To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Saturday, December 5, 2020

#GivingTuesday                               Observercast

Vote For Yourself, Not For The Fat Cats

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It bears remembering as you head to the polls this year that Republican policies benefit only the richest among us.

After orchestrating a tax cut for the rich, the president’s willful neglect has pushed our COVID-19 death toll to world-leading levels in order to keep the stock market profitable. Now, with one-third of the households unable to pay bills, the 50 richest Americans have more money than the 165 million poorest.

That’s GOP Economics 101.

Last year, The Tulsa World reported there were seven billionaires in Oklahoma and less than 5% of our neighbors are millionaires, according to Phoenix Marketing. If you’re among the 95% of us, you’re voting against your own best interests any time you vote Republican.

And if you vote for that well-documented fascist Donald Trump, you’ll also be voting for someone wanting to evict millions of Americans from health insurance – with no alternative on the table – who wants to terminate the funding that keeps Social Security and Medicare alive and who road-blocked efforts to extend financial relief to those whom his pandemic non-response threatens permanent job loss.

His failureship – including disastrous trade wars – has also sent our budget deficit to record highs for our heirs to deal with. Funny how eliminating the budget deficit is a GOP priority when Democrats are in the White House, but a non-issue when a Republican is the occupant – except that Trump uses this as an excuse to cut safety net programs.

Oklahomans face a specific financial question as its GOP-dominated Legislature has put SQ 814 on our ballot to raid the state’s tobacco settlement money.

Right now, 75% of the Oklahoma payout goes to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and the other 25% is split between the Legislature and the attorney general’s office.

Our Lege wants to switch those percentages, ostensibly to fund the state’s Medicaid program.

This bunch has been wanting to get its hands on the TSET money from the get-go. It can’t be trusted to use the money as designated; it continuously approves shady spending practices with a complicit AG abetting its actions.

Remember the lottery? It was designed to enhance Oklahoma school spending. So, the next thing our Lege did was to cut previous school funding and plug in the lottery money to keep our schools woefully underfunded.

Our Lege can’t be trusted. Vote No on SQ 814.

There is a seemingly non-economic state question to be decided as well. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform petitioned SQ 805 onto the ballot to eliminate “sentence enhancements” for people sentenced to prison with previous non-violent felonies on their records.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute reports that “Oklahoma courts levied sentence enhancements against about 80% of people eligible for them. Those enhancements caused their sentences to be 36% longer – nearly two years – when compared to those who did not receive the enhancements, according to an analysis by the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs.”

I say this is a “seemingly” non-economic issue, but OKPolicy also notes, “the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs estimates that the ballot measure would reduce the prison population by about 8.5% and save the state up to $186 million over the next 10 years” – while not punishing people a second time for a previous crime.

The only people benefiting from draconian, double-jeopardy sentence enhancements are the owners of private prisons.

Vote Yes on SQ 805 for judicial and fiscal responsibility.

In the U.S. Senate race, doddering Sen. Jim Inhofe has been an abettor and supporter of all of Trump’s financial chicanery, a loyal lackey to making the rich ever richer.

Now, we see Inhofe so out of it that he’s running campaign ads against Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. That is strange since Inhofe has been too scared to debate Abby Broyles. If he’s that frightened of a young woman of infinite potential, he probably dodges into offices or closets when he sees the already accomplished Sen. Warren approaching.

Inhofe’s mental capacities show further deterioration when he tries to slur Broyles as a former member of the liberal media. She was a reporter for an Oklahoma City TV station – working her way through law school. As a TV reporter, Broyles’s work led to criminal charges against one state legislator and exposed a hush-money scheme at the Capitol.

I know honest reporting is anathema to the GOP’s pack of liars, but there’s not a liberal TV station or newspaper in this state.

This kind of unreasoning is too dangerous to send back to the Senate. It’s as if someone thought a snowball was evidence that Earth is not warming toward dangerous, human-threatening levels.

Oh, wait … that’s Inhofe, too.

We deserve a senator with good sense, not one whose reasoning powers seem to be fading.

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.