My Point of View: This Democrat’s beliefs

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

My Point of View by Joe Pacovsky

I believe President Harry Truman summarized Democrats’ beliefs best: “Democrats work to help people who need help. That other party, they work for people who don’t need help. That’s all there is to it.”

Joe Pacovsky

The belief that transcends all others is that our democracy must be preserved. All other issues depend on us having strong democratic institutions to serve the will of the people.

There is a growing number of Republicans who are standing up with Democrats to protect our democracy. Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Miles Taylor, a veteran of the Trump Department of Homeland Security, wrote “political extremists maintain a vice-like grip on the GOP at the state and national levels. … The only near-term way to battle pro-Trump extremists is for all of us to team up on key races and overarching political goals with our longtime political opponents, the Democrats.” They added: “but democracy is not a game, which is why when push comes to shove, patriotic conservatives should put country over party.”      

Helping people reach their full potential is beneficial to our economy and everybody. At the same time, government spending must be done with an eye toward limiting deficits. There is nothing wrong with corporations and high-income individuals paying their fair share of taxes so that other people can get a modest hand up. This is what grows the middle class and makes our communities strong.

In addition to their own initiative, business titans have succeeded because of the contributions of all taxpayers. For example, taxpayer investments in highways move their products. Taxpayer investments in education train their employees. Even taxpayer investments in the Department of Defense created the internet, eventually transforming our world and creating enormous wealth for our leading tech companies and their investors.        

The opposition states “parents must have choices for their children’s education.” That is conservative code for privatization of schools. Their real goal is getting taxpayer money to support private schools, including for-profit. Siphoning middle class tax dollars to support private schools for upper income students would weaken the public school system that educates children of all income levels. Public schools funded by taxes are a boon for all of us. We have friends who moved from Minnesota to Arkansas for a new job. They had lower taxes, but they decided to pay for private schools. The public schools did not meet the standards they had come to expect living in Minnesota. High quality education is a top priority of our state’s DFL Party.

Democrats support universal health screening of students in K-12 schools, pre-schools and in early infancy. This may be the only chance for the children of lower-income parents to have medical problems caught early. The sooner medical problems are discovered, the better the chance of avoiding lifelong physical problems. The other party wants to control women’s bodies and force them to have children while at the same time denying basic medical services to their children. This is the very definition of hypocrisy.     

Democrats support a strong Social Security system, which has been providing basic retirement support of retirees since FDR’s New Deal. We oppose privatizing Social Security. Retirees should have additional personal retirement income to supplement Social Security, but many workers no longer have access to pension plans, and nearly one-third of households led by adults 55 and older have no retirement savings or private pension. Under a privatization scheme, they would be vulnerable to market downturns and investment adviser manipulation. This Democrat believes the existing Social Security benefits should not be reduced or be put at risk.   

The opposition say they are “free market capitalists.” The natural progression of unbridled free markets are mergers and the loss of competitors. The result is market concentration with the development of monopolies with market pricing power. This Democrat believes in fair markets and competition. That means enforcing and strengthening antitrust laws so that there is true competition. Farmers, what is your negotiating power when purchasing machinery, seed or fertilizer? Or for the price you get when you sell crops or livestock? Farmers are squeezed by some of the most concentrated markets when they buy inputs and sell their products.     

The government should operate for the benefit of the many, not the few. Democrats’ policies push to restore fairness, help people reach their individual potential and protect regular folks. At the same time, they work to thwart industrial and tech barons who put their own profits ahead of the common good.   

Joe Pacovsky of Hayward is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.