Today, in what seems like a victory for progressives in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer restored state organ transplant coverage that had been taken away back in October of last year.  There were approximately 100 individuals who needed the life saving surgery who were put on hold when coverage was withdrawn.  During the intervening months two individuals died awaiting a transplant.  Now the remaining patients can rest easy that a lack of money, at the very least, will not be the cause of their death.

While it is wonderful news and I am celebrating it wholeheartedly, I refuse to give the Governor any props for it.  And this short-term victory will cost us all in the long run.  As I have pointed out (and other much more notable people have pointed out like Keith Olbermann) the original crisis was a Republican creation to begin with.   Taking coverage away from these most vulnerable individuals was not necessary to achieve a balanced budget.1

Gov. Brewer will claim that it was and that she intended all along to restore coverage to these individuals as soon as the Federal Government gave her permission to re-write state Medicaid eligibility requirements.   What Gov. Brewer is not saying, at least not openly, is that there was another agenda motivating the entire budget battle in Arizona.  It is the same agenda that is behind the fight over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin and the Federal Budget battle in D.C. today.   That agenda is the dismantling of big government and the social programs that it supports.  You know, those social programs and institutionalized rights2 that conservatives hate.

Make no mistake, this budget battle is simply another move in the Arizona GOP’s long-standing war to remove as many ties to Federal funding as possible.  Once federal funding is removed, then state officials think they can avoid the “carrot and stick” game that all states have to deal with.  Then the state won’t have to worry about trying to meet federal standards and goals.  That is, they THINK they won’t have to until the DOJ starts to sue Arizona.  Which is what the Feds will HAVE to do to bring Arizona back in line. Otherwise, Arizona will become the official Thunderdome of the Southwest.

Call it the Galt Agenda.  It is the systematic dismantling of the services and protections that help middle and lower class Americans maintain and potentially improve their status in our culture.  Conservatives will tell you it is their way of freeing up the omnipotent market so that we can live in a glorious capitalist paradise where nothing stands in the way of making a profit and realizing your wildest dreams of success.  Sadly I, and many other liberals, have been shouting ourselves hoarse in warning.

The real result of the Galt Agenda will be to remove the last barriers preventing the establishment of a corporate oligarchy and the complete subservience of American workers to the military and industrial complex.  I used to think this kind of reasoning was only the paranoid delusion of libertarians.  Now I know better. Now I know the Galt Agenda is actually the dismantling of the American Dream.  Do you?

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1Here’s a brief analogy for what Gov. Brewer and Arizona Republicans have done. I am the CFO of a corporation and the Board is of like mind.  Let’s say the Board engages in years of spending extravagantly, granting contracts for some needed but too many unnecessary projects to friends and family.  Some of the contracts actually outsource normally internally provided services.  Many of these contracts cost too much because the amount paid grows with how much the contractor does and the board refuses to set limits or demand accountability on the contractors.  The Board also eliminates policies and procedures for how to deal with contractors and maintains the bare minimum p&p required by federal law.

Furthermore, the Board does not care to maintain a prudent reserve to handle potential economic downturns for when employees go out on paid leave or unemployment.   The Board also does not invest in the physical plant until systems get to the point of failure.   All of these actions increase the cost of production.  Instead of increasing the cost of products to gain more income, the Board chooses to increase income by reducing operating costs.  So they lower employee pay and benefits.  They want to increase sales so they lower the cost to consumers and allow bonuses for some executives and contractors to incentivize productivity.  Non-executive employee turnover then increases and the quality of employees coming in decreases dramatically which further drives up production costs.

When the larger economy goes into a recession and consumer spending declines dramatically, the company simply cannot handle the unemployment it must pay out and the cost of production.  So I as the CFO, I tell a percentage of the  employees, the ones with the lowest pay, that I will not only lay them off but the company will go bankrupt unless I can lower their pay even further and to do that the Federal Government waive minimum wage requirements for us.  The waiver is given and the lowest paid employees can stay.   Nothing else changes.

2Here I am referring to processes of recourse that Americans have taken for granted that do not have a great body of legal precedence to support them as Constitutional rights.  So they don’t exist necessarily as right des jure, but do exist de facto as a result of their inclusion in how American Institutions and Industries have functioned for decades.  Collective Bargaining rights are the perfect example of this.

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