Democratic and Republican Attitudes

 

Perhaps the reason there’s so little  comity in Congress stems from the basic similarity of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee share only a need for re-election. The problem is that we really have a Congressional stew of governmentalists, libertarians, social democrats, tories, whigs, independents and know-nothings — strains we’ve had since the Founding.   We probably need a total re-alignment, if it were not for the fact that we need moderate Democrats to counsel the ultra-left.  And there are no moderate Republicans.  Everyone is  trying to make a two-party process work because we can’t have a six party system.  Because we’d never get a majority. pretend we have two. And everyone,  for the American people which is also equally splintered, emains that Democrats  and Republicans dabble in each other’s territory.  (Where are you Nelson Rockefeller when we need you?  We could sure use a little Clintonesque triangulation, you know?) Everyone is compromised despite his or her dogma. No one is purely anything except scared as hell of a second  Great Depression.

There may be value in looking at the seemingly simple to understand or remind ourselves what the two national parties represent.  Ostensibly the GOP represents the forces of free market capitalism, though the Republicans frequently compromise “free market.”  They have no problem profiting from huge government contracts, especially military — nor do Democrats.  Neither camp has a problem with stable, conservative investment havens  in public utilities.  There have been few better uses of public capital than turnpikes and the inter-state highway system.  It was a win-win for everyone except the small towns that died.   Most likely an infrastructure bill will be the next bogeyman for partisan bashing.

In capitalism jobs and workers are  instrumentalities.  Good, solid productive  jobs take time.  This is a real burden for Republican candidates. Jobs develop after land, capital, product/service and market are “firmed up.”  Certainly, Republicans are human beings with families to support; it’s just that slow development doesn’t sell well to voters.  That’s why “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!” sounds odd on Republican lips.  They would more sincerely chant “Profit, Profit, Profit!” because that’s the nature of capitalism.  Jobs will come in time — or not.

Many small enterprises never get to the point of hiring help because profit never materializes; again, a fact.  Enterprises frequently die first.  So, we should never ever forget that net gain and profit must come first in business. Always. It’s a law.   Period.  Being passionate about business makes a business person seem “cold” and “calculating.” Must likely it’s only worry and caution because some entrepreneur has hocked his house. Hence, the Republican Party must thrive in the same culture.  It’s hard to hurry up and build a factory for jobs needed yesterday.  It’s impossible to be honest with the electorate about business realities.  Hard to talk this way in public.

Many Democrats are capitalists, too.  Democrats can make a profit.  So can a Frenchman or a Swede. Democrats are far more inclined to see the economic role of wage and salary earners be they public or private.  Democrats have a weakness for soft jobs, often  grant-based ones that die.  Good teachers are productive, but not in a way that appeals to capitalists. Artists are even more marginal — until they make a bundle on a best seller. Teachers and artists are absolutely essential as are doctors, lawyers, dentists, pharmacists and hardware store owners.  For some capitalists, teachers teach because they cannot “do” anything else.

Salaried folks and wage earners are mere necessities — essentially costs — which fall victim to the economic cycles. Ask any contract engineer.   That’s why on occasion, however not recently, the stock market goes up when unemployment rises.  Up to a point unemployment reduces costs and drives higher profits. In the same way business will employ a machine in preference to a human being. (As latter day Luddite, I am dedicated to never using the self-check out.) Businesses  will also go off shore. It’s a business law.

Perhaps this focus also drives Republican politicians who receive their pay and health insurance from tax revenue.  They play the role assigned, but it must seem a little hypocritical to the more empathetic among them.  In the end, even for them, government is a good employer.  They forget that economics looms far larger than business alone.  The worst of them, the anti-government faction, will never understand that government and education cannot be businesses.  Only a part of education and government can be a business.  It’s a law.  Whatever shall we do?  Admit all this and reason together? Yeah, right.

 

Non-partisanship really should come  easily since the business ethic has triumphed in America — perhaps even in the whole world.  Everyone must be a marketer or die. Global capitalism is alive, just ailing a little.

David Milliken

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