When big money rules
By Nancy Churchill
“Gov. Rauner’s dangerous cuts hurt children and the elderly” says the flyer. “150,000 of our most vulnerable losing home healthcare and childcare.” “50,000 jobs will be lost.” “Taxpayers will pay more.”
Local newspaper headlines aren’t much better. “State cuts could affect some local senior citizens” said The Ogle County Life, Monday, July 13. Talks between the Legislature and the Governor had broken down, it explains, so “July 1 began the fiscal year 2016 … without a budget.”
“Fully funding the Community Care Program [CCP, established in 1979 to allow seniors to stay in their homes] is a fiscally responsible budget plan that will save the state millions … in … Medicaid nursing home costs,” said Lincoln Manor Social Services Coordinator Rebecca Fraley. She urged the Governor to prioritize the needs of at-risk seniors in budget decisions. She should not hold her breath, because, as Rep. Tom Demmer pointed out, next year’s budget will not likely support fully funding the CCP.
Another headline July 6, “Budget battle pinches district” highlights the loss in state revenue for Ogle County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), which “serves as a point of contact to landowners [farmers] wishing to address resource concerns on their property.” One wonders if buyer’s remorse has crept in yet for those who voted for Rauner.
If you’re trying to wrap your head around lawmakers crafting a budget that will kill jobs, increase taxpayer costs, hurt seniors, farmers, and children in struggling families, resist the temptation to think that in their youth they kicked puppies and kittens around for sport. No, they suffer from an affliction of the wealthy and those who pander to them — ignorance of the needs of anyone who is not wealthy. It’s not intentional, but in their case, ignorance is bliss.
Meanwhile, according to Food & Water Watch, our privatization governor is about to legalize a private water company to charge you for someone else’s water bill.
David Korten explains the problem in his book (When Corporations Rule the World, ca. 1995 and 2015, p.20-21.) “about the structure and dynamics of capitalism stripped of its relentlessly promoted PR facade as the global champion of human liberty, democracy and the market economy. In its literal meaning “capitalism” means rule by capital, more specifically rule by the owners of capital for their exclusive private benefit — or simply rule by money…. It is the capitalism that claims to champion democracy and markets even as it destroys them.” He calls it terminal, global-scale system failure.
Unfortunately all too many lawmakers suffer from this “rule by money” affliction, which insists that if you cut taxes on the wealthy, everything else in society will magically fall into place. Conversely, if you continue extending social services to poor people, they get lazy. Utter delusion renders them oblivious to any and all evidence that this is utterly false and shameful propaganda.
If we the people expect to get our lawmakers to govern responsibly, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get to it.