Our local newspaper is decidedly Republican. Their choice of syndicated columnists and their regular headlines reflect this bias. It is not as if they are trying to hide anything – their editorial page is very clear about their bias. And they are righteously proud of it. The loss of the meritorious values of the once Grand Old Party is reflected again in today’s headlines.
“Defense is good business” declares the top of the front page, with a sub title of “Government spends $100B a year in Missouri.” This is something to be proud of? This follows the Republican ideology of promoting smaller government?
The article proudly begins:
“The federal government contributes more than $100 billion annually to Missouri’s economy.
Missouri is trying to increase the amount of business companies do with the federal government, particularly the Department of Defense.
‘One of the strongest areas of economic importance with regard to job creation and revenue generation has been in the area of Department of Defense related procurements and salaries, which the Show Me State ranks seventh nationally,’ said Greg Steinhoff, director of Missouri’s Department of Economic Development.”
The problem is in the regular inconsistency of the Republicans. They want smaller government, unless there is a buck to be made. If they can siphon off a little of big government for themselves then the government program is to be praised for the economic uplift – but someone has to pay for it. And that someone is you and me.
Missouri expands their prison system every couple of years. Communities have regular lobbyists in Jefferson City to try to get the prison to locate in their town – Corrections Officers are good State jobs with benefits. The local newspaper was the champion of locating a prison in our town a few years ago. Their argument was all about the economic benefit of having good prison jobs (is that an oxymoron?)
The enigma for the Republicans is in the rhetoric about smaller government and promoting government spending as healthy economic development. Profiting from war, from the deaths of our soldiers, is contemptible. Profiting from the incarceration of others is equally abominable.
Examining social development wholly from the context of economic profit seems to me to be a conflict that is ignored by the religious right.