This is What a Conservative Looks Like

Q: How many “Conservatives” does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: How many do you want it to take and what’s it worth to you?

“Americans oppose the Democratic [health care] plan because they know the final product is a colossal legislative mistake.” Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell

The “colossal mistake” this wealthy lawyer and Kentucky senator (and the “proud father of three daughters—god forbid one is gay or gets knocked up) refers to, is spending money on poor people. No money for poor people. Let’s call a spade a spade. And that reminds me, no money for people of color either. And no money for women—especially if it’s needed for reproductive rights use—forget it—your body is our body, little lady. And kids? Please. And no money for queers either. No money for sick people, no money for veterans and no money for schools, roads, bridges and teachers. Why? Because these disempowered types can’t afford corporate lobbyists to influence (buy, grease, shtup) these empty-suited shills for America the Shopping Mall, so they have no use for individuals. In fact, they’re willing to let you die. McConnell and the other “conservatives” are willing to let some of us die because it will cost his sponsors money when our health becomes the primary focus, not the corporate profit margin. Many of these craven, useless lawmakers don’t really care if some of us live or die, so long as it doesn’t cost their principal corporatist constituents (the benefactors, sugar daddies and “johns”) one farthing more than they have to pay, which is typically nothing anyway.

Most fair-minded folks who actually care about the welfare of the American people understand that a single-payer universal health care system is the most equitable, fair and righteous method of health care administration, followed closely by the public option backup. Who or what is the good congressman protecting from the “colossal mistake” of the currently grossly diluted health care reform bill? Insurance companies and their proxies, obviously. The same despicable industry that gouges us for obscenely high monthly premiums to protect our families’ health, and then buck and kick like prize rodeo bulls when actual coverage is needed. They don’t want to pay up. They fight us, withhold from us, and then drop us. They’re in business not to honor our insurance policies. And the craziest part is, this doesn’t strike all of us as wildly insane and unacceptable. We all just trudge along like depressed lemmings after a heavy meal.

So what’s wrong with “conservative” fiscal responsibility? Perhaps nothing, if they weren’t simply lying through their teeth about their prudence. Fiscal restraint’s got nothing to do with the “conservative” ethos in this country. Conservatives spend plenty of money on our several desperate, failing and distractive “wars,” such as the war on crime,” for example, which really means only petty inner city street crime, not the big ticket crimes, the big corporate drug importation crime apparatus, for example, although it costs roughly $60,000 per inmate to keep the $7.2 million people (yes, that’s 7.2 million) in prisons and jails each year in the US (and we spend $210,000 per youth to confine 1600 kids each year in NY’s barbaric prison system, all “conservative” funded). The $14.4 trillion corporate bailout alone could’ve radically changed the world for the better (see what $14.4 trillion could’ve bought instead—link to Mother Jones article) had we not given it back to those that squandered and stole it in the first instance; and income tax policies that all but exempt the richest among us and our most lucrative corporations from paying any taxes at all in many cases, let alone their fair share. As the late Leona Helmsley, deranged convicted billionaire tax cheat, famously quipped, “only the little people pay taxes,” and our ruling class of corporatists wish to keep it just that way, while defunding services to benefit the working taxpayer and providing “tax breaks” to those who need it the least.

Do fiscal conservatives shirk from spending money to fund the “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost the US almost 1 trillion dollars? Putting aside the immense immorality of our imperialism, do any of the more thoughtful and honest among us really think we’re getting any benefit of this war bargain? Why are these actual death panels (unlike the phantom bogeymen of the same name the conservatives invented to scare us back into the warm fold of insurance company hegemony) acceptable for unregulated funding but not health care for all, school breakfasts and lunches and abundant resources for women’s health, for example? Well, the first reason is that their kids, of course, are not shipping off to die in distant places in the name of defeating “terrorism.” Secondly, the war funds enormous corporate profits and distracts the rest of us from the real “terrors” looming at home as our great nation completes its sad, limping transmutation into America, Inc., the Brand. The same Reaganomics that brought us the “supply side” lies of the 80’s, spawned in our greed-is-good culture of addictive consumerism, has been nurtured and repackaged as the vast Ponzi scheme that Wall Street and its aiders and abettors have perpetrated on us for decades now, and still, we go placidly amid the noise, haste and duplicity as the same leading players lead us down the same sleepy garden path to ruin. How’d we get this complacent and apathetic?

Our wealthiest citizens became fabulously rich doing what? What service, beneficial idea, or innovative product did they contribute to our nation or planet that resulted in such enormous profit backlash? Take your time and think. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. The answer? Nothing—they contributed nothing. In fact, they stole from all of us, pillaging and plundering with our robotic blessing, because it occurred under the presumptively watchful gaze of our regulatory agencies, such as they’ve become. They sold “exotic” bundles of intentionally complex sounding paper instruments to each other at contrived and impossibly inflated levels of fantasy profit, and then dumped the worthless post-hallucinatory debris into the polluted economic atmosphere, leaving most of us unable to breathe and paying through our clogged noses for the massive cleanup. Bernie Madoff was just an iconic symbol, the perfect avatar of our times. After decades of stealing everyone’s money in a scam that would’ve been caught if anyone were actually looking, he finally just turned himself in. Yet, America’s entire economic engine is just Madoff writ large. And the same foxes are still guarding the same hen house. What a scam.

Someone recently said that if you held NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg upside down and shook him, you could pay for NYC kids’ vanishing MetroCards just from the loose change that falls out of his pockets. And if the fabulously wealthy Mayor Bloomberg actually volunteered the couple of relative bucks it’d cost him to help these kids, I’d personally campaign for him for a fourth term and publicly sing his praises.

But philanthropy shouldn’t be compelled on Bloomberg alone, and to him and to Senator McConnell, and all my wealthy American brothers and sisters, who would no doubt accuse me of trying to redistribute their hard earned wealth to less fortunate Americans in an evil “socialist” plot, I say this: keep your money—may it grow exponentially again as it did before the deluge came (the deluge caused by your economists and bankers and regulators who were paid not to see the unfairness unfolding and the dangers lurking). May you leave tens of millions of dollars in tax free inheritances to your progeny, and may you expatriate your vast wealth to Zurich and the Caymans, where it should continue to multiply as the fruitful nontaxable income you helped legislate it to be—stay rich and go in peace. Keep your money—just don’t be such a lying sack of sand in the process. Nastiness, rigidity, hatefulness and stinginess are not “conservative” qualities. Surely you can be rich and powerful without being a schmuck. Remember, my powerful Capitalist friends, that Jesus, Himself, was a radical liberal. And both He and we would feel a lot better about you conservatives if you occasionally made some “colossal mistakes” in the service of others, even if the others can’t pay the full freight. Maybe it’ll cost a contributing corporation some business. But it just may be the right thing to do.