It bears remembering as you head to the polls this year that Republican policies benefit only the richest among us.

          After orchestrating a tax cut for the rich, the president’s willful neglect has pushed our COVID-19 death toll to world-leading levels in order to keep the stock market profitable. Now, with one-third of the households unable to pay bills, the 50 richest Americans have more money than the 165 million poorest. That’s GOP Economics 101.

          Last year, The Tulsa World reported there were seven billionaires in Oklahoma and less than five percent of our neighbors are millionaires, according to Phoenix Marketing.  If you’re among the 95 percent of us who are not that rich, you’re voting against your own interests any time you vote Republican.

          And, a vote for that well-documented fascist Donald Trump is also voting for someone wanting to evict millions of Americans from health insurance – with no alternative on the table – and who wants to kill the funding that keeps Social Security and Medicare alive.  

          His failureship – including disastrous trade wars – has also sent our budget deficit to record highs. Funny, how eliminating the budget deficit is a GOP priority when Democrats are in the White House, but a non-issue when a Republican is the occupant – except that Trump uses this as an excuse to cut safety net programs.

          Out here on the plains, it was Oklahoma’s GOP-dominated legislature that put State Question 814 on our ballot to raid the state’s tobacco settlement money.

          Currently, 75 percent of the Oklahoma payout goes to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and the other 25 percent is split between the legislature and the attorney general’s office.

Our Lege wants to switch those percentages, ostensibly to fund the state’s Medicaid program.

          This bunch has been wanting to get its hands on the TSET money from the get-go. It can’t be trusted to use the money as designated; it continuously approves shady spending practices with a complicit AG abetting its actions.

          Remember the lottery? It was designed to enhance Oklahoma school spending. So, the next thing our Lege did was to cut previous school funding and plug in the lottery money to keep our schools woefully underfunded. 

          Our Lege can’t be trusted. Vote No on SQ 814.

          There is a seemingly non-economic state question to be decided as well. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform petitioned SQ 805 onto the ballot to eliminate “sentence enhancements” for people sentenced to prison with previous non-violent felonies on their records.

          The Oklahoma Policy Institute reports that, “Oklahoma courts levied sentence enhancements against about 80 percent of people eligible for them. Those enhancements caused their sentences to be 36 percent longer — nearly two years — when compared to those who did not receive the enhancements, according to an analysis by the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs.”

          I say this is a “seemingly” non-economic issue, but the OPI also notes, “the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs estimates that the ballot measure would reduce the prison population by about 8.5 percent and save the state up to $186 million over the next 10 years” – while not punishing people a second time for a previous crime.

          The only people benefiting from draconian, double-jeopardy sentence enhancements are the owners of private prisons.

          Vote Yes on SQ 805 for judicial and fiscal responsibility.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: or

Vote for yourself, not for the fat cats

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