Interest Groups rule the USA

Ejike Osuji, as a political scientist, how would you grade the below paper, A, B, C, D, F? I wrote it in one hour flat, between 2 and 3 PM, this afternoon.

INTEREST GROUPS KILL PUBLIC POLICIES THAT SERVE ALL AMERICANS INTERESTS

Ozodi Osuji

    In multi parties’ Western democracies (by Western I mean Britain, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand) political parties exist; political parties have one overriding goal, to win majority seats in Parliament and thus be able to form the government. Political parties are organizations that want to form governments; they campaign during elections to win majority seats in Parliaments so as to be allowed to govern the human polity for a period of time, usually five years.

     To win the people’s votes, political parties present to the electorate a blueprint and platform of what they want to accomplish while in government. Their goals and objectives are shaped by their political ideologies.

    Political ideologies are people’s beliefs on how their polities ought to be governed. Ideologies are not science, just beliefs; beliefs based on folks’ political socialization and political culture, what they internalized as how governing ought to be in their human polity.

     In the West, the accepted political ideologies are Liberalism, Conservatism and socialism. Other political ideologies, such as communism and fascism, are always there but they are on the fringes in Western polities.

    On the political continuum, communism is on the extreme left and fascism is on the extreme right. Most people cluster in the center hence most politicians are centrists or moderates; however, occasionally, a political extremist, such as strange fellow called Donald Trump, comes to power.

     Most Asian countries tend to embrace corporatism; here, the state and business corporations work together for the wellbeing of the country.

    Most African countries are not governed according to political ideologies but according to the desire of politicians to steal from the public treasury.

     Fringe political ideologies tend to rise in times of troubles, such as the rise of Fascism in the USA under Donald Trump.

     Be Trump and his crowd as they are, in the West, the political parties spectrum that compete to capture the government for a period and make public policies are liberals, conservatives and socialists. All three ideologies accept the market economy and freedom for the individual and some sort of limited government, ala John Locke (see his Second Treaty on Government).

     Conservatives tend to have dim view of people; they believe that people are naturally evil and thus need a strong police and judiciary to corral them or else they commit crimes; conservatives want more laissez-faire capitalism.

    Liberals tend to see the environment determining the people’s poverty or lack of it; seeing it as not their fault, they propose to use government to do certain things that include helping the poor.

    Socialists, if they could, would do what the communists want to do, organize society so that the public owns all property and means of production, ala Karl Marx. For now, they believe in a mixed economy, in robust mixing of capitalism and socialism; socialists see government as responsible for doing certain things that serve all people, such as providing education, at all levels, for all citizens and providing health care to all citizens (both programs paid with the people’s tax dollars).

     Communists want to use revolution to grab government, but socialists have accepted the need to use the democratic process to obtain the people’s permission to rule them hence they embrace electoral politics.

    On the wings in the West are interest groups. Those are not organized to capture government and govern the human polity but want to influence those who are doing the governing; interest groups want to influence the rulers of the human polity, to get them to engage in public policies that serve their groups interests.

     Each interest group organizes to represent its industry’s interests and hire political lobbyists to keep an eye on government and make sure that when they propose to enact a public policy that it serves its members well. Lobbyists regularly testify at Congressional committee hearings where public policies are discussed and try to influence those who seem opposed to their interests, and subtly bribe them, may be not outrightly, but by paying for their reelection and stays at luxury resorts!

     What has evolved in the USA is that these interest groups (such as the American Medical Association, Labor’s AFL-CIO, The National Education Association and many others) not only try to influence public policies but kill those policies that serve public welfare.

     For example, everyone knows that public health should be available to all Americans, but the AMA and the    health insurance industry kill any proposed public policy to give health care to all Americans. They prefer the haphazard policy currently existing in the country whereby if you have a job your employer provides you with micky mouse health insurance (and you must co-pay out of pocket for most medical procedures). By making sure that health care is not available to all Americans, medical doctors are able to hold the people hostage.

