As we get ready to vote, two presidential candidates have the highest negatives EVER.
One puts his name on everything from steaks to universities while the spending a dozen-plus years as a reality TV star.
He bragged at one of the largest viewed debates in history that he’s a good businessman for avoiding paying the IRS. Between campaign stops, he cuts ribbons on his branded hotels, recently a new property in Washington, D.C.
The other candidate says she is for the little guy. All the while her a family has amassed $2 billion since leaving office and for what service to humanity? The cash came in for a “charity” that took money from foreign governments and oligarchs in exchange lucrative contracts.
She talks about greed and corruption of Wall Street and big banks and then takes $300,000 last year while at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain for a half hour speech from …Wall Street – big banks.
The Democratic Party, it has been shown via hacked emails, was colluding with major media outlets to rig the primary election away from a populist Democrat socialist that had never before been on the national stage, but in 2016, Bernie Sanders was filling stadiums.
We’ve seen the IRS used as a weapon to target opposing political parties. In a move even Richard Nixon would be proud of the entire investigation was stonewalled, hard drives went missing and the director in charge of the scandal plead the Fifth a dozen times. The Justice Department concluded that there was no wrong-doing and refused to indict the IRS’ Lois Lerner or anyone in the investigation.
The VA was caught falsifying wait lists that led to veterans’ deaths and the one fired administrator is looking to be reinstated.
The need to break up “too big to fail banks” became the battle cry after the 2008 financial crisis. These six banks are now bigger than ever. The piles of rules from Dodd-Franks legislation made smaller community banks uncompetitive and slowed the flow of lending to Main Street America. Former Attorney General Eric Holder is now back at a large law firm that lobbies for big banks.
Former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert goes to jail for taking too much money out of his own bank account. The former high school teacher entered Congress poor and left a multi-millionaire. He was withdrawing under the $10,000 reporting amount to pay hush money for a pedophilia victim who was blackmailing him.
The Clinton Foundation became a global money-laundering and influence-peddling organization without precedent in American history. Donors to Bill Clinton Inc. were encouraged to direct money to the foundation as well as to Bill or Hillary directly. State Department personnel did favors for people who donated money to the foundation. And to make sure that nobody found out what was going on, Clinton ran her own homebrew server operation designed to ensure that Freedom of Information Act requests where clean.
The FBI passes on indicting Hilary Clinton on her misuse of classified information. Eleven days before the election, the FBI reverses its decision and goes directly to Congress with a letter reopening the case. They stumbled on a new treasure trove of emails from the husband of Hillary’s chief of staff.
The national debt has doubled from $10 to $20 trillion in the last eight years. The Federal Reserve, run by appointed bankers, has flooded the world with trillions of dollars in debt in the name of saving capitalism. The central bank continues to keep rates near zero because the economy still hasn’t recovered, even with official unemployment figures at 4.9 percent and inflation ranging from 1.5 to 3 percent for the past eight years. Both were reported target figures for an increase in central bank rates.
New business formations and small business start ups are at an all time low in the US. Labor force participation, all time low. GDP numbers have been revised in the last seven years to include entertainment production and yet our annual growth continues to be the lowest in 60 years.
Obamacare was voted into existence without a single Republican vote and the Republicans are being chastised for not working to fix it. Costs are skyrocketing in Arizona with expected increases from the last two remaining insurers are expected to hit 50-75 percent next year. In promoting Obamacare, Obama repeatedly and shamelessly lied to the American people: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too,” he said on June 6, 2009, in one of dozens of similar remarks. Obama knew this was untrue at the time; it was built into the plan that millions would lose the health plans they had.
The fastest growing area in the U.S. for the top 1 percent of the wealthiest people in Washington D.C. Six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S. surround the nation’s capital.
Major industries like coal, for profit education and payday lending have been decimated or wiped out of existence while solar companies that are backed by taxpayers fail, the public universities continue to raise tuition and states are allowed to tax and sell recreational marijuana and follow immigration rules only if they want.
Internationally, the rise of terrorist extremists in San Bernardino, New York, Paris and through Brussels and Germany. An Arab Spring has turned stable countries that may not have matched our ideals of governance into chaos. New realignments in currency and security has pitted nuclear powers like China and Russia at odds with the rest of the world.
There are 320 million guns in America and we are debating about shutting down gun show loop holes. Chicago has one of the countries toughest gun control laws and the highest murder rate of any major city.
Black lives matter protests lead to more violence and unrest in the cities where protesters rise up — now the police stand by and watch.
Epi-pen had a powerful senator’s daughter as CEO of a product adapted from the military. She used Washington influence to mandate each school in America buy her product, not once but twice per year. She then influenced the FDA to deny any competitive products into the market. Once her market was built and protected by the US Government, she raised her price 400 percent.
For a couple decades, GOP leadership for “renting” themselves out to any entity that could energize the base and help keep their party in power. Evangelicals, Tea Party, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Big Oil, Big Banks, Big Military, Big Pharma each were focus tested and used for money or votes.
With all of the above, what concerns me most the fact that Americans are losing faith in the systems of government. Nothing good will come, if we, as a country, continue on the path we are on.
Joe Higgins is a Tucson businessman and former radio talk show host.