“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”
“The more things change, the more they stay the same” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Mississippi Republicans’ masterful utilization of the levers of power, i.e. being able to have U.S. Senators at their beck and call for Yokohama officials (Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.) reveals the true power structure, ancient and plutocratic in nature, of the state (see Jeff Pender’s story, “Landing Clay County tire plant was no easy task,” from the Clarion Ledger 4-27-13). The Governor of the state even gave the Yokohama representatives gifts “paid by private funds.” (Who were the private sector players who provided funds for the Japan junket and what were their motivations?; what did they get or do they hope to get for their investment, since we know that according to conservatives the only motivation for men is self-interest, this being the driver of the free-market?) On what do they get first dibs? What inside information do they get or fast track to supplier contracts will be coming their way. Is their identity a matter of public record? Funny how small government really means government by the few.
It looks like the supposed small-government crowd (at least those are the rank and file people who elected a Republican-dominated Mississippi state house, House of Representatives and Senate, and Republicans to every state-wide office except Attorney General believe they are) is now getting “big government” legislation. RepubliCons passed legislation which effectively bans abortion despite recent overwhelming defeat of a personhood initiative which would have effectively banned abortion. How’s that for the will of a few controlling “big government” so that government determines that a woman has no right to decide with her doctor what to do with her body? And now a few men have drawn up a plan to give millions of dollars to a Japanese company and presented it, fully developed, to the legislature for rubber-stamping (“The approach we take with confidentiality is tight-lipped, driven by the commitment we have made to the company with regard to confidentiality- remarked Sally of the Mississippi Development Authority of the secrecy involved before a “a closed and confidential briefing,” according to an article, “Tire plant seen as big jobs producer in the Clarion Ledger, 4-25-2013.
There is not one TEA (taxed-enough already) party scheduled to protest this “big-government” plan. And the Teabagger’s were the crowd that protested so loudly about not knowing what was in the Affordable Care Act. The levers of power in Mississippi are still controlled by a few Oligarchs or Plutocrats, the same as it ever was and the rank and file Republican is satisfied with merely carrying the Republican name.
Mississippi today bears a striking resemblance to Mississippi before the Civil War, where a few wealthy men dictated the course of government, with none-slaving owning lemmings following because of their possible slave-owning potential, 19th century trickle-down economics which also sustained the class structure. The average Mississippi Republican, like the Mississippi Democrats before the Civil War (blacks didn’t get the right to vote until after the war and the Redemption essentially eviscerated the black franchise in the south until the 1960’s), isn’t against big government if the “right” people are in positions of authority perpetuating the status quo, i.e. slow economic growth channeled through a private sector which segregates itself at every opportunity and deplorably under-funds the education system which militates against the development of a truly well-educated (economically and politically)citizenry. The reason you won’t see any TEA party rallies against the Yokohama tire plant “give-away” is because the Heritage clones at the Mississippi Public Policy Center couldn’t generate a whimper from the supposed anti-big-government Mississippi Republicans who are too poor and uneducated (economically and politically) to respond to anything but dog whistles (see my previous post on the dog whistle that kills bugs.)* The Mississippi Public Policy Center can only get a rise out of the racially-responsive population when that population can hear the dog whistle (say ObamaCare or Obama anything in Mississippi and you have blown the whistle)
At the heart of attacks on government, for southerners, and the reason it has a special appeal in the south, is that the attack is an ancient appeal to racial supremacy. It was “Big Government” intervention in the south, interfering with the southern way of life through first trying to maintain the Union and then through Reconstruction, which necessitated the Redemption (In the 1870s, the Southern Democrats exercised power through paramilitary organizations such as the White League and Red Shirts, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, respectively. The Red Shirts were also active in North Carolina. These paramilitary groups turned out Republican (who were affiliated with the north and freedmen rights) officeholders and terrorized and assassinated other freedmen and their allies to suppress voting. –see Wiki entry on Redeemers). To this day, the flag which was adopted after a massive, horrifically violent post-Reconstruction disenfranchisement period (in 1894) remains