In April 2010, RNC Chairman Michael Steele told a group of 200 students at DePaul University that African-Americans “don’t have a reason” to vote for Republican candidates.
Steele said that for decades the GOP pursued a “Southern Strategy” that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South.
“Small government” is the new “Southern Strategy.”
The GOP uses the argument of “small government” to oppose affirmative action. Republicans use the same talking point to fight against programs for ending the economic crisis as well as health care reform.
Since all of these programs benefit working people, no worker has a good reason to vote for Republican candidates.
Affirmative action is a case in point. Even though it benefits all workers, the GOP stands opposed. As is well known, affirmative action programs are designed to eliminate racial and gender discrimination and promote racial diversity.
Republicans however, show little interest in racial diversity, mainly because large corporations, major GOP supporters, collect hundreds of billions of dollars in wage differentials from minorities and women. (When the lower pay for women is added, the differential is more than a $1 trillion). Minority workers and women make 70% less than their white male counterparts. Affirmative action would help end this wage disparity.
Therefore by opposing affirmative action, the GOP wants to get “big government” out of the way of big business’s ability to turn a profit.
There is another side to the debate. Not only are minority workers cheated, but white workers also lose out because of threats of replacement by cheaper labor.
Similarly, by arguing against “big government’s” people-helping programs like the economic stimulus and health care, the GOP are actually pursuing policies that are harmful to the majority of white voters.
For example, according to StateHealthFacts.org, in 2009, 61 million Americans (20%) lived in poverty.
There are twice as many poor whites (26 million) as poor blacks (13 million) and 9 million more poor whites as poor Latinos (17 million).
Furthermore, while 4.5 million Black children and 5.6 million Latino children live in poverty, so do 4.8 million white children.
By refusing to allow a second stimulus, the GOP condemned millions of workers, white and non-white to a continued life of poverty.
The first stimulus was insufficient because only one-third of its funds were used to create new jobs. An additional third was used to save the jobs of local and state government workers, and the remaining third provided unemployment compensation.
A second stimulus would have helped create millions of new trade union jobs.
Now, waiting for the private sector to provide jobs will result in greater unemployment for indefinite amounts of time. New job creation is not taking place despite the more than $1 1/2 trillion in the U.S. corporate coffer – nor will it until demand is greater. Over 70 percent of the U.S. economy is consumer driven. Less government hasn’t produced economic growth.
So too with the small government argument for health care “reform” which is to protect pharmaceutical companies and allow premium increases.
If the GOP manages to rescind the Obama health care legislation the result once again will be 50 million uninsured and 100 million without major coverage.
Single payer Medicare for all – a big government program – would cover every single American and save the nation hundreds of billions in revenue each year.
Single payer savings would be used to reduce the deficit; fighting for it, means also fighting attacks on the current law.
Finally, the Pentagon gets 58% of yearly discretionary spend while housing and health care receives 5%, education 4% and transpiration 2%.
If the GOP truly wanted to cut government spending, it would rail against the profiteering of the military-industrial complex.
At the end of the day it is patently clear that “small government” is an excuse to oppose programs that benefit working people.