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Government FOR the People

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Mark Binder

Enough about Left versus Right and Liberal or Progressive versus Conservative. Mike Stenhouse is a shill for the wealthy, who thinks that his ideas and opinion should be treated as gospel.

I’m not sure if I’m a leftist, a liberal, or a progressive. I know there’s waste in government: just look how much education funding has been funneled into the testing industry and how many dollars enable cars rather than RIPTA.

Stenhouse claims that the left won’t defend failed RI policies, damned right. Because the State government’s policies aren’t “left” policies, they’re just lame.

Our State is run by a pair of appointed “leaders”, who bully our elected legislators, who are funded and buffaloed by corporate lobbyists and are too poorly paid to fight for the interests of citizens. At the same time, Stenhouse and his band of so-called experts spout nonsense, ignore facts and “chuckle” when faced with inconvenient truths.

Let’s lay it out. There is a myth created by followers of Reagan and Rove that cutting taxes will create jobs. It’s bull. We know because we’ve tried it. We’ve seen corporations outsource manufacturing and cut retail price by lowering wages, driving out small businesses, and putting the cost of underpaid employee health care on taxpayers. Then they wonder why nobody’s trained for a “job.”

Here’s what happens when you cut taxes. You also have to cut services and funding for transportation and funding for education. You get a race to the bottom, with municipalities and states trying to “attract” businesses that pit government against government and move on when the next best deal comes. (Hello New London.)

Our government stinks at “job creation.” (Hello 38 Studios.) In the old days, when a politician was running for election, he (not she) created jobs to get votes. This is effective politically, but produces bloat and inefficiency. The job of government is to protect the people and to organize projects that benefit the people.

Now, though, billionaires and multinational corporations fund non-profits and hire consultants to sway the rhetoric. Remember how staunchly George W. Bush denied climate change? (Hello, Matunuck.)

But enough about “them.” Let’s talk about what we, the people, really want.

We want more money for public education so that we can hire more teachers, because the single most important factor in improving learning is the ratio of students to teachers. At the same time, we want to create a testing policy that helps teachers assess students, not one that puts fear in the heart of educators and learners.

We want more money for public and alternative transportations. Europe and Japan had high taxes on petrol for years while we laughed and drove. Now they’ve got rail systems and lead in energy efficiency. We’ve made little progress since the so-called “energy crisis” of the 1970s.

We want corporations to pay to keep our environment clean, not sweep regulation aside to make it easier for them to pollute.

We want universal healthcare, not a bloated compromise designed to keep insurance corporations and non-profit boards fat and healthy.

We want our government to raise taxes so we can stop the borrowing that funnels citizens’ money to investors who manipulate bond ratings to get the best deals.

Don’t cut taxes on the arts and pretend that everybody’s going to run out and buy a painting. This is a benefit for the wealthy. And then, because the arts aren’t generating revenue, don’t push for a so-called bond issue that’s going to be run by the renamed EDC. If government believes that arts generate revenue, increase funding for the arts!

Don’t even consider the pathetic pleas from real estate interests (hello Superman building) to borrow money to bail them out. And face the truth that rebuilding in a flood zone is building on sand.

We want the wealthy to pay more, exactly because their fair share isn’t the same as the poor’s fair share.

And we want the opposition to stop ignoring facts, figures and realities.

My company published Tom Sgouros’s most recent book, “Checking the Banks” because it explains in simple terms how banks and investments firms scam governments. One of the tactics of Stenhouse and his lot is to ignore the facts and restate dogma.

When Tom debated Stenhouse’s out-of-state expert, he realized that the man knew nothing of the actual history, facts and policies of Rhode Island. Tom didn’t say that those failures were good things.

"Checking the Banks" suggests that rather than borrowing, our taxpayers would do better if Rhode Island created its own internal bank. But the chuckleheads laughed, and then swiped some of the copies of the book that Tom had for sale.

That’s exactly the challenge that honorable human beings face. Wealthy people aren’t satisfied with what they have. They want to us begging for scraps. They blame us for laziness and waste and then steal even more from those of us who are trying to make a living.

Mark Binder is the owner of Light Publications and Storyamonth.com. His latest book is "Cinderella Spinderella", an updated and multicultural illustrated version of the classic. He is not running for office in this cycle. He can be reached by email [email protected].



Related Slideshow: New England Communities With the Most Political Clout 2013

The Sunlight Foundation, in conjunction with Azavea, released data maps this week showing political contribution dollars to federal elections dating back to 1990 -- by county.

GoLocal takes a look at the counties in New England that had the highest per-capita contributions in the 2012 election cycle -- and talked with experts about what that meant for those areas in New Engand, as well as the candidates.  

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25. Merrimack County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.86

Total contributions: $1,447,713

Merrimack County is named after the Merrimack River and is home to the states capital, Concord. Merrimack County has a total area of 956 square miles and a population of 146,761.