      If you become sick, they charge you an arm and leg to treat you and if you cannot pay, well, you are out of luck; you ought to die, it is not other people’s business to make sure that you live, is the idea.

      A typical American medical doctor makes three times in income that his Canadian counterpart makes because Canada has socialized medicine hence regulates the cost.

     In the realm of education, the NEA makes sure that only their idea of education prevails. For example, most rational people think that if you want to be a K12 teacher, you ought to first obtain a bachelor’s degree in the field that you want to teach and then do one year of teacher training. Instead, in the USA you find schoolteachers who are not thoroughly trained in any subject. K12 teachers in the USA are the least qualified to teach anywhere in the world. If you tried to correct this educational policy the NEA springs to action and kills your legislative proposal so that the status quo ante continues to prevail and American K12 education continues as the rubbish it is (on the other hand, American universities are some of the best in the world).

     African Americans are essentially not taught; they are considered prison pile, material heading to prison, so why bother teaching them useful information? Some of them supposedly graduate from high school unable to fill out job applications!

     Simply stated, powerful interest groups work to kill public policies that serve the American people; they make sure that all public policies serve their group interests at the expense of the general public’s interests.

      The defense establishment, aka military industrial complex, for example, makes sure that Congress increases the annual budget for the defense department; the budget is now almost a trillion dollars a year. Where does that money go to? It goes to defense contractors who build the equipment that the military are told to desire.

     The contractors then have loads of cash and use some of it to pay for the election and reelection of members of Congress, the President and even to fund their preferred members of the Supreme Court’s confirmation and kill those they see as hostile to their industry.

     The huge military budget does not go to paying ordinary soldiers. Most privates in the US army qualify for food stamps. That is correct, you serve the US military, and you line up with poor women to get food subsidy because your wage cannot give you decent food during the month (I have taught courses at US military bases and the soldiers told me about their plight).

     Interest groups have captured policy making in the USA and are making sure that public policies that serve all Americans are killed off.

     Interest groups, committee members in Congress and the President (and his top bureaucrats) are generally the iron triangle making US public policies.

      Talk about providing all Americans with health care and the academic hacks, paid and promoted by the health care industry,  present obscurantist papers telling us why fifty million Americans should not have health insurance so that Insurance companies and medical doctors are paid well.

     Talk about providing all Americans with publicly paid education and these same mercenary economists produce statistic laden sophistry on how it would make education not competitive and tell us about the benefits of private schools (Is Harvard, a private school, better than UC Berkeley and UCLA, public schools)?

      Nevertheless, we must allow private universities and public universities to co-exist, that way they compete and in competition all does well; let people choose private or public education; if they choose private schools, which they have a right to, then they must pay for it out of their parents’ pockets.

     The same goes for private hospitals; they must exist and if you prefer them then pay for them out of your pocket.

       The USA is a jungle; in the jungle animals compete and the strongest win and the weakest lose and die off. If you have money, you get access to the good life and if you are poor you are left to become homeless, who cares.

     Is this your idea of a good society? It is not my idea of a good society. I know that America can do better than is the present situation.

     However, one is not a naïve political idealist who believe that changing the political system would make all people equal. I am a political realist and know that people have different levels of intelligence and job skills, so all things being constant, there will be winners and losers, but we can help the losers in the race for opportunity to live well.

     Our political recruitment can recruit politicians who serve the public good, not just the good of interest groups.

      At present, all proposals to get the American polity to care for all Americans are dead on arrival at Congress, for Congress is bought and paid for by interest groups.

      Consider that many young people are compelled to borrow money to finance their university education. Some of them graduated owing over $100, 000 to the financial institutions that lent them the money. Is it fair for these young people to begin their career owning so much money? You do not care, right? Have you considered that some of them would be angry and seek ways to take down the political system that is so unjust to them?

    In America, the children of the poor are not provided with health care and are given shoddy education. Then they get to be eighteen years old, and the political system insists that they register so that if there is war, they are conscripted to go serve a nation that did not even bother providing them with health care and quality education. Why should they go fight, kill and get killed for those who ignored their health and educational needs, to kill to protect the properties of the rich?

