When Ronald Reagan said, "...government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Many people thought it would usher in a new era of fiscal responsibility, but to the contrary, taxes decreased, government spending increased, and the national debt went through the roof. In fact, it took 6 of 8 years of the Clinton administration to turn those deficits into surpluses, and then only by virtue of the fact that the economy boomed in the 90s. But now, with the Bush oligarchy coming to an end, we see what really became of the Reagan's legacy. The GOP has turned our nation into the world's first fully functional 'Corporate Kleptocracy', a government/corporate partnership whose goal is acquire as much of the nation's wealth as possible.
In a traditional kleptocracy, the government directly extends the power and wealth of the ruling class through taxes and the looting of wealth in natural resources. The United States is no longer rich in resources but is rich in the productivity of its workers. Our country is also rich in geo-political influence and military might. And so we find the Bush Administration, at almost every turn, advancing policies that indirectly transfer wealth to the powerful by:
1) Removing regulations on, curtailing oversight of, or blocking corrective action against predatory industries. Example: Enron and the gaming of California's electrical markets with FERC blocking corrective action after the fact.
2) Creating geo-political instability designed to enhance the profits of particular industries. Example: The Iraq War with it's direct and indirect benefits for the defense and petroleum industries.
3) Actively supporting inefficient, but highly profitable, corporate service delivery systems instead of more efficient government systems. Examples: Private insurer health care and mandatory non-governmental retirement financing
4) Supporting predatory laws that amount to non-tax "taxes" that favor corporations over individuals. Examples: Bankruptcy reform, medical savings accounts, privatized social-security
5) Massive politicization of the regulatory (EPA, OSHA), investigative (DoJ, FBI, BATF, Customs), military, and judicial functions of government, thereby ensuring compliance that supports the other four areas.
Sort of makes you feel like Neo in The Matrix, doesn't it? Not a battery...a wealth creation machine for corporations. The proof in the stats. Real income for the majority of Americans has not increased in 7 years while corporate profits have ballooned and are, for certain industries, at historic highs. Productivity continues to climb while wages fall, even during a period of low inflation.
One wonders how long such a system can last since most kleptocracies fail, bloodily, when there is no more wealth to loot. The powerful leave, and poor fight each other for what's left.