Stuart Bramhall on the US war-based economy and the collapse of genuine democracy.
It only became clear once I left the US the immense sacrifices Americans make for their cheap gasoline and consumer goods. The most obvious is a range of domestic programs that other developed countries take for granted. These include publicly financed universal health care and a range of education, jobs and social programs enacted under Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, which have long since vanished. With the current War on Terror on eight fronts, even state and local tax funding sources are being diverted to military spending. In state after state there is no money to repair badly decrepit roads and bridges or provide adequate street lighting and policing. While dozens of clinics, libraries and homeless shelters shut their doors and teachers, cops and other state and local employees get laid off.
Yet the war machine rolls on and already wealthy banksters get billions more shoveled to them by the government. All this may change when, as seems likely probable, food and consumer goods continue their steady rise in price. After all, rising prices were a major triggering factor for the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.
Unlike the majority of industrialized countries, the US doesn’t employ a “one-man-one-vote” system of representational democracy. The only hope our Constitutional framers had of enacting their pro-business, pro-military agenda was to establish two branches of government (the Senate and Presidency) that wouldn’t be chosen by direct popular vote, in order to block populist legislation enacted by the democratically elected House of Representatives
After 8½ years experience with New Zealand’s, parliamentary democracy, I have absolutely no doubt that it’s far more democratic than the US system
While I’m not sure how the Senate isn’t elected by popular vote, the president is not. The bizarre U.S. Electoral College seems designed to allow elites to overrule the public if so desired. Parliamentary governments are indeed vastly more democractic and allow for genuine opposition parties to thrive and flourish, something our founding fathers didn’t seem real interested in.