    The political system blanketly ignores the needs of African Americans; it is like those are not Americans and no one bothers about their welfare. As far as the system cares for them, it is to stick their police on them, to use them for target shooting practice, arrest those not killed and have pompous white judges bundle them to jails and prisons where sociopathic prison guards turn them into their sex slaves.

     Is this how to run a country? Only insane men would do what is done in the USA.

    Many Americans do not see any future in their country and emotionally check out of it; many become drug addicted so as to not think about the unjust polity they live in. Is this a good society, get people to seek refuge in drugs?

    The people know that if they overtly challenge the political system that it would not mind sticking the police on them and get them killed.

     Americans are governed by a political group that rules people through fear and intimidation.

      Shouldn’t we be seeking ways to reduce people’s fears instead of increasing them?

     America is producing many young persons who hate their country, all because the old men pretending to rule the country have allowed monied interest groups to hijack the country thus setting things up for hatred and violent overthrow of the political system.

     Something must give; America cannot continue being a jungle where powerful animals eat weak animals; we cannot allow only the powerful to survive and the weak to suffer and die off.

     America is not my idea of what a Christian nation should be. Jesus Christ taught his followers to care for one another; see the parable of the Good Samaritan where he asked us to care for the medical needs of all people.

     It is a shame that in the richest country in the world there are millions of homeless persons, folks sleeping on the sidewalks of streets (go to Downtown Los Angeles, California and see what I am talking about, the homeless people, black and white, live in such filth that merely walking by them one contracts diseases and becomes sick!).

      The question is: what are we going to do to reduce the power of interest groups so that Congress, state legislatures and city councils can debate public policies and pass into law those that serve all Americans interests.

      The January 6, 2020, storming of Congress by Fascists is just the beginning of what is in store for the USA if its lawmakers do not begin serving the people’s interests instead of only serving corporate interests. The fascists tried taking over the government by preventing Congress from certifying Joseph Biden as the President elect.

    Talking about the storm troopers that stormed Congress on January 6, 2020, those were socialized to no longer know what serves their interests; they believed that the first gangster US President, Donald Trump, the most self-centered narcissist who does not give a damn about other people’s interests, would serve their interests! These people do not know who serves their interests.

    Joseph Biden is an establishmentarian President and is mostly only interested in maintaining the status quo, the political system and is not much better than Donald Trump.

      The polity ought to elect social interest-oriented men and women to govern the country, not the cynical bumblebee and bumbledom that the two establishmentarian political parties offer them.

     How about having a Scandinavian type of social democratic party who cares for the people govern the country for a change?

     What we have in the USA is refusal to engage in meaningful public discourse and policy making but instead to muddle through and like the ostrich put our heads in the sand and not attempt to solve any problem. Those problems are festering and will someday explode in mass violence.

     Eventually, the communists will also storm Congress to get the do-nothing congresspeople to pass public policies that serve the interests of all Americans not just a few well-placed folks.

      If nothing is done to correct the capture of the US government by powerful interest groups, I believe that there will be a bloody revolution, akin to the 1789 French Revolution, to correct this dreadful situation. The heads of the rich and powerful will be guillotined.

     The expected bloody revolution can be prevented if the leaders of the country recover their minds and courage and use them to serve all Americans interests, not just the interests of the few and powerful rich Americans who have now captured public policy making in the USA and use them to serve their interests at the expense of the poor.

     I am not an enthusiast for bloody revolutions. In his observation on the recent revolution in France, Edmund Burk tells us that when you use violence to overthrow an established regime that it takes long to reestablish political order. France did not really regain order until the 1958 constitution.

     Russia had a revolution in 1917 to overthrow the Tzar’s brutalities but today Vladimir Putin is continuing that brutalization of Russians, nothing has really changed in Russia, just personnel, not governing.

     We need to figure out ways to gradually reform governments that are not working out well for the people.

Ozodi Osuji, PhD (University of California)

March 20, 2022

(907) 310-8176

ozodiosuji@gmail.com

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