After retiring from the Civil Service, where my political activity was restricted, I continued for some years to have only a limited interest in politics. Most of the professionals in that field seemed unimpressive, and some downright lacking in integrity. So I chose to give little attention while they went on doing their thing.
That changed during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. For the first time it became clear to me just how much damage the politicians were doing to people’s lives and welfare. I didn’t use such a sharp term as class warfare, but I saw a growing suppression of the middle class under the policies of Reagan and his Republican successors.
The labor unions were weakened. Sharp limitations were put on governmental benefits – through lids placed on the existing benefits, proposals for privatization, and sharp opposition against new benefits. A combination of technological advances and forced gains in productivity managed to reduce available jobs and to cap the growth of wages beneath the growth of inflation. The previously strong influence of Corporate America in politics has been expanded enormously.
To me, these developments were directly related to our lingering economic problems involving unemployment, declining tax revenues, and growing national debt. The reduced purchasing power of the middle class reduced demand for domestic products and services, from which the other problems were spawned.
Since the 1970s, I have never voted Republican, because I realize that their policies are against my interests as a member of the middle class. Unfortunately, many of my class continued voting Republican because they supported that party’s “cultural warfare” on such issues as abortion, gay rights, tax reform, climate change, and immigration. This was warfare in name only, but it was an effective bait for voters. The groups under Republican attack have consistently gained ground. Middle-class Republican supporters were not only deceived about the warfare, but they have also seen their own economic situation shrink under Republican policies.
Business interests have repeatedly claimed that the solution to our economic problems is to get government out of the way and to minimize labor costs. They say that only capital can create wealth. This gave rise to my first published political utterance, a letter to the editor titled Capital, Labor, and Government Create Wealth. Writings such as this became easier once the feet were first wetted. And so, over the following years, I wrote more letters as more issues came into view. Only those letters that met the test of publication have been featured in this blog.
I believe these political issues are so serious that I cannot simply rest after voting. I feel a further need to apply my skills as best I can, and to date this has been through writing and publication.