherine Harris to hand him
a false victory. He had himself. Missouri Secretary of State Matt
Blunt retained his office through the election, meaning he certified the results
his own narrow victory in the governor's race. In Bush-like fashion,
Blunt seized the reins of the state of
without an objective measure of how the people had truly voted. Our
wealthy, elite rulers were not taking the chance that the
"herd" would make the "wrong choice".
Blunt's campaign for governor, Bush and Cheney both heavily endorsed
Blunt to ensure that
would be fertile ground for instituting their domestic agenda at the
state level. Roy Blunt, Sr., Matt's father, is the House Majority Whip
in the US Congress. From that position, he wields a great deal of
power and has forged close ties with the Bush administration. While both
Blunts assert that
's status and connections were not factors in Matt's rise to power
, facts and logic belie the depth of their denial. During Matt's 2000
campaign for Missouri Secretary of State (the position which propelled him
into the governor's mansion), he received contributions from numerous
sources from outside of
. State records show that several of the out of state donors
had legislation beneficial to them under review by Congressional
subcommittees on which Roy Blunt sat. Most reasonable-minded individuals
would call that a conflict of interest, but in a government of the rich,
by the rich, and for the rich, it is business as usual.
were some of these individuals and entities with such a burning interest
in the outcome of the Secretary of State race in
, where they did not reside? Executives from Freddie Mac donated
$4,000.00, while two of their lobbyists (who were from
) donated $1,000.00 each. A lobbyist for Phillip Morris donated
$1,000.00. Many contributions came from companies and corporations
operating in industries encumbered with heavy government regulations.
Records also indicate that $65,000.00 of Matt's campaign contributions
came from 84 of
's colleagues in Congress. And Matt Blunt bristles at the
implication that he rode his father's coat-tails into office? If I
did not know better, I would conclude that Bush, Blunt, and major
corporate interests colluded to position Matt to begin imposing their
Social Darwinism at the state level, but in a democracy based on the
"freedom and liberty" we are spreading to Iraq, this would not
that Blunt is comfortably nestled into the cozy confines of the
governor's mansion, he has begun to systematically engage the perverse
social agenda of the Bush administration. In the new "pull oneself
up by one's boot straps" paradigm, laissez faire capitalism and
gross socio-economic inequality are beginning to predominate in
. Blunt's pretexts for creating a haven for avaricious corporations and
dramatically cutting assistance to the poor are to prevent tax
increases and to create jobs in
. In true Social Darwinian form, Blunt has rationalized the enrichment
of the "haves" and the abandonment of the "have nots".
modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral
philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for
--John Kenneth Galbraith
Governor Blunt's first targets were those dependent on Medicaid for
their basic health needs. In Blunt's short tenure,
is preparing to cut 100,000 from the Medicaid rolls. First Steps, a
$27 million program to aid 8,000 children with severe disabilities is
fading into history. As a part of this program, the federal government
matched the state dollar for dollar. The funding paid for sorely needed
therapy and equipment for special needs children. Blunt's Medicaid cuts
will also target children adopted through the state's foster care
program, which will most likely reduce the number of those willing
to adopt children who desperately need parents. Obviously, in a
corporatacracy like the one Blunt is forging in
, the poor, the adopted, and the special needs children (who lack the
good fortune of having been born to affluent parents) do not have the
right to proper medical care.
can fool some of the people some of the time....
justification for the cuts was two-fold. He stated it would enable
him to avoid raising taxes and that it would reduce fraud in the
Medicaid system. Neither assertion holds water.
spending cuts do project the image that Matt Blunt is a fiscal hero for
preventing tax increases. However, leaving that many people uninsured
places a financial burden of another kind on those fortunate enough to
have insurance. Medical costs for the uninsured receiving treatment
without the ability to pay are passed on to the rest of society
through increases in prices by providers and higher health insurance
premiums. The uninsured people who opt not to get treatment because they
are too poor become more infirm, and ultimately become a financial drain
on society. The lesson here for the plutocrats is that besides the
moral imperative for society (and hence upon our government, the manager
of society's public coffers and the makers of society's rules) to care
for the weaker and less fortunate, there is a pragmatic imperative to
offer medical insurance to the poor.
specious argument that the Medicaid cuts will reduce fraud is a
pitifully weak when one examines the facts. In 2004, the state of
registered 243 cases of Medicaid fraud that cost about $1 million.
974,559 Missourians were on Medicaid. At .02%, Missouri Medicaid fraud
hardly rises to the level of a crisis or warrants an overhaul of the
system. Matt Blunt needs to go back to the drawing board if he wishes to
come up with a truly convincing justification for his
worry about human suffering when there are profits to be had?
many of the poor scramble to obtain basic health services, corporations
and businesses are basking in the radiant sunshine of Matt Blunt's
state level corporatacracy. $250 million in tax credits for businesses
create a virtual paradise. In March, Governor Blunt signed a law making
it more difficult for employees to qualify for worker's comp benefits.
