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Republicans' Failed Ideas

Updated on July 19, 2015

Political pundits have posited America has move slightly to the left on some issues. The Great Recession, if anything, crystallized the inexorable consequences of economic inequality. Democrats and Republicans are- having seen millions of men and women, many of whom are Black and Brown people, perished in overcrowded prisons under the most under horrible conditions- seriously considering reforming our inane prison system, a step, I think, in the right direction. The swing to the left, if you want to call it that, is not any random occurrence or, say, accident. No, I say, Americans are beginning to apprehend many conservative ideals, fantasies, and nostrums are the root to many of today’s issues. Since the 1980s, conservatives’ beliefs, as unfounded and simply stupid as they are, dominated the political discourse. So, since I have a little time, I want to explore, if you will, some of these epic failures.

The Economy: Since the time of Ronald Regan, conservatives consistently propagated the notion of tax cuts, based on the theory if wealthy Americans’ taxes were significantly reduced, they will have more money to invest-either in their own companies, like for hiring more workers, or in other business ventures- or spend on goods. When the elite start investing or spending, the money will somehow, nobody actually knows how- trickle down to the rest of the labor bracket, the essence of supplied-sided economics. Regan slash taxes, cut spending on programs for the needed while lambasting and denigrating welfare recipients. The private sector, they believed, will inevitably stimulate the economy. Bill Clinton, despite his political prowess- perhaps the most overrated Democrat today, was instrumental in deregulating the banking industry, eviscerating laws such as Glass-Steagall. In the early 2000s, George Bush cut taxes for the wealthy, even during times of war, giving the business elite additional money, widening the gap between the haves and have “nots”. Let's fast forward to 2008, the Great Recession, as a sledgehammer, hit America, devastating the economy, causing millions of people to loss their jobs. Investment Banks, of course, made bad bets on poor financial instruments like subprime loans. Many of the banks' activities, mind you, would not have been legal prior banking deregulation. Oh, and let’s not forget the nice bailouts they received.

Americans, after understanding the causes of the Great Recession, seem to understand the benefits of smart regulation. The majority of Americans want to see more stringent banking regulations and want to see an increase of minimum wage in order to address inequality. The Republicans, I’m afraid, still haven’t seen the change in opinions. Scott Walker, presidential hopeful, for example, called the Democrats’ proposal for a minimum wage increase lame. Yeah, we still have ways to go.

The Prison System: In the 1971, President Nixon, perhaps the last liberal president, declared a war on drugs and crime; ever since then, America has spent billions of dollars in incarcerating Americans, particularly minorities and poor Whites. America hitherto has the highest prison population of any free, using free loosely here- industrialized society. Bill Clinton, appeasing middle class America and not to appear "soft" on crime, a common fear among Democrats, gladly supported the three strikes law, which, in a nut shell, promoted mandatory sentencing. Taxpayers spend roughly 80 billion dollars annually locking people up, most for nonviolent crimes. Americans logically want reform because they're beginning to understand locking people up is not a panacea for crime. Republicans, like Rand Paul, has been supporting prison reform. Barak Obama became the first president to visit a federal prison just yesterday, something I thought, with all the years of hearing criminals being castigated and depicted as subhuman - impossible. The tide is turning, I hope, for the best.


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