Since the 1980s, big money has exercised greater and greater control of our political system. Politicians from both mainstream political parties spend much of their time fundraising. Unfortunately, too many politicians believe their political survival requires that the special interests of the wealthy and multinational corporations, their largest campaign funders, must be served.
The Trump administration and the current Republican-controlled Congress provide a particularly egregious example of politicians serving these special interests. I believe that the leading members of this current administration, including Congress, are mean, irresponsible and possibly insane.
The proposed health care bills and the "tax cuts for the special interests" legislation exemplify meanness, primarily benefiting the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us, including many struggling simply to survive. A key part of the failed health care deform legislation was a tax break for the wealthy; another crucial part was the denial of health insurance coverage for millions of additional people.
The current tax bills continue the long-term trend of the transfer of huge amounts of money to the wealthy, particularly to large corporations, at the public's expense. Both tax bills greatly reduce the estate tax, a tax that only applies to the wealthy. The Senate version of the proposed legislation would additionally eliminate health insurance for 13 million workers in order to lessen the impact of the tax cuts for the wealthy.
This current Congress has irresponsibly increased funds for military weapons spending while miserly funding health care; education; clean air, water and soil; food and housing programs; and our physical and social infrastructure — that is, things that really are essential for our security.
The proposed tax bills, similar to the George W. Bush tax cuts primarily benefiting the wealthy, would also greatly increase the deficit and national debt. Once tax legislation is enacted, Republicans are likely again to hypocritically express concern about deficits and to call for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other safety net programs.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, President Trump failed to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement. If Congress reimposes sanctions on Iran by mid-December, then the U.S. would be in violation of the agreement. This U.S. violation could lead to a future unnecessary war with Iran. We need to pressure Congress to act rationally and to avoid the potential for another U.S. war of choice.
Regardless of the looming defeat of ISIS by a combination of forces, the U.S. military establishment recently announced that it would be keeping U.S. troops in Syria as long as it thought was necessary. The U.S. military presence is illegal, and its continued presence increases the possibility of another avoidable war, this time with Syria and/or Russia.
The joint U.S. and South Korea war games this week are another provocation of North Korea. These games needlessly increase the tensions and the risk of a nuclear war with North Korea and possibly with Russia and China. It is time to enter into negotiations. The world is dangerous enough without U.S. politicians insanely taking actions that increase the risk of a nuclear conflict.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.