Friday, September 24, 2010

Republican Politics and Reality

The mid-term elections will be coming up in just a little over a month and the TV attack ads are ratcheting up. All manner of Tea Party rallies are out there raking in money to finance assorted right-wing craziness and the personal spending habits of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. And now the Republican Party has unveiled its "Pledge to America." I have perused it and frankly it reminds me a lot of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" of a few years ago. As I recall, a lot of us referred to it, more realistically I'd like to think, as "The Contract On America."

Just for the sake of clarity, let's review what is included in the Republican "Pledge to America."
1) The Republican Party pledges to keep tax rates absurdly low on the richest 1% of Americans. That would be millionaires and billionaires. This is despite the fact that doing so will increase the national debt by several hundreds of billions of dollars.
2) The Republican Party wants to roll back regulations on big business and Wall Street. This is despite all evidence that points to the fact that lack of regulation is part of what caused the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930's.
3) The Republican Party is in no way, shape, or form prepared to insure the future of Social Security or Medicare. This is despite the fact that millions upon millions of elderly Americans are dependent on both to insure their health and livelihood. Apparently, if you're rich you don't need either, so therefore you don't believe anybody else should either and you damned well don't want to pay for their retirement or healthcare. Tell it to my grandmother.
4) The Republican Party is in denial about any links between fossil fuels and global warming and are not prepared to do anything to stop or slow down the process. This is despite real scientific evidence that we are creating eco-disaster.
5) The Republican Party is not prepared to pay for repairing or updating our crumbling infrastructure. That would mean tax dollars, and they are against paying taxes. This is despite the fact that investment in our infrastructure is necessary and doing so means creating jobs for our citizens.
6) The Republican Party is apparently against any government spending whatsoever, unless it is for salaries for Republicans and for any and all military projects. They seem to have never met a military expenditure that they didn't like.
7) The Republican Party wants to repeal the recently enacted health care laws. This is despite the fact that millions of ordinary Americans are benefitting from affordable health care because of this reform.
8) The Republican Party would like you to believe that returning to the same tired old Trickle Down Economics nonsense and corporate giveaway policies will benefit America. Sure they will benefit America, but only a small part of America, really rich America. Everyone else will continue struggling.

To be sure, what the Republican Party is advocating is the same ideas that were expressed in the 1920's as "Trickle Down Economics." Those policies famously led to the Great Depression in the 1930's. For the record John Maynard Keynes recommended that government invest in creation of jobs so as to create a cash flow and get the economy moving that time. Remember the WPA, the CCC, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and scads of other projects that helped put Americans back to work, and built roads, bridges, and public buildings? Remember that? The Republican Party was opposed to that too.

To be sure, what the Republican Party is advocating is the same ideas that were expressed in the 1980's as "Supply-Side Economics" or "Reaganomics" or as George H.W. Bush called them, "Voodoo Economics." Mr. Reagan and company argued that we could actually create more tax revenue by cutting taxes and stimulating the economy. He also was known to pretty much oppose any government expenditure except, you guessed it, military projects. He created the greatest budget deficits in U.S. History, to that point and a 6 trillion dollar national debt.

To be sure, what the Republican Party is advocating is the same ideas that were promoted by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney during their 8 year fiasco in charge of our nation. While Bill Clinton left office with a balanced budget and a shrinking national debt, G.W. Bush, through his tax cuts, ill-advised wars, and total gutting of all corporate regulation managed to leave office with an even bigger national debt than was created by Ronald Reagan and with the worst economic disaster in history since the Great Depression.

As Joe Friday would have told us, "Just the facts Ma'am." Let's get real here. The current administration hasn't totally changed the world, but they did save the country from certain economic disaster when they gave assistance to the banking industry and the auto industry and they began a process of oversight of corporate America. The Republican Party has, despite opportunities to do good for all Americans, become the party of "NO!" They have become the party that uses any legal means possible to obstruct anything that might be good for average Americans. They have become the party of "Let's make up facts or twist the real facts any way possible to make the other party look bad." They have, to a large extent, become the party of liars.

There is so much more that can be said, but we, as Americans, need to know the truth. We need to seriously consider the consequences of our vote. We need to recognize the fact that this country is going to become a backwater nothing of a country if we turn it over to the Republican Party. We run the risk of becoming a nation that people want to leave to go somewhere else where there is opportunity instead of the "Land of Opportunity" that we have historically been. Just remember that voting Republican is irresponsible and bad politics and do the right thing. Remember, "Friends don't let friends vote Republican."

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