Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GOP Disembowling Themselves Before Our Eyes

Could we, should we rob Americans of our deeply treasured delusions? In the case of politics and economics, the responsible answer is that we must.

In this case, the Democrats would be the beneficiaries. We must set aside the knowledge that as a group, D.C. legislative and executive branch members are only marginally deserving. Yet, the nation can only gain.

It is time to calculate the damage points. The Republicans have been extremely generous in their headlong, headstrong rush to self-destruction. Dems from President Obama through party functionaries need to gather up the goodies.

Dems were dumb enough not to steamroll Republicans and obstructionist DINOs in the health-care overhaul death march. Much has been in the news and blogs about the various procedures they could have used and which the Republicans eagerly wielded in their majority years. Let's face the fact that as a group the Dems are not that left-wing or progressive or they would have. They're not being nice so much as they are as disunited as the GOP, with multiple flavors on the same political plate.

Right now, the Republicans in Congress have exposed themselves outrageously. It's time to point and squeal.

The GOP sorts are trying their damnedest to turn health reform into its fiscal opposite. They are chanting with all irrationality — at increasing volume and repetition — that this lukewarm and watery bill will bankrupt the nation for generations to come. They gleefully proposed and supported spending trillions on unnecessary wars, resulting in many thousands dead, but they attempt now to find economic terror in funding physical health and security for the nation's citizens.

Call it, Obama. Call it, Reid. Call it, Kaine.

The Republican claims are particularly risible for the last century's economic record. You don't have to look far to see that Republican Presidents and Congresses (sometimes with help from DINOs) spent us into huge holes. Dems lower our deficits and national debt and Republicans make them soar. The records of Clinton, both Bushes and even the plastic saint called Reagan are stark evidence in recent times.

Amusingly, they would prefix tax-and-spend to the Democratic Party. They campaign on that and often win with such emotional, irrational scare tactics.

Why don't Dems scream borrow-and-spend Republicans? That's actually the provable truth.

Since WWII, we have seen a return to the most destructive economic fantasies. Right after the war, with the economic engine perking along, the nation believed in an endless growth spiral. All our dinghies would rise with this tide...forever and forever.

While comforting, that was crazy thinking. It was particularly delusional considering that under 20 years before, the majority of the nation was on the skids, without enough cash or prospects. Yet, we chose to believe that and based our economic decisions, personal and political, on that premise. The WWII generation deserves great thanks, but they rewarded themselves beyond all reason based on that fantasy.

Of course, it didn't work forever and forever, just a decade plus. Even then, it was working largely for the white middle class. Huge segments were ignored. Their little boats could sit the in the economic mud.

Another key problem was that our national growth depended heavily on using others' resources. We could call that stealing, unfair or smart. We continued to use the labor and other resources outside and inside our nation, profiting without reasonable payment.

As third world nations developed and develop, they invariably demand fairer prices for their resources. The U.S. sees the effect in lower profit margins. Our companies still move production to the cheapest labor markets, pretending that U.S. costs are the driver. Really what's changed is that they have to show up more frequently to control overseas resources. Aww.

Domestically too wages rose modestly and equal employment regulation stopped the worst of underpaying our own for their labor. At the same time, formerly poor countries like Korea, China and India churned out products from cars to fridges to electronics of better quality and lower prices than we did. Our own companies' shares of domestic and foreign markets slid.

The punchline of course is that fantasy of an endless growth spiral had to stop.

Never mind. We had a new one under Republican administrations. We could have guns and butter. We could and should borrow and spend our way to prosperity. Trickle down (better described as piddle on) economics has been the new fantasy. Despite its repeated failures, many in and out of Congress cling to this one.

Its corollary is borrowing the money through budgets passed but unfunded is not taxing. Bovine feces! Pushing the days of reckoning out a decade or two does not make it cheaper or less of a tax.

Point and Shout!

Dems must begin calling out this terrible fantasy — in the wells of Congress, in the hustings on campaigns, in media interviews, in publications, and even to each other. Say it with me, borrow-and-spend Republicans.

When Dems say that often enough, they are likely to temper even their own hunger for pork, even their own impulse to borrow against their children and grandchildren's futures.

This is a fabulous moment for Democrats. The Republicans have shown they are indifferent or hostile to the health and economic needs of the majority of Americans. Their puerile and bullying obstruction on health reform is a great object lesson and teaching moment. If they would destroy the chance for even modest improvements in health care for perhaps 31 million fellow citizens to harm progressives and Obama, they need to be called on it.

Already they are talking about how they can use this moment to gain seats in the mid-term election and aim for the Presidency in 2012. I think not.

Let the Dems call them out. The GOP threw the big finger repeatedly at the public. Let the Dems say it. Republicans in Congress spit on decency, common sense, and compassion for Americans. Let the Dems make them pay politically.

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Bill Baar said...

So who do you think will be your Health Exchange Czar in Mass?

Contemplate that political appointee (who perhapes will retire to a seven figure job with Blue Cross after his/her tenure as HE Czar) holding sway over Mass's Health Care funding, deciding disputes over care, and handing out patronage and contracts.

Far greater money involved then ever a Halliburtion Exec dreamed off...

...contemplate that and tell me what you think votes, patients, and consumers are going to think of this sad mess.

massmarrier said...

Well, we already know what the markets think. All the related profiteers, like pharma, insurers and such, saw big share price gains. Investors know this is much milder than those guys feared.

Without real competition, this is at best an incremental change.

Bill Baar said...

I wager a decremental change.

A millstone on Democrats for the next decade.

It was the Illinois Health Facilities Planning board that took down Gov Blagojevich in Illinois. He's on tape shaking down Chicago's Children's Hospital for kick backs.

That's what politics inserted into Health Care delivery brings... it's not the GOP who will be imploding.

massmarrier said...

You're on. The GOP far overreached on this one.

Bill Baar said...

Here you go:

massmarrier said...

The Republicans are whistling past the graveyard.

Bill Baar said...

Look what Nelsen's vote got him:

Herbert's rigth. Dems have dug themselves a huge hole with this mess.