Tag Archives: trickle-down

What's At Stake

31 Oct

Why Obama Now. Prepared by an animator for the Simpsons, and if it does nothing more, it should help popularize the term “Horse and Sparrow” as a euphemism for trickle down / supply side. 

What’s At Stake

31 Oct

Why Obama Now. Prepared by an animator for the Simpsons, and if it does nothing more, it should help popularize the term “Horse and Sparrow” as a euphemism for trickle down / supply side. 

The Pledge to Some of America

24 Sep

The Republican establishment has put forth a document entitled the “Pledge to America”. It basically wants to rewind to the times of George W. Bush, and it looks towards a future as devoid of minorities as the Jetsons.

You may go ahead and now consider how much 2010 mirrors 1994.

Unlike the poll-driven “Contract with America” that the Gingrich congress promoted 16 years ago, the Pledge to America isn’t so much a pledge to America as it is a pledge to some of America. Oh, and they’ve abandoned the whole “term limits” thing because maybe someone realized the laughable irony of criticizing, e.g., Ted Kennedy for his congressional longevity alongside upstart newcomer Strom Thurmond.

The signature piece of the Republicans’ proposal is the repeal of health insurance reform. Again, ironic that the pledge is released on the day that some of the most popular parts of that reform were implemented. As of yesterday, you can keep your kids on your insurance to age 26. As of yesterday, there are no more lifetime caps on your coverage – if your cancer treatment hits $1MM you won’t have to sell every one of your belongings to keep receiving coverage for your care. As of yesterday, your insurer can’t punitively or arbitrarily rescind your coverage when you get sick.

It’s earth-shattering that these reforms are so earth-shattering.

But let’s disabuse ourselves of the notion that Republican politicians went back to their people and figured out what to include in the “pledge”. The document was drafted by a staffer on minority leader John Boehner’s payroll who was until recently a lobbyist for a firm that handled clients such as AIG, Exxon, and other big business looking to buy influence.

Ezra Klein describes the document as almost bipolar:

Their policy agenda is detailed and specific — a decision they will almost certainly come to regret. Because when you get past the adjectives and soaring language, the talk of inalienable rights and constitutional guarantees, you’re left with a set of hard promises that will increase the deficit by trillions of dollars, take health-care insurance away from tens of millions of people, create a level of policy uncertainty businesses have never previously known, and suck demand out of an economy that’s already got too little of it…

…Perhaps the two most consequential policies in the proposal are the full extension of the Bush tax cuts and the full repeal of the health-care law. The first would increase the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. The second would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next 10 years, and many trillions of dollars more after that. Nothing in the document comes close to paying for these two proposals, and the authors know it: The document never says that the policy proposals it offers will ultimately reduce the deficit.

Then there’s the question of policy uncertainty. The health-care law, which is now in the early stages of implementation, would be repealed. In its place, Republicans would write a new health-care bill. They offer some guidance as to what it would look like, but as every business knows, the congressional and regulatory processes are both long and uncertain. That’s joined by three sentences on shrinking and reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the policy’s anticipated effects on the housing market, where the two mortgage giants are backing nine out of every 10 new loans, are not mentioned — and a promise to force a separate congressional vote on every regulation with more than $100 million in economic impact, which would force businesses to figure out a new, dual-track regulatory process.

The Republican Party used to mock the liberal Democrats as being “bleeding heart” types whose governance is guided more by feelings than by brains. Now, it’s the Republicans who have eschewed making tough choices in governing a country and instead have absorbed and been subsumed by the touchy-feely, high-on-emotion-low-on-information “tea party”, which is a euphemism for “Bush dead-enders”.

It goes right down to the preamble of the document, which purports to mirror the Declaration of Indepedence, but this line in the Declaration:

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

now reads thusly:

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

The “different course” is simply a reversion to the course that had been set in the minds of the most conservative members of the Republican Party whenever they had been in power in the last couple of generations. Higher spending, lower taxes, militarism, jingoism, missile defense, and selective demonization. The language is clever in that it equates the duly elected Obama Administration and the elected Democratic representatives in Congress with the tyrannical, unelected rule of King George III over a disenfranchised colonial populace.

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

Translation: King George III and his Kenyan Muslim minions have destroyed America and raped your daughters.

The pledge offhandedly mentions a supposed return to constitutional principles, but only cites one portion of the document – the Tenth Amendment. In the end, the Republicans continue to pay lip service to the ideas that kept the South segregated. So, it’s no accident that denying gay Americans the right to marry or otherwise enjoy the rights and privileges of civic life that all Americans enjoy is in literally the second paragraph down from the 10th Amendment entry.

Other points include:

Jobs:

– Stop job-killing tax hikes
– Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income
– Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit
– Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law.

Cutting Spending:

– Repeal and Replace health care
– Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone)
– Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward
– Cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Reforming Congress:

– Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority
– Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote

Defense:

– Provide resources to troops
– Fund missile defense
– Enforce sanctions in Iran

The document is punctuated by large photographs of congressional leaders, soldiers, citizens at town hall meetings, factory workers, businesspeople, etc; photographs of middle America that the Republicans want so badly to return to through the policy proposals contained in the document. Lots of cowboy hats and whatnot.

The only person of color pictured is John Boehner of Orange. It is a pledge to white America, to the people who perceive themselves victimized by the urban community activist minions of the Obama dictatorship, Saul Alinsky, ACORN, and Karl Marx. It’s almost striking in that the only diversity in the Republicans’ America has to do with gender.

It proposes nothing for the middle class or working poor. It proposes nothing to reform immigration – just to expel and repel. It proposes nothing for expanding demand in a beleaguered economy. Meet the new GOP, same as the old GOP. New ideas need not apply.

If you loved the great recession, you’ll love the aftermath of the Pledge to America.

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