George Graham

The Political Battle is Over Money, Not Ideology

I wonder whether anyone really believes that the Republican Party is waging a war on women. Or that the dysfunctional Congress is the result of differing ideologies. Surely nobody is that simple minded.

I am convinced the reason for everything in politics is the American pie and who gets how much of it.

The rest is rhetoric.

I am not sure why Republican legislatures have revived the crusade against Roe vs. Wade or why Republican presidential candidates are pretending to care about “the unborn child.” They don’t much care about children really – born or unborn. What they care most about is money.

I don’t think they really want to see America’s women barefoot and pregnant. They don’t care that much either way. They just talk that way to stir up religious fanatics and dimwitted Puritans, and get their votes in November.

I wonder whether the Roman Catholic Church might be behind the current birth control nonsense. I have long suspected that the Catholic hierarchy opposes birth control because they want as many people as possible tossing their little envelopes in the collection plate on Sunday. The more children Catholics produce the more money the church stands to make . Also, with more members comes more power. And history has demonstrated that those are the two things Mother Church values most – money and power.

Those two things are at the root of the Evangelical movement, too. They don’t want the government trespassing on their turf by protecting the population from poverty. They’re counting on the fact that the poor will be with us always and the rich can be “guilted” into giving the church money for them. How much of the money actually reaches the poor depends on which church gets it.

“Conservative” politicians and religious leaders have found that one of the most effective ways to drum up support is to appeal to women’s maternal instinct by showing graphic images of fetuses and horror movies about abortion. They are not waging a war on women; they are using abortion as a wedge issue to divide women. And by the way, it works with some men, too.

As for the contrasting “ideological” approaches to economics, I can’t see how anyone could believe something as transparently absurd as that.

In economics, either certain policies work or they don’t. The various theories have been around long enough for us to know which ones work and which ones don’t. We even know when and under what circumstances the various policies produce the best results.

But no policies work for all the people all the time. If you slash corporate taxes and reduce the capital gains tax, you will further enrich a lot of people who are already rich. There may even be a little of that “trickle down” effect Republicans keep talking about. As the Bible noted, a dog sometimes gets to eat the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table.

But the majority of the population will not benefit. When the economy sours, as it does from time to time, only government intervention can restore the pH balance. That’s one of the reasons we have a government. Other reasons include the need to protect vulnerable citizens from predators and the nation from attack. To advocate “small government” is an absurd generalization. Sometimes government intrusion is harmful – economic and socially. Sometimes it is absolutely essential to ensure justice and prosperity.

Surely, everyone knows this. But the dispute arises when we try to decide who gets how much of the nation’s wealth. What’s the best investment of a society’s resources? A mighty military force? Enough police protection to keep property owners safe? Help for the poor, the sick and the old? Free health care for all? Incentives to explore for oil, gas and coal? Funds for “green” energy?

Each decision means channeling funds toward one special interest group or another. Someone gets lucky; someone loses out.

That’s what the debate in American politics is all about, who gets what and how much. It’s not about right and wrong.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for