The Billionaires' Vision For America is Very Different From Our Founders'

The billionaire class in America sees the world very differently from our Founding Fathers.

In fact, they're actually working to dismantle the very government that our Founders established.

And the perfect example of this is an on-going fight in Tennessee, led by Republican Governor Bill Haslam.

Haslam's family owns the "Pilot Flying J" chain of truck stops that pepper America's interstates, and he's personally worth around $2 billion, making him America's richest politician.

At the beginning of his second term, Haslam brought on several well-paid consultants to work in the so-called "Office of Customer Focused Government" on a project to outsource 1 out of every 5 state workers, or 20% of the state's public workforce.

The plan was simple, but sweeping: the government would privatize the management and maintenance of every single piece of state property, campuses, parks, office buildings, and even armories, a total of more than 10,000 jobs.

Haslam tried to put this plan into effect without any input from Tennessee's legislature, or its citizens, by using an approach he called "vested outsourcing" that would have allowed favored corporations to help write the request for proposals.

And if it hadn't been for a tipster getting in touch with a leader of Tennessee's public higher-education union, the United Campus Workers, the plan could have gone into effect in July of this year.

According to Melanie Barron and Jeffrey Lichtenstein who first reported this story for "Portside", the plan would mean that billions in revenue could be funneled to a single private company.

Barron and Lichtenstein also report that one of the rumored top contenders for the contract is Jones Lang LaSalle, which is already a state contractor AND a company that Haslam has reportedly invested in, in the past.

Thanks to the United Campus Workers union though, Haslam's plan to quietly gut Tennessee's state government and funnel taxpayer dollars to his billionaire buddies has been put on hold, for now.

Haslam was forced to abandon his plan after workers mobilized for months, collecting signatures, educating voters, and ambushing Haslam at events with demands to "Put the People First."

Dalton Brown described the win to Barron and Lichtenstein, saying: "We forced Republican members of the legislature to side with their constituents."

It's great that Republicans were forced to side with their constituents during that vote, but the fight is far from over.

Now, Haslam is trying to sanitize the plan by insisting that the private contractor will rehire "qualified and productive employees" of the state.

And if that doesn't work, Haslam is more than happy to try to drag out the process until the public loses interest, and then he can sign the contract in February 2017 and put the plan into effect as soon as March 2017, less than 6 months from now.

No matter how unpopular this billionaire governor's proposal is among the people of his state, Haslam will try and try again to outsource his state's public jobs to the private sector, and so will Republican governors around the country.

And their attempts have absolutely nothing to do with saving their states money or balancing a budget.

It has everything to do with the fact that the Republican party has been taken over by Southern racists and far-right libertarians who hate the American form of democratic republican government that our Founding Fathers set up.

Professor Kevin O'Leary recently described on this program how racists and far-right libertarians became the core of the Republican party.

As America's richest politician, Haslam is the perfect example of who actually benefits from right-wing politics.

And his attempt to privatize one-fifth of the state's workforce is the perfect example of how the libertarian worldview is fundamentally different from anything that our Founders envisioned.

While on this show, Professor O'Leary also described the historic context for America as a fundamentally "liberal" country: the rejection of the principles of privilege, hierarchy, inequality, and exclusion.

But when Republican billionaires like Bill Haslam try to gut the government that our Founders established and "run his state like a business," he is vying for privilege, hierarchy, inequality, and exclusion.

So far as Republicans are concerned, if we really have to have a government, it should benefit the rich and "deserving", not average people and working families.

Haslam isn't the only Republican who is trying to secretly sell our government off to corporations and billionaires, this is the end goal of every ALEC-controlled legislature and Republican politician at every level across the country.

It's time to restore faith in our American government, and that means voting anti-American-government Republicans out of office on election day come November.


Sojourner_Lisa's picture
Sojourner_Lisa 7 years 36 weeks ago

Thanks Thom, your blog post is an urgent reminder to vote down ballot and vote progressive. Local races and ballot issues matter! Here in Colorado we have an opportunity to vote for universal healthcare, Amendment 69. Unfortunately everyone's attention seems to be focused on GOP trainwreck, Donald Trump. Big insurance and Koch funded groups have payed for many silly ads telling folks here to vote against Amendment 69, but not even telling us what it is. I know that the pro Amendment 69 group has a real dissadvatage in funding. Their website is pretty good and answers people's concerns in a straight forward manner. Please check it out

ikeberltersen's picture
ikeberltersen 7 years 36 weeks ago

A favorite phrase of Republicans is "let the people speak." Yet time and again what Republican politicians do is not what the majority of voters want. Neither Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin or this governor declared their agenda to bust unions and privatize state services in their campaign platform, but as soon as they were elected they went right ahead and attempted to carry out their agendas. I have to wonder when voters are going to wise up to Republicans.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 36 weeks ago

Anti-American government Republicans get voted in only because citizens are being lied to by right wing conservative media. Reagan's trickle down disaster would never have lasted for decades had it not been for misinformation which went on steroids after the Fairness Doctrine got eliminated, Fox propaganda network being a case in point.

Nothing will change until truth reaches people who vote in the Paul Ryans of our government.

Bernie was getting the truth out and the country started to respond, then silence. The billionaire weapon of mass misinformation is responsible for the billionaire vision taking hold.....a weapon of truth is needed more than ever now. Bernie was that weapon.

Without control of the message the billionaires would still be paying pre Reagan tax rates.

The media is the horse here...Reaganomics is the cart.

DFMM's picture
DFMM 7 years 36 weeks ago

Trump threat of special prosecutor

Trump threatened that if elected, he would use the DoJ to go after Hillary Clinton. It was also mentioned that that threat sounded Nixonian. While Trump made a threat; the GOP-controlled House has actually abused power for political purposes for years going back to Whitewater. The Republicans in Congress need to be called out just as much as Trump.

Dan, San Diego

larm007's picture
larm007 7 years 36 weeks ago

You're right on. With our pathetic '5th Estate' media and their forgotten role to watchdog the government, the majority of voters remain in the dark or ill-informed. It's going to be quite an endeavor to change things. Sad. And disasterous.

larm007's picture
larm007 7 years 36 weeks ago


TomDorr's picture
TomDorr 7 years 36 weeks ago

It is also evident that our Founding Fathers' vision of personal responsibility, a responsible electorate, and not having to address a government that could confiscate money from responsible citizens to subsidize the behaviors of the irresponsible has also been ignored.

I don't think they would approve of self appointed "elites" dictating behavior for the rest of us, or social engineering.

If the "one percent's" vision of America is different than that of our Founding Fathers's, so is the radical Left's and academia's.

It is time for a populist, "get back to basics" vision of our nation and the Constitution.

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