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24. Cheshire County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.88

Total contributions: $759,209

Cheshire is one of the five original counties in New Hampshire and was founded in 1771. The highest point in Cheshire County is located at the top of Mount Monadnock, which was made famous by the poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

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23. Rockingham County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $9.96

Total contributions: $2,965,530

Rockingham has 37 communities and has a population of 297,820. Rockingham County also was home to the famous poet, Robert Frost

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22. Belknap County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.02

Total contributions: $604,512

Belknap County is one of the ten counties in New Hampshire and has a population of 60,327. It is located in the center of New Hampshire and the largest city is Laconia.

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21. Hampshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.41

Total contributions: $1,664,077

Hampshire County has a total area of 545 square miles and is located in the middle of Massachusetts. Hampshire County is also the only county to be surrounded in all directions by other Massachusetts counties.


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20. Barnstable County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $10.90

Total contributions: $2,348,541

Barnstable County was founded in 1685 and has three national protected areas. Cape Cod National Seashore is the most famous protected area within Barnstable County and brings in a high amount of tourists every year.

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19. Berkshire County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $12.49

Total contributions: $1,624,400

Berkshire County is located on the western side of Massachusetts and borders three different neighboring states. Originally the Mahican Native American Tribe inhabited Berkshire County up until the English settlers arrived and bought the land in 1724. 

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18. Essex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.22

Total contributions: $9,991,201

Essex is located in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and contains towns such as Salem, Lynn, and Andover. Essex was founded in 1643 and because of Essex historical background, the whole county has been designated as the Essex National Heritage Area.


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17. Chittendon County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $13.86

Total contributions: $2,196,107

Chittenden has a population of 158,504, making it Vermont’s most populated county. Chittenden’s largest city is Burlington, which has about one third of Vermont’s total population.

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16. Lamoille County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $14.82

Total contributions: $369,854

Lamoille County was founded in 1835 and has a population of 24,958. The county has 464 square miles, of which 461 of them are land.

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15. Addison County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $15.49

Total contributions: $569,299

Located on the west side of Vermont, Addison County has a total area of 808 square miles. Addison's largest town is Middlebury, where the Community College of Vermont and Middlebury College are located.

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14. Newport County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $16.02

Total contributions: $1,214,26

Newport County is one of the five Rhode Island Counties and was founded in 1703. Just like Connecticut, none of Rhode Island counties have an any governmental functions.

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13. Cumberland County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $18.33

Total contributions: $5,205,507

Cumberland County has a population of 283,921 and is Maine’s most populated county. The county was named after the William, Duke of Cumberland, a son of King George II.

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12. Windsor County, VT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.57

Total contributions: $1,156,149

Windsor County is the largest county in Vermont and consists of 971 square miles of land and 5 square miles of water.

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11. Bristol County, RI

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $20.91

Total contributions: $1,027,472

Bristol County has a population of 49,144 and is the third smallest county in the United States. Bristol County was originally apart of Massachusetts, but was transferred to Rhode Island in 1746.

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10. Grafton County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012 :$20.95

Total contributions: $1,868,739

With a population of 89,181, Grafton County is the second largest county in New Hampshire. Home of New Hampshire’s only national forest, White Mountain National Forest takes up about half of Grafton’s total area 

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9. Carrol County, NH

Contributions, per capita, 2012: 2012: $22.81

Total contributions: $1,012,10

Created in 1840, Carroll County has a population of 47,567. Carroll County was also named after Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.

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8. LItchfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $22.86

Total contributions: $4,286,143

Although it is Connecticut’s largest county, Litchfield has the lowest population density in all of Connecticut. Since 1960 all Connecticut counties have no county government.

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7. Middlesex County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $32.81

Total contributions: $50,432,154

Middlesex County has a population of 1,503,085 and has been ranked as the most populous county in New England.  The county government was abolished in 1997, but the county boundaries still exists for court jurisdictions and other administrative purposes.

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6. Nantucket County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $33.41

Total contributions: $344,021

Nantucket County consists of a couple of small islands and is a major tourist destination in Massachusetts. Normally Nantucket has a population of 10,298, but during the summer months the population can reach up to 50,000.

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5. Norfolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $35.87

Total contributions: $24,459,854

Named after a county from England, Norfolk County is the wealthiest county in Massachusetts. As of 2011, Norfolk was ranked the 32nd highest income county in the United States. 

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4. Dukes County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $36.32

Total contributions: $618,960

Consisting of Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, Dukes County is one of Massachusetts’ top vacation spots. Originally Dukes County was apart New York, however it was transferred to Massachusetts on October 7, 1691.

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3. Suffolk County, MA

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $40.73

Total contributions: $30,323,537

Suffolk County has a population of 744,426 and contains Massachusetts’s largest city, Boston. Although Suffolk’s county government was abolished in the late 1900’s, it still remains as a geographic area.

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2. Knox County, ME

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $45.89

Total contributions: $1,820,410

Knox County was established on April 1st, 1860 and was named after American Revolutionary War General Henry Knox.  The county has a population of 39,668 and is the home of the Union Fair.

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1. Fairfield County, CT

Contributions, per capita, 2012: $55.65.  

Total contributions: $51,970,701 

In a population of 933,835, Fairfield County is the most densely populated county in Connecticut, and contains four of the state's largest cities -- Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury.


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