as the symbol of white supremacy. The Mississippi flag is a symbol of planned, structural exclusion. Those responsible for maintenance of that structural exclusion responded to school integration with a Sovereignty Commission. That structural exclusion, today, has vestiges in schools that were formed as Seg-Academies. That structural exclusion did crack a bit when the University of Mississippi, recognizing the economic impact of not being able to attract many talented black athletes, got rid of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate flag) from its sporting events. The racist superstructure (the underlying power structure) is part of the reason funds can never be found to sufficiently, continuously fund the Adequate Education Fund in Mississippi. The superstructure is a manifestation of the racial-purity philosophy which was the goal and legacy of the Klan in Mississippi. In keeping something pure (communities, schools, etc.) like keeping government small, something most be excluded, something must be kept out. Now this exclusion is in effect a shrinking of opportunity for training and economic mobility, which can be readily accomplished in a segregated (in terms of employment opportunities) private sector, which ideally you, as a small-government advocate, would want to expand while shrinking or “drowning” in a bathtub the government sector (with its more egalitarian proclivities and determination to monitor inclusiveness and insure diversity and access to opportunity). Of course the diminished or constricted educational funding will have some white, expendable, casualties as well but this simply reinforces the classism but using poor whites as a buffer and shock troops in the political battle to maintain the status quo.
Underfunding education (as in purposely siphoning some of its funding off to fund charter schools) gives the true ruling elite two obvious advantages. First the pool of people competing with them intellectually is constricted through access depravation which makes the dog whistle more effective as supposed racial inferiority becomes superficially evident. The distraction of race allows for a concentration, a concentration facilitated through trade agreements which eviscerate the middle class, of resources into fewer hands. These resources are channeled away from un-educated and under-educated whites through trade agreements which ship jobs overseas depleting the tax base and with it funds for education. The un-educated and under-educated whites don’t know that they have the power to affect these decisions and accept their plight as just a matter of markets at work and are vulnerable to appeals to “entitlement reform” as minorities are viewed as the principal recipients of their tax dollars and that they are Taxed Enough Already. Playing up the notion that the wealth of the nation is being greatly dissipated by entitlement programs or by “welfare queens” is a perfect distraction like the Jesse Helms sponsored Harvey Gant commercial, all the while corporations and wealthy individuals stash billions off-shore and companies, sitting on trillions of dollars display the true blue-smoke-and-mirrors essence of trickle-down economics. Secondly, they, elite white men, the upper-class, firmly in control of the bulk of the capital, can dole out resources (through campaign support and jobs) in the private sector to re-enforce and animate their political views about school funding, abortion clinics, state-approved prayer, etc. The South’s economic drag on the American economy is the price the country must pay for turning its back on the American South for almost 100 years after the Civil War, and allowing a class of white southerners to resist changes that would have enriched the region far faster by keeping a lot of talent here to bloom and ripen. So when you think Yokohama, think how that could have been an American plant with union labor years ago if certain men had not been so successful in fanning the flames of white-hot white supremacy which enriched the upper echelons, retarded labor development and contributed not only to a brain and talent drain which continues to this day but to the under-development of so many of the minds that remained.
*According to Sam R. Hall of the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Ms., the Milliman study is
“a Dec. 7 report prepared for the Division of Medicaid by Milliman Inc. The report, of course, looks at the costs to the state for expanding Medicaid
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant sent the report to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn on Friday, according to the letter attached to the report.”
The report refers to Mississippians or people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered as if they were insects or bugs who would come out of the woodwork when it refers to a Woodwork affect as follows:
Milliman’s study also includes what he calls the “woodwork effect,” an allusion to people who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered and will “come out of the woodwork” to qualify because of new changes affecting people without insurance.
Milliman predicts the following costs over the seven-year period, regardless of the state’s decision to expand Medicaid:
• 60 percent: $319 million
• 80 percent: $413 million
• 100 percent: $474 million