The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is primarily to protect citizens from government overreach and the ten amendments have served Americans well for over 200 years. They are important protections that are relatively universal (except the 2nd) throughout the world, and although most Americans are hard-pressed to name them, every American benefits from their existence. During Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s term as president, he proposed a 2nd Bill of Rights that never came to fruition even though they dealt with the security and well-being of every American. Conservatives and corporatists opposed FDR’s second bill of rights because in their warped view, only the wealthy deserved a decent job, housing, medical care, education, Social security and for businesses, freedom from unfair competition and monopolies. Conservatives then and now are working to end Americans’ opportunity to enjoy any of those rights because the money could be better spent on the wealthy and their corporations.
There is another bill of rights that Republicans endorse whole-heartedly and as usual, they protect the wealthiest Americans and corporations and are mirrored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Milton Friedman proposed an economic bill of rights that Republicans are panting to implement to protect corporations at the expense of the people. Friedman’s bill of rights includes; limited government spending, limited emergency budget spending, debt limited to revenue exceeding outlays, taxation of all persons except corporations, limited money supply, inflation allowing government to change contracts, untaxed international trade, unregulated wages and prices, no licensing, and unrestricted free trade. Friedman’s economic bill of rights is promoted by Wall Street’s Club for Growth and the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. The conservatives are frantically working to convince Americans that the job crisis is a deficit crisis and they are blaming federal, state, county and municipal workers instead of the banking industry, Wall Street and wealthy corporations.
Republican governors have jumped on the Friedman bandwagon and have given massive tax breaks to corporations, initiated amendments to prevent increased revenue, cut crucial services, attempted to break unions, and privatize all government institutions like prisons and public schools. The Draconian cuts to services and privatization scams are evident in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida, and without intervention from voters, all government will soon cease to exist as we know it so Republicans can sell it to the highest bidder. Indeed, Friedman said that when government was in economic crisis, legislators should enact strict austerity measures that combine Draconian spending cuts to social services with full-scale privatization of their more lucrative assets. Friedman’s philosophy explains Republicans’ actions since they began the 112th Congress as well as the Heritage Foundation’s budget presented by Paul Ryan. Privatizing Medicare and Social Security begins to make sense when considering the Social Security Trust is sitting on about $2.7 trillion in assets. Even though those assets belong to the American people who paid into it their entire working lives, Republicans want to turn it over to Wall Street to squander in the next market crash, leaving seniors without a secure retirement.
Friedman’s bill of rights also explains the Republican contention that corporations are overtaxed because in his estimation, big business should never be taxed. It is unclear to what degree Republican governors and legislators are aware of Friedman’s bill of rights or economic policy, but it is reasonable to assume they are following it religiously. At the rate Republicans are instituting Friedman’s philosophy to every facet of American life, if left unimpeded, they will soon preside over a poverty-ridden population who have little more than daily sustenance if they are lucky. Republicans have long sought to undo FDR’s accomplishments much like they are doing to President Obama, and the only losers are 98% of the American people.
There is little philosophical difference between the Founders’ bill of rights and Roosevelt’s because both offer protection and security to the people, but Friedman’s economic bill of rights serves big business exclusively. Under Friedman’s plan, American government will eventually be turned over to a few wealthy corporations, and Americans’ tax dollars will bypass the treasury to go straight into corporations’ coffers. Apparently it is not enough that much of big oil and many of the largest corporations pay little to no taxes, Republicans are intent on giving them all of the government’s (people’s) assets.
It is clear now why Republicans are in a hurry to institute Friedman’s plan for America. The American people overwhelmingly do not want their Social Security and Medicare privatized, but they do want corporations and the wealthy to pay higher taxes. It is also clear why Republicans are tying the deficit and spending cuts to the jobs crisis as well as blaming public sector employees for the state of the economy. Republicans claim they are not engaging in class warfare, but there is no doubt they are backing the wealthy against 98% of the populace. The Republican presidential candidates are also in on the attempt to steal Americans’ security and well-being with their calls to eliminate the minimum wage and Social Security because they claim they are unconstitutional. They are not unconstitutional, but they are in stark contrast to Friedman’s bill of rights for big business.
In Friedman’s bill of rights there is absolutely nothing to benefit working people or America’s poor, and by the time Republicans are finished implementing Friedman’s agenda, the entire population will be destitute and at the mercy of corporations. It is unbelievable that Friedman received a Noble Prize because there is nothing humanitarian in any of his literature. In fact, his bill of rights is the opposite of FDR’s second bill of rights in that Friedman removes any chance for Americans to own a home, earn a living wage, afford an education and healthcare, or security in their old age. Friedman died in 2006 but his spirit is alive in the Republican Party who are desperate to implement his economic bill of rights.
It is sad that so many Americans are buying in to Republican lies that public employees and the poor are responsible for the economic downturn when it is Friedman’s policies of deregulation and corporate entitlements that are the culprits. One would think that after eight years of Bush’s Friedman-style policies, and the past 8 months of Draconian spending cuts, Americans would understand that deregulation, spending cuts, and deficit reduction will never create jobs. However, Americans are proving to be stupid beyond belief, and on some level, they deserve what they voted for; but the rest of the population should not suffer abject poverty because of the stupidity of half the population. America is at a tipping point and it is beginning to look bleak unless voters wise up to Republican lies and implementation of Friedman’s policies, because if they do not, the entire country will be living in poverty the way Friedman and Republicans intend.