Power hungry politicians undermine the power of politics.

The desire for infinite power has destroyed characters in fiction many times. There is Ahab in Moby Dick, there is Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. You probably remember others in examples from literature that go back centuries from Shakespeare to ancient Greek plays. Megalomania ends badly for most everyone who is drawn into the appetites of a power-hungry person who can’t be satisfied. The endless hunger and reckless pursuit of coveted power ends badly.
When the Nixon era happened there was a concerted effort to undermine Nixon’s power base in press coverage both on television and in newspapers. Press coverage was unrelenting for months. I wondered at the disparagement of Nixon. Some said that Nixon was a power hungry and paranoid person and we Americans were all better off without him. Some said that opening China to trade and political negotiation was important and beneficial to foreign policy. Some liked Nixon’s War on Cancer using federal dollars. Some said that Nixon wasn’t worse than most other politicians that gradually had started using audio tape to record themselves and others. I was just a kid so I couldn’t understand much about it.
Later, as an adult, I noticed the Clarence Thomas controversy. During the Clarence Thomas hearings, I thought Anita Hill believed what she testified. But I wondered if she was overly sensitive and overly imaginative about events that she described. Recently we’ve seen Judge Kavanagh and Donald Trump attacked with invented stories dramatized by emotion. There is a pattern here. At this point, I can’t help but view  Trump controversies as an artifact of the power hungry neoliberal era.  It’s an example of Congress vs. the President.

Neoliberal American politicians and bureaucrats are aspiring to evade the real work of good governance. They have become corrupted by the increased power that the American government embraced and sanctioned after WWII in a response to global trade and political networks in the age of atomic weapons.
In today’s American government we see megalomania. We recognize players in the Military Industrial Complex who have the goal of exercising global military hegemony at huge cost and with terrible consequences. They seem to want military exercises to never end.  Global economic and political negotiations are being backed up with military force.  But this isn’t a solution to political and economic malfeasance. We see abuses of the U.S. monetary system leading to insolvency and inflation. We see monopolies abusing the public.  We see disasters of deregulation in banking, communications, energy and transportation. We hear cheering for the computer information technology disruption of our economy, an economy that is measurably less prosperous. We observe a disastrous deconstruction of American small businesses in buy-outs leading to fewer jobs. There are lies being told about the success of self driving cars and the existence of artificial intelligence. There are absurd stories that suggest that American companies should replace people with expensive robots. There’s 23 trillion dollars of government debt and plans and promises to create more debt. Regulations such as the ACA make running a new business more expensive, forestalling small business formation. Algorithms are keeping people out of work.
There’s a bad moon rising and more trouble’s on the way.
Our neoliberal politics is so aggressive that each side is trying to have the other side arrested. Meanwhile, Congress doesn’t address problems facing most of  us in America. If you look in the American Constitution the power of the executive and Congress are spelled out and so is how we elect them. That’s your power.  You and I elect a president every 4 years, the House of Representatives members are elected every 2 years and Senate members are elected every 6 years. If everyone would agree to do it, we could sweep this disfunctional Congress right out of office by voting them out.

It would only take six years to vote out all the incumbents in Congress and it might gradually lead to better governance. Think how voting would be simpler if we voted out of office all congressional incumbents every election for as long as it takes to get rid of government malfeasance like what we see today.  At least we could stop Congress members from negotiating for their own profit for years on end without caring about 90% of their American constituency.
We need a functional Congress with appropriate powers. Not a disfunctional Congress with bloated powers and aspirations that lead to corruption and mismanagement of our country. If you want to learn about ideological periods in American history, or changes in American politics that affect you buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com.

Deregulation of utilities leads down to darkness.

Deregulation is a huge goal of neoliberals. Freeing corporations from oversight was always a neoliberal goal during the neoliberal ideological period which started after WWII and continues today. Neoliberalism has advanced gradually since then. Richard A. Posner in 1999, wrote about four industries where deregulation happened in “The Effects of Regulation on Competition: the Experience of the United States.” At first, after deregulation, it seemed that business was improved because profits seemed to grow. According to Posner, we have seen the deregulation of 4 industries including banking, transportation, communication, and energy. After deregulation, PG&E made huge payouts to executives and to stock holders and they neglected to maintain the utility itself. And this pattern can be seen in all of the industries affected by deregulation. Privatize gains and push the inevitable costs and consequences of failure onto the public; that’s the goal of these policies.
Not maintaining the PG&E utility is not predicted by neoliberal theory under the “Efficient Market Hypothesis,” which imagines that a CEO would do the opposite–that he or she would protect the company’s resources instead of converting them to capital that is soon spent. By way of contrast, the “Principle Agent Problem” says that CEOs can and do choose to maximize their own financial rewards instead of putting financial resources back into keeping a company healthy.
In PG&E there has been less utility maintenance, or utility improvement. Fires have happened because there has been an absence of landscape maintenance at the power lines. PG&E’s solution hasn’t been the costly one of returning to proper maintenance or improving the landscape and power lines but instead PG&E cut people’s power. California, a technology rich state, the state that once got American innovations before any other state did, has surprised everyone with its many darkened homes and people living without power for days at a time. And California’s electricity costs more than it used to. Californians have paid huge increases in the price of electricity and yet they are living under blackouts. Fires are consuming their homes.
Where did the money go and can Californians get it back? Can they get the utility’s reliability that they once enjoyed in the current policy environment of deregulation? I think that they can’t. They are experiencing a system-wide problem because of deregulation.
Even though PG&E has been fined and has declared bankruptcy, PG&E’s goal isn’t protecting or improving the public resource. Instead, PG&E’s resources have been frittered away. Why should Californians pay even more now? Because the neoliberal plan is to privatize gains and make the public pay for losses. If you don’t like this way of running the country, then you should understand that as long as neoliberalism continues, it will often go exactly this way. The partnership between government and industry is corrupt and empowers the most powerful while giving the costs to the least powerful people who are being robbed. The deregulation of industries that matter a great deal to everyone leaves most Americans in the cold and in the dark.
If you care about these issues, the issues of harm that confront all of us, buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries, for sale now at Amazon.com.