Letter: Threats to the status quo

What should Washington politics be about? Our Declaration of Independence, our mission statement, says politics are to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our politics ought to be a contest among different points of view about how to achieve and preserve those benefits for the most people. In other words, our politics ought to focus on how best to enable people to lead more fulfilling lives, enjoy more liberty and achieve what makes them happy.

What are Washington politics really about? They are about dividing up the spoils. They are about money and power and preserving the status quo.

Our federal government is a huge conveyor belt of money taken from the people through taxes and then dumped on the interest groups that gain the most sway. Money is dumped on seniors through Social Security and Medicare to keep us from demanding urgently needed fiscal reform. Money is dumped on corn farmers to keep senators from Iowa and Nebraska in office. Money is dumped on windmill and solar-panel companies and arms manufacturers and countless other industries to keep campaign donations coming in. Money is dumped on hordes of public employees to keep their unions sending in the campaign donations to their employers, congressmen and senators. And onerous laws and regulations are imposed to favor established companies (e.g., big banks, insurance companies, cable companies) at the expense of new businesses.

Government ought to evaluate policies strictly through the lens of what will advance life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of the people. Instead, the prevailing standards are about what will preserve my personal power.

This year some “outsiders” are running for president. They are widely criticized for many meritorious reasons. But the backlash against them isn’t just because of their policies or lack of policies, manners or lack of manners, knowledge or lack of knowledge. The severity of the backlash is driven by a fear that, if one of them became president, he might actually interfere with the power structure and the flow of spoils. A scary prospect indeed.

Maurice Emmer