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Holiday Fundraiser Greatest Hits: Product Liability
Today there's a lot of chatter about how the Republicans game the system by spending us into oblivion and then expecting the Democrats to clean up the mess. Krugman writes:
T]he whole deficit panic is fundamentally misplaced. And it’s especially galling if you look at what many of the same people now opining about the evils of deficits said back when we had a surplus. Remember, George W. Bush campaigned on the basis that the surplus of the late Clinton years meant that we needed to cut taxes — and Alan Greenspan provided crucial support, telling Congress that the biggest danger we faced was that we might pay off our debt too fast. Now Greenspan is helping groups like Fix the Debt.A Grand Scam it is. And it's been obvious for quite some time. Let's take a little trip down memory lane to eight and a half years ago, shall we?
And as Duncan Black points out, the Bush experience tells us something important about fiscal policy: namely, that when Democrats get obsessed with deficit reduction, all they do is provide a pot of money that Republicans will squander on more tax breaks for the wealthy as soon as they get a chance. Suppose Romney had won; do you have even a bit of doubt that all the supposed deficit hawks of the GOP would suddenly have discovered that unfunded tax cuts and military spending are perfectly fine?
The point is that the whole focus of budget discussion is based on a combination of bad economics and bad (and fundamentally dishonest) politics. We’re looking not so much at a Grand Bargain as at a Great Scam.
Saturday, July 31, 2004
"One of the secrets of conservative America is how often it has welcomed Republican defeats."
You have to be either a fool or a patriot to feel the duty to govern after a Republican has been in power. They come in to office, reward themselves and their rich friends, totally screw up the country and then leave the mess for the Democrats to clean up. Then they use their time out of office assassinating the characters of the Democrats for fun and profit preparing the way for them to get back into office and screw it all up again. These people are not interested in governing in a democratic system, which takes negotiation, compromise and patience. They are about power which requires far less complexity.
This merry-go-round reflects an aspect of the American character that works to its own disadvantage in more ways than one. We have no sense of the past except that which has been created by mythmakers and screenwriters. We simply do not remember what really happened even a few short years ago. Unlike the Europeans and the Chinese, for instance, who behave as if slights from the 14th century happened five minutes ago, we are oblivious to even our recent political past.
Think about this. The American people decisively repudiated George Bush Sr in 1992. He got only 37% of the vote. Seven years later the Republican party was actively courting his namesake for president without any sense whatsoever that his association with a man widely regarded as a failure just a few short years before could be a problem. It was actually seen as a strength. The marketing mavens of the GOP understood very well that the brand name was all that mattered. The product failure of a few short years before had long been forgotten.
I suppose that this would be expected in a country that prides itself on offering people the chance to reinvent themselves, but I think it might just be helpful to re-frame this as a matter of corporate liability. The GOP gets away with murder over and over again, leaving chaos in its wake and forcing the taxpayers to clean up mess after toxic mess --- savings and loan bailouts, record deficits, crumbling infrastructure, foreign wars and international threats. Their product is defective.
This is why it's been so frustrating to see the Democrats and the Villagers so slow to wake up what was going on. (Even today, I don't think they really grasp it.)This is not new and it's not some odd pathology born of Tea Party madness. It's a strategy which has been in play for a good long while. And the opposition is either dumb or complicit at this point if they haven't caught on. In fact, if the Democrats end up cutting social security and other vital safety net programs in this round of the ongoing scam, they will have become the biggest dupes in political history. It's going to be hard to feel sorry for them when the Republicans use it to run against them. It's not as if they couldn't have seen it coming.