The GOP has a long and storied history of pandering to corporate interests especially when it comes to repealing legislation that protects consumers. During the 1980s, Reaganomics became a religion where conservatives preached that unfettered capitalism would result in an economic boon for everyone. As we now know, it was an abject failure because it did not lead in building a stronger economy, but created bigger and more powerful corporations with a reach that has been strangling Washington.
With America’s realization that the conservative agenda was bad economic policy, it would seem that John Galt was finally dead and Ayn Rand’s ideology was his epitaph.
Republicans have lost sight of the fundamental truth that government regulates the industry for the benefit of the public because corporations won’t as there is no profit in doing what is just and moral. This is the nature of a purely capitalist society, to squander resources, exploit workers, and destroy the environment for the sake of higher quarterly earnings, fat CEO bonuses, and more top dividends.
To that list, we can now add “buying political favors.” Legislators are supposed to act in the public interest to protect their constituents, but when wealthy corporations fill their coffers, they are quick to ignore the voters in favor of those who have their best interests at heart.
Guess who foretold that repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and passage of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act would lead to the mortgage meltdown and subsequent recession that the nation suffered through in 2008? I would like to remind you that Bernie Sanders led the fight in 1999, and probably not the Republican-controlled Congress of the era. Regardless of who is at fault, you would think America would have learned a painful lesson, but it is the GOP that wants to continue with these disastrous policies and allow corporations to run amuck.
These types of decisions have a real and lasting impact on living, breathing human beings as the attempted repeal of the ACA has shown us. But now, rapaciously motivated legislation is killing Americans.
Weeks after the deadliest mass shooting on US soil, Republicans refuse to ban bump stocks – a device which allows a semi-automatic weapon to fire faster – nearly at the rate of a machine gun. Fully automatic weapons have been banned for years, so this proposed bill would merely stop the sale of devices that make a firearm perform like a prohibited weapon. The public supports it, law enforcement wants it, so it should be a no-brainer, right?
The legislation has stalled on Capitol Hill thanks to Republican lawmakers – and the corporations with their hands in their pockets.
It is no secret that the National Rifle Association seeks to peddle its influence in Washington, but you may not have heard about the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a group comprised on manufacturers and retailers that emerged during the 2016 election season. Seeking to influence the outcome of the presidential race, money was donated to the NSSF #GunVote campaign from names like Smith & Wesson, Hornady Manufacturing, Sig Sauer, Beretta Holding Group, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, and Taurus among others.
It doesn’t matter that their products are killing Americans, they want to make sure they can continue unimpeded, so they finance campaigns, spread propaganda, and continue to earn handsome profits while throwing crumbs to their Washington patrons as a payoff to ignore the public interest. The gun lobby has turned to the politicians they bought and paid for to kill reasonable legislation regulating the sale of a device, which if it had been passed earlier, would have likely resulted in fewer deaths in Las Vegas. Somebody’s son, daughter, husband, wife, or friend would be alive today if we had legislation to restrict the sale of bump stocks.
And like the repeal of other legislation, these actions have unintended consequences which the GOP conveniently ignores. The next crazed gunman will likely stockpile more weapons fitted with bump stocks and kill more people in a desperate attempt at notoriety.
The conservatives are brewing a perfect storm of more of these killing sprees. By cutting funding to programs like Medicaid, not supporting mandatory medical coverage of mental health disorders, and a failure to regulate the gun industry, we can be assured that Las Vegas won’t be the last time that blood was spilled on American soil.
Understand that the goal of the GOP is not to serve the best interests of the nation, it is to help their own.
I urge you to restore Congress to a group of lawmakers who want what is best for all of us, not those who wish to serve their corporate masters. We have an opportunity to bring our country back from the brink of insanity by voting for Democratic candidates in 2018. My name is Brianna Westbrook, and I am running for the US House of Representatives in Arizona’s District 8.