- Politics and Social Issues
The GOP Abdication
A Cynical Guide to Throwing the Public Under the Bus for Political Gain
...Or How They Learned to Hate Governing Without Really Trying
For context, please also read: http://keithmitchell5.hubpages.com/hub/Franklin-Delano-Obama
If Obama’s approach is anachronistic, imaginatively wanting, and ineffective, the Republicans are decidedly worse. The strategy they’ve devised is a three-pronged approach that involves slashing budgets, refusing to tax the wealthy, and attempting to demonize all forms of government regulation.
In other words, the Republicans hate government and its assumed functions and are abdicating them. Putting the GOP in charge of governing would be akin to letting a child molester baby-sit your kids and later wondering why it didn’t go well. The Republicans openly mock and loathe the very job they’re asking for. Under the insidious influence of the Tea Party (heretofore referred to as Tea Baggers), the GOP has morphed into a party of pseudo-anarchy, espousing no government action whatsoever. The undoing of government, the gutting of federal programs (see Medicaid $ to the states as but one example), and federal regulation is not only their trump card, but the only cards in their deck.
The abdication of governing responsibility is shocking. Government exists largely to fulfill its oversight role; making sure businesses operate fairly (no monopolies), safely (no toxic dumping, no unsafe machinery), pay their taxes (so services operate), and so on. Slashing budgets requires no leadership, no imagination, no problem-solving skills. It punishes the most vulnerable and rewards the most privileged. In short, it's void of morality during an economic meltdown where the middle and lower classes are being battered and yet the Republicans seem bent on promoting as harrowing a Social Darwinistic reality as possible.
This country has embraced the graduated taxation since the 16th Amendment established the federal income tax some ninety years ago. The more you earn, the higher percentage of tax you pay. The Republicans are fixated on having the rich pay a far lower proportion of their earnings for some reason, and then call it "class warfare" when Obama points this out. The reason they extoll for not ending the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy is that the rich create jobs. However, those tax cuts went in place in 2002 and we’re still waiting for that influx of job creation to occur. In the ensuing decade, jobs have instead flooded out of this economy while the wealth gap between the rich and poor has hit record margins. The “trickle down” approach has never worked toward job creation and isn’t working now. Warren Buffett, the wealthiest man in America with a fortune valued at some $47 billion, has said that he isn’t taxed enough compared to his office workers who pay a far higher percentage in actual taxes. (Note: Buffett’s employees pay income tax whereas the wealthiest Americans like Buffett gain money through investments rather than income and thus pay capital gains tax on their earnings. The capital gains tax is capped at 15 percent currently. Buffett contends it should be significantly higher.)
I doubt the GOP actually thinks that trickle down economics will create jobs. I seriously doubt that they want to actually create jobs any time before next November. Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the GOPs leader in the Senate, gave the game away in 2010 when he said that his primary political goal was to see that Obama was a one-term president. That was at the top of his list, as he clarified to an incredulous reporter, above creating jobs, improving the economy, national security, anything else. The