Sunday, March 13, 2016

Chomsky on Sanders: A "New Deal Democrat" who will focus on domestic problems

Above: A sewer line project funded by the New Deal's Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), ca. 1934-1935. All across America, water mains are breaking and sewage lines are leaking (see, e.g., "Fort Lauderdale's water mains rupturing at record pace," Sun Sentinel, March 4, 2016). Unlike today's policymakers (most of whom are guided by fear, anger, and slavish devotion to the rich), New Deal policymakers understood the importance of clean water and sanitation to the health of millions of citizens. For example, WPA workers installed 16,000 miles of new water lines, FERA & CWA workers installed about 5,000 miles of sewer lines, and the Public Works Administration funded more than 2,400 large waterworks projects (see my blog post here for sources). Photo from a FERA report.

Asked about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy, Dr. Noam Chomsky said: "Judging by the record, she is kind of hawkish - much more militant than the centrist democrats, including Obama." Asked the same question about Bernie Sanders, Chomsky said: "He is doing a lot better than I expected, but he doesn’t have much to say about foreign policy. He is a kind of New Deal Democrat and focuses primarily on domestic issues."

Considering that we have about a quarter-of-a-million water main breaks every year--causing an annual loss of about two trillion gallons of water--and considering that our nation's children are being routinely poisoned by an old & filthy water supply system, wouldn't it be great if we actually had a president who was more concerned about domestic problems than middle-eastern affairs? We don't have to be complete isolationists of course, but isn't spending 8 million dollars per hour for perpetual war a sign of cultural insanity?

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who is offering a significant infrastructure plan, $1 trillion over 5 years. Hillary Clinton's plan is only about a quarter of this (Sanders' plan, by the way, is much more in line with estimated needs presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers). The Republican candidates, of course, don't even talk about infrastructure, let alone have a plan. I literally cannot find anything about infrastructure on the campaign websites of Trump, Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich (but I do see lots of advocacy for guns).

As I've written before, and as Chomsky highlights, if you want a New Deal-style agenda, support Sanders. If you want plutocracy, backbreaking debt, white collar crime, and perpetual war, support Clinton. Or, if Nazism and more guns & ammunition in the hands angry, crazed, and violent people is more your cup of tea, support one of the Republican candidates - they'll deliver. Their campaign websites (and their rhetoric) make their beliefs painfully clear: They feel that every American's "right" to a personal armory, regardless of past behavior, is more important than clean drinking water for children. 

The choices this election season are pretty straightforward.

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