Unbuilding government

Is North Carolina is a poster child for throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Sure looks that way.

“This is a fundamental shift in the way governments have responded to recessions and appears to signal a willingness to ‘unbuild’ state government in a way that has not been done before,” the report said, noting that court systems had cut their hours in more than a dozen states, delaying actions including divorce settlements and criminal trials.

By opting to focus only on cutting costs instead of increasing taxes on the most well-to-do, North Carolina lawmakers are throwing a boatload of babies out, including:

  • Selling public parks, hospitals and roads to private companies
  • Cannibalizing public education to fund for-profit schools
  • Underfunding maintenance on roads and bridges
  • Polluting water resources so energy companies can get short term profits
  • Forcing poor women to stay barefoot and pregnant, while eliminating safety nets that give their children good health care

For those seeking to understand where we are in history, the best metaphor I can think of is Star Wars. We are now in the Empire Strikes Back phase, where the power-hungry Dark Side has been unleashed. If the elections this November result in Republicans controlling the NC House, Senate and Governor's office, our state will be well and truly fucked.


Re-branding Government

The most freightening poll results are the ones that show people are more afriad of "big governemnt" than "big business" http://www.gallup.com/poll/151490/fear-big-government-near-record-level.aspx

In particular that chart, which shows that since the recession (you know caused by big business) fear of big government has gone up while fear of business has gone down.

The question to me is how do we re-brand government. How do we make people realize that government isn't some scary entity that they have no control over, it is simply an aggregation of the things we choose to do together, as a community, as a country. And how can we make people see that we, as a society, can re-prioritize business and government in different ways without ending capitalism.

It's about taking ownership

The first step to re-branding government is to get more people to the polls on voting day. The more people who take part in the process, the more people who feel like they have some (however minute) amount of control.

We also need to continually push for campaign finance reform, and try to make people understand how corporate manipulation of public policy takes away their ability to have their voice heard.