Republicans' Hypocritical Criticism Cannot Continue

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If elected Republicans truly believe in small government, then they should follow in the footsteps of their fearless leader, former-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, by resigning and returning to their refuge: the private market.

Republicans can't have it both ways by criticizing the same institutions that they occupy and seek to regain control of: the Congress and the White House.

On the one hand, they deride government and its responsibility to provide people with basic needs, such as access to an education, affordable health care, workforce creation programs, public service employment, unemployment insurance, preschool for low-income kids, affirmative action policies and an array of economic programs aimed at decreasing the inherent disparities and inequalities of a capitalist system.

On the other hand, Republicans continually raise funds from wealthy donors and multinational corporations to be elected and re-elected to office where they enjoy the power to influence domestic and international policies in service of the market and the privileged.

It's hypocritical for Republicans to continually bash the Obama administration and Democrat-controlled Congress over efforts to provide about 47 million uninsured people with access to affordable health care, while the defense budget, tax cuts for the rich and massive corporate subsidies remain off the table when conservatives argue for fiscal responsibility. While Republicans vehemently argue against a public option, they remain silent regarding the costly (and deadly) ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with keeping the Guantanamo prison open.

While elected officials represent public servants, in the case of Republicans, they behave more like private servants. Instead of looking out for the public interest, Republicans continually push for policies that benefit private markets and individuals who seek to benefit financially from a profit-driven economy. In this context, government aid to poor families represents "Big Government" and subsidies to multinational corporations symbolize "Small Government."

When Republicans speak about policies and programs that benefit the public, government remains big, costly and inefficient. Meanwhile, when they argue for policies and subsidies in favor of the private market and those who reap the financial benefits, government is small, fiscally responsible and efficient.

In a time when the government needs to intervene to alleviate the public's social, economic and psychological despairs due to the lingering impacts of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Republicans need to stop their obstructionism. The only viable plan for Republicans at this point consists of stepping down from elected office, whereby sparing the public of their childish and selfish behavior.

This also goes for the Blue Dog Democrats and free market individuals in important White House positions who subscribe to the same conservative ideology that led to the current recession and illegitimate wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In short, we need more progressive government intervention and regulation at all levels of society, not less. To start this process, we need for those who remain part of the problem to step down and make room for those who serve the public interest.

Alvaro Huerta is a UC Berkeley graduate student. Reply to [email protected]

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