©1999 Bill Yund
Patrick J. Buchanan has been described as a
right-wing populist. But is he really so populist? The Republican
political columnist stands out as the only candidate of either
major party who opposes NAFTA, GATT, and other antiworker trade
policies. But his stand on trade is not based on the idea of
fairness and increased power for workers here and abroad, but on
promoting American corporations rather than foreign ones. He uses
his stance on trade to tap into workers’ anger about job
insecurity, but almost all the policies he expounds amount to a
direct hit on workers. Not surprising for a guy who was
speechwriter for the most antilabor president of all, Ronald
Reagan. (And, before that, an assistant to Richard Nixon.)
workers against one another ...
Buchanan’s positions not only divide American
workers from workers overseas, they pit American workers against
one another. He calls for drastic limits on immigration and warns
that immigrants who hold on to their native language and culture
are a threat to the American way of life. He opposes affirmative
action. He holds up Christianity as the religion of choice and
apparently doesn’t see the value of the separation of church and
state. ("There is a religious war going on in this
country," he announced at the 1992 Republican convention.) If
Buchanan had his way, rich, white pro-corporate Christians would
reign supreme, unchallenged by working-class whites, Latinos,
African Americans, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews, who
would be left powerless and at one anothers’ throats.
'Free the Rich!'
Buchanan believes in a radical reduction in the
public sector and wants to free corporations from government
regulation. "I will begin to roll back this regulation
juggernaut by dismantling the Department of Education, the
Department of Energy, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, and the Department of Commerce," he pledges. He
wants social programs to devolve to the states.
Forget Buchanan on health care — it isn’t even
on his radar screen. His only health care–related plank is to
"save Medicare" by creating private Medicare accounts.
Buchanan proposes flattening the tax structure to
16 percent for everyone earning over $35,000, which amounts to a
major giveaway to the very rich. He wants to abolish inheritance
taxes on estates up to $5 million. He also proposes privatizing
Pat Buchanan has raised about $2.5 million to
date, mostly from smaller donors. But he’s got some corporate
support too. Backers include General Motors and Motorola.