Workers > Back in the Day

Economics of the Cantor Wars



“Justice is the end of Government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been, and ever
will be pursued, until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.” James Madison.

The race between Eric Cantor and Wayne Powell for Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District seat is significant nationally not simply because the country would benefit from the removal of Mr. Cantor from public office, but because Virginia can send a new kind of Democrat to Washington. Mr. Cantor, by his votes and policy leadership has laid waste to America’s greatest asset: its people. Powell, in his commitment to seek truth and to act in their interests, honors them. In this, Powell would restore to the 7th District the wisdom of the Madisonian commitment to justice that Cantor has betrayed by espousing and promoting the greed and arrogance that has smothered the aspirations of our workers, our students and our veterans.

The source of Cantor’s political philosophy, as opposed to Madison’s, is a distorted vision of the public interest that ignores the needs and struggles of the men and women who make America work. At the same time, Cantor’s vision of the American national interest subordinates it to the interests of the oligarchs of international finance and globalization.

For more than two generations a relentless, greed-driven war has been waged on the men and women who built and defended America with their hands, their backs and their ingenuity. The globalized economic environment that diminished the value of their labor, stripping them of the future that should be theirs in a land of boundless plenty, was well in place before Mr. Cantor entered Congress. But from his position of Congressional leadership he voted against the worker adjustment efforts necessitated by the outsourcing of the industries that made America great. Now he and the oligarchs he supports are coming for Americans’ Social Security and health care, arguing that these incidents of American citizenship are unaffordable. Why? Because of the public debt created by the unpaid wars, unpaid medical prescription benefits, and a Bush trillion dollar tax cut— all of which Cantor supported.

Economic war was declared on the youth of America during the first Bush Administration. The public education system of the country was thrown open to privatization. Governmental support to training and apprenticeship, the historic ladders to working maturity for young people, was abandoned. Every pretense to the rehabilitation of young people caught in a “drug war” begun in the Reagan Administration was abandoned in favor of the creation of the largest prison industry known to man. Cantor enlisted in and was trained to preserve and defend this war on America’s youth that, eleven years later, has resulted in a new generation robbed through the unconscionable costs of their education of the opportunity to realize their potential and the capacity to challenge the power that increasingly dictates the terms of their existence.

For the minority young, a third of their number find themselves warehoused in dehumanizing “correctional” enterprises and a corrupt justice system, helpless to change their circumstance. Powell understands the dangers to Americans’ future of this sacrificial exploitation of its young. He will fight left and right those who find profit in its continuation.

Mr. Cantor’s leadership in the war on America’s youth found a more literal application. In the most immoral, cynical and malignant use of the American soldier in history--which took place during the administration of George W. Bush--the life chances of hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families were decimated. For eight years Mr. Cantor, in his votes and growing policy leadership, shielded the American people from horrors experienced by their sons and daughters in the cause of the neoconservative allegiances he openly fosters.

Cantor would deny these veterans their earned right to productive lives as American citizens, condemning them, their families and their communities to the ravages of PTSD, lost limbs, blindness and broken families.

Wayne Powell knows, as only a citizen-soldier knows, that the horrors of occupational wars, fought for dubious means, by dedicated young men and women leaves wounds that only a whole society can heal. He would seek a total American response to their needs and the full restoration of their potential as contributing citizens. Importantly, he would place American interests before those of any others in the future commitment of young American lives to battle. And Madison would applaud him.