The ugly last few weeks of stimulus debate among our nation’s leadership has left one thing clear: Congress has essentially become a douchey, senior-citizen version of The Real World mixed with Laguna Beach. Seriously. We basically a geriatric high school with bitches galore and those lame duck leaders have abdicated any sense of responsibility to the American citizen as they are solely focused on the next election – which is especially true in the case of the Republicans.
Anyone who has taken Psych 101 (me) has likely been watching with jaws on the floor the Right Wing Parade of crackhead after crackhead. Singular focus on electoral demographics has allowed them to form some insane force field of failed ideology divorcing almost the entire Republican leadership from reality. To repeat the words of John Judis in The New Republic, “Congressional Republicans either don’t know any economics or are willing to put the country at risk to advance their own party’s fortune.” I’d go with both.
In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s the deal, pickle. The country is hemorrhaging jobs – almost 5 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, which doesn’t include all the unemployed who are not collecting benefits, nor those who are underemployed because their hours have been cut. Temporary jobs – an indicator of economic health – have all but dried up. The wealth of the average American family is now less than it was in 2001. And the second wave of mortgage defaults is starting to hit the country, because option ARMS are beginning to hit their due dates for interest rate increases. AND, and – the country’s top intelligence officer says the global economic crisis poses a greater threat to U.S. stability than terrorism.
You got it? Good.
Now, what are the crackhead Republicans suggesting will fix this crisis? It they spend most of their whining about the lack bipartisanship (which is odd considering Bush only met with Dems 3 times during his administration and Limbaugh equates talking to Dems to talking to snakes…), hoping the president fails, attempting to obstruct any potential solution to the problem and creating fun, new, misleading terms like “generational theft.” Would you expect any different from a group of people who values the opinions of the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Joe the Plumber, and Rush Limbaugh? Right.
Somehow, you’d think right wing leaders smart enough to reach national office would be able to acknowledge the reality of the situation and choose to address these issues with realistic proposals instead of ideology proven to not only fail, but worsen the country’s economic troubles. You’d be wrong. Repub leaders have decided – as though they live in bizarro world – that if they oppose the stimulus and the stimulus fails, they can ride it all the way to victory in 2010. How wonderful of them to lift their collective, wrinkled middle finger to the lower 95 percent of America’s economic class.
And just to appear as though someone told them if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the what? Problem!, they are attempting to present a few weak ass proposals of their own: corporate tax cuts, more tax cuts for the wealthy, and payroll tax cuts.
Let’s address these “ideas.” First of all, government spending stimulates the economy much faster than tax cuts. Remember how much tax cuts for the wealthy helped over the last 8 years? The wealth was hoarded at the top and did not trickle down. The top 400 wealthiest Americans doubled their wealth, the poverty class grew while the middle shrunk drastically and jobs dried up.
Next, let’s take a look at corporate taxes. Republicans love to wave their hands in the air, shouting about America’s record corporate tax cuts. As they well know, because of the myriad of loopholes in tax legislation, the majority of U.S. corporations do not pay federal taxes. Therefore, lessening the tax burden on businesses that don’t pay taxes anyway will have zippo improvements on the economy. Are you paying attention Hatch? McConnell? Cantor? Boehner? Or your heads too far up your ass to hear me?
And lastly, payroll taxes are a good idea – but not by themselves. As with the stimulus checks Bush sent out last year, Americans are saving or paying down debt with any extra buck that comes their way – not shopping. Without consumers spending, businesses cannot stay afloat, retain employees and no reduction in payroll taxes will reverse that trend.
Which leave job creation as the strongest ladder out of this quagmire. Yet, Republicans, cuddled in their failed ideology and refusing to acknowledge data, evidence and reason started harping on every little non-roads related portion of the stimulus bill. Condom distribution, for example, was one of their main target. Yet, condom makers, condom packagers, and companies who ship the condoms will be stimulated. I could answer in much the same way with every “earmark” the Republicans attacked with unhelpful rhetoric, like “porkulus.”
Paul Begala had a good idea in his address to South Carolina Gov. Sanford, who opposes the stimulus, “If Republican politicians are so deeply opposed to President Obama’s economic recovery plan, they should refuse to take the money. After all, if you think all that federal spending is damaging, there are easy ways to reduce it: Don’t take federal money.” We’ll see how many uneducated poor – or, as I like to call them, Limbaugh listeners – turn out to vote for Repubs in 2010 in the areas where they looked to corporate tax cuts to help them out of the economic rut.
Bush proved what a detriment it is to cloak decision-making in political ideology alone. Data, information, logic, evidence must be understood and solutions cannot simply stand on theory – especially after the data show that theory has already failed. It is a desperate shame Republican leadership only cares about election returns and refuses to learn the lessons of the past. It seems so elementary and yet they fail to grasp the most simplest of realities. I’m sure Republicans willing to work with Democrats, like Crist, Snowe, Spector, Collins, and all the mayors who are seeing the jobs dry up right before their eyes will probably do okay the next election go ’round.
But with each new report about massive layoffs – that are weekly now – most Republicans will find that the only thing they know how to do, obstruct, will begin to sour among those feeling the pinch. Which is everybody. The Right wingers thought they were getting a little traction by throwing mud in Obama’s eye – but reality is hard to overcome and the Republicans have no solutions to our national problems, no helpful manners, and are making no improvements. To say they are a party of the past is putting it kindly. And I’m hoping all their bitchy congress people fail out come the end of this term.