Under Blunt, collective bargaining rights for state employees are a
thing of the past. Is this a precursor to similar laws aimed at the
private sector? Handing a gift-wrapped package to the insurance
industry, Blunt allowed several executives from major insurance
companies help him interview the finalists to become head of the
Missouri Department of Insurance, the state department that acts as a
watchdog over the insurance industry. Some of the interviewees were also
Blunt campaign donors. Blunt has made great strides toward a
corporatacracy in his short tenure. Remember the
song "Only the Beginning"?
for the working people, not all entrepreneurs agree with the grossly
immoral actions of our plutocratic leaders like Matt Blunt. According to
Missouri Budget.org, Garland Land of Jefferson City wrote:
We own a small business that
collects sales tax on the merchandise we sell. What most people may not
realize is that by state law we get to keep part of the sales tax we
collect. Our business, like most, is computerized. It just takes a few
minutes each month to complete the form and send the check to the state.
I calculated that the state is paying us over $800 per hour based upon
the amount wee keep and the amount of time it takes us to process the
I question whether it is
morally right to keep the sales tax when others are losing services due
to the state's budget problems.
I have decided that keeping
part of the sales tax is not doing justice for others. We have decided
to send 100 percent of the sales tax we collect to the state. Our
decision will not significantly affect the profit margin of our business
and it will not make much difference for the state budget, but it is the
right thing to do.
I laud Mr. Land for his stance, and hope
that other business owners follow his lead.
other tricks does he have up his sleeve?
Virtually all consumers and voters are
vulnerable to some of Blunts other "social evolutions".
Blunt has paved the way to higher utility costs by easing restrictions
on rate increases. Thanks to the new governor, it is now more difficult
for victims of medical malpractice to receive compensation and justice.
His tort reforms are even more draconian than the ones former
governor Bob Holden vetoed in 2003 and 2004. Mr. Blunt vetoed
legislation that would have made campaign contributions more
transparent. The man who purportedly did not ride to office via
questionable campaign financing wants to limit public scrutiny of sources
of campaign money. How astounding!
In keeping with the tactics of his mentor
, Governor Blunt weaves pleasant fictions to pacify the masses. In May,
he spent two days traversing the state to tout his $158 million increase
in education spending, "proving" he made good on his
campaign promise to improve
schools. The truth is, he was taking credit for something that would
have happened whether he had been governor or not. Over 70% of that $158
million stemmed from increased tax revenue that was already
committed to education funding (i.e. casino taxes). Is Karl Rove on the
Tom Kruckemeyer, an economist with the
non-profit Missouri Budget Project commented:
"All or virtually all of this
money is from tax sources that are dedicated already to K-12 education,
and it is money they had to give them."
shows them how he really feels
Slapping the 650,000 black residents of
in the face, Mr. Blunt decided to allow the Confederate flag to fly at a
Higginsville, MO historical site in June. While one can argue that the
flag has multiple meanings, to most black Americans, and to many
others, it is a symbol of hatred. The designer of the flag was a South
Carolina Congressman who advocated secession from the
and was an ardent supporter of slavery, one of the most evil
institutions in mankind's history. Just as Bush has little regard for
the rights or interests of black Americans (other than social
conservatives like Condoleezza Rice or Clarence Thomas), Governor Blunt
has shown his lack of concern for this segment of the population.
is made to eat, isn't it?
Blunt's governorship in
makes it apparent that Mr. Bush intends to apply the "Trickle Down
Theory" in a new way. Under the rule of the Social Darwinists, only
the "fittest" (and richest) possess the "inalienable
Rights of Life,
, and the pursuit of Happiness". Blunt exemplifies that their power
grab is "trickling down" to the level of state government.
With the current Supreme Court vacancy, the plutocrats will move to
complete their inevitable seizure of control over the third branch of
the federal government. Some have even raised the possibility that
will be overturned, rendering the Judicial Branch virtually
insignificant. Middle and working class Americans are witnessing their
final shield from tyranny disintegrate. However, the plutocratic and
corporate interests are not content simply dominating the federal
government. They are shrewdly seeding state governments with men like
Matt Blunt to exercise their agenda. To satisfy many amongst their
conservative, libertarian constituency, they will need to cede more
rights to the states. With men like Matt Blunt waiting in the wings to
further the plutocratic agenda, they can safely diffuse their power
while still enjoying the delectable fruits of Social Darwinism.
's wealthy are setting out to prove the axiom that you can
have your cake and eat it too. Fortunately, it is not too late for the
working people, poor, and minorities to prevent that from happening, and
I believe we will.
Jason Miller is a 38 year old
free-lance activist writer with a degree in liberal arts. He is a
husband and a father to three boys. His affiliations include
Amnesty International, the ACLU and the Americans United for
Separation of Church and State. He welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org
or comments on his blog at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.