Let’s talk about the Republican Party. Not the pander-to-the-base party of patriotism, guns, flags, mom, apple pie and country music. And no, not the party of conservative theorists talking small government and low taxes with real cuts in spending. And definitely not the crazy tea bag Limbaugh/Beckian party of birther drivel, Nazi/communist presidential conspiracies and racist pay backs for white depredations.
No. I mean the real honest-to-god Republican Party that gets into office every so often. Under all the rhetoric and party platforms and theory and windbagging – what are they, and what do they do?
Well, for openers, they spend lots of money. While accusing Democrats of “tax and spend,” they are the party of spend and don’t tax. They shift the burden to the middle and working classes. Under Reagan, the deficit soared by several trillion dollars. “More than in all the other presidential terms in our two-hundred year history,” as the full page ads in newspapers said. Those ads were taken out by former government economists and Treasury Secretaries. They were worried about our soaring deficit.
Stay in the loop
Never miss the news and analysis you care about.
While this trend was halted under Clinton, along came George W. Bush with tax cuts for the wealthy and another soaring deficit. This is big government at its worst – deficit spending with reduced revenue.
How does this happen? How do the American people put up with this? The answer is that Republicans spend the money on defense. Defense is necessary because there is a history of “enemies all around us.” Forty-five years of propaganda about the communist threat were followed by years of propaganda about the Islamic fascist threat. No education about the threat people around the world might feel at the presence of the U.S. military everywhere. We expand our military to more areas, we exploit more resources and people, we are hated more, and it provokes a reaction. Now we need more military protection, and the beat goes on. To the military industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about is added a layer of private contractors now sucking the lifeblood of the American taxpayer. Instead of a soldier peeling potatoes welcome to the contractor at $100,000 per year peeling away your money.
All of this leads to bigger government, but not a better more productive society. Corollaries to this are a penchant for more presidential power – the so-called Imperial presidency of Dick Cheney and his minions. Republicans like spying on people, going through their records, and phone tapping. This is necessary because the government is more of a military operation. Infrastructure is ignored, as are social programs like healthcare and education. Cities and schools decline, roads and bridges crumble, people are poorer and weaker, but the rich get richer. Republicans defend this by saying people who need any of these things are lazy, stupid, illegal, losers, or of an ethnic minority like Cadillac-driving welfare moms.
The country under Republicans gradually moves toward an aristocracy. No estate taxes, bailouts for big business, no-bid contracts, lobbyists writing legislation, and no concern for regulations in mines, refineries, food processing plants or drug companies.
Look past the crazies on Fox News to who is really gearing up for the Republicans. Take Meg Whitman for example. Spending a fortune to become governor of California, her plan begins with capital gains tax cuts for the wealthiest people. She then proceeds to large giveaways to big business, and ends with massive layoffs of state employees. Sounds like things will get a lot better in the Golden State – for a few.
As the country begins to wake up enough to roll back Bush’s tax cuts, Republicans talk about those well-to-do who are the engines of employment. I guess they loved the Middle Ages, when the lords and ladies employed peasants, because that and the ante-bellum South are their models. Just like during those eras, Republicans don’t like too many people voting, either. Their idea of a democracy seems to be to make it as hard as possible to go the polls and vote.
Americans had better wake up to the Republican deeds of the last thirty years. They may have been lulled by the rhetoric, but they have been destroyed by the reality.