Monday, November 6, 2017

­PARTIES. POLITICS AND PATRONAGE by Budd Schroeder

THE RIGHT SIDE
BY BUDD SCHROEDER
NOVEMBER 8. 2017

      ­PARTIES. POLITICS AND PATRONAGE
          The elections are passed and already the political parties are getting ready for the “big one” next year.  All the state assemblymen and senators plus our congressmen are planning fund raisers (some have already had a ­few) and gearing up to convince the people that they deserve to be reelected.
          Party chairman have started to beat the bushes to find opponents for the incumbents and are looking for funding and issues to use in the campaigns.  Ethics are conveniently overlooked in most contests.  As a former football coach once said: Winning isn't everything.  It’s the ONLY thing.”
          This trend has been evident since politics began.  The only thing that counts is victory.  It would appear that campaigns are strictly for party power.  Principles are not even secondary.  In  most campaigns they are nonexistent.
          Political party power is the big motivator in choosing candidates and issues.  Raising money for campaigns is a big issue for the party bosses, and there are many bosses.
          What is done with the power they have?  It usually comes down to being able to determine patronage and the ability to influence legislation.  Many backdoor deals are done in party parlors where special interests are discussed.
                Patronage is a big part of party politics.  It is the plasma in the bloodstream of the organization’s circulatory system.  Andrew Jackson was the one who defined the “Spoils System.” To the victor, belongs the spoils.
          That means if a party has control over a department or a bureaucracy they have great input regarding who gets a job in that department.  Civil Service jobs usually have standards requiring a test or qualifications, but often times the people in power find ways to “make adjustments” to place one of their favorites.
    Authorities within the governmental structure are a boon to the party.  Often times unqualified people get good paying jobs just because they are related to a powerful person, or have connections that make them useful.
          There is an old saying about politics and people.  “Once they can no longer use you, they don't want to know you.”  Most people familiar with the system agree.
          With patronage playing such a high role in politics, the next issue is “what can we do to keep our people in power, in power”  The two most important events in a politician’s life are election and reelection.
 Once is a great while, we find a candidate who actually want to serve because they believe in doing what is best for their constituents.  Often, they are at odds with the pragmatism of the party leaders and fall out of favor.
 Without their devotion to the chairman, they often times do not get the party’s endorsement.  That calls for the challenge of a primary and the good incumbent has to fight the party bosses to retain his or her seat.  Parties hate that and so do candidates, but that is part of the process.
With the apathy of the electorate, the party has an advantage. The mechanics of the process and the organization of the system makes the balance tilt to their advantage.  It takes a lot of effort and usually a lot of money to beat the party.
Issues can also be significant when there is dissention within the party, as is evident in federal politics, and is being demonstrated by the controversy regarding the tax issue.
From a conservative point of view this should be an easy one to resolve, but it isn't.  Everybody wants a tax break,  especially in states like New York where the citizens are greatly overtaxed.
One of the provisions of the proposed plan is that the local state income and property taxes cannot be deducted as they are now.  It is like taxing a tax and is justifiably being resisted by residents of those states.  That is grossly unfair.  If the government wants fairness in taxing perhaps they should consider ideas that do make sense.
One of which is getting rid of the “marriage penalty.”  Combining the incomes of husband and wife to put them in a higher tax bracket makes no sense and is part of the destruction of the nuclear family.  Why should those who just cohabitate pay less in taxes than those who do the moral thing and get married?  That is a good question to ask a congressman during the next campaign.
    Another aspect to be considered is the one involving the Affordable Health Care.  As it has been progressing, it becomes less affordable for those who have to pay for it.  The liberals have been bragging that because of the act, 20 million people now have health insurance who didn't have it before.
    Of course they have it.  It is free or highly subsidized to them, but those who already have insurance are facing higher premiums and "affordable" becomes really subjective.
    Some are already paying around $6,000 a year and have a $5,000 deductible before the policy starts paying for medical costs. The premiums can be higher for some families who are private payers. How is that "affordable?"
    To take a little bit off the unreasonable burden for a middle class person of family wouldn't it make sense to make the premium a tax deduction?  Perhaps it could at least be done for families making less than $150.000 a year where that kind of expense is a true burden.
    As this column has often said: "We get the government we deserve," and from the lack of citizens voting and interactions with the representatives, it is obvious why we have the problems.
    The politicians will keep doing what they have been doing and corruption runs rampant where those who should be representing are actually ruling.  The people put up with it and that is why they get poor government.
    They don't deserve any better!  Until the working class get an attitude adjustment and vote for principles and better results, it will be business as usual where parties rule and the masses are relegated to serfdom.
    Did you vote?  If not, YOU are the reason for the problems.  You have an opportunity to make amends next year.  It is all up to you.
                                -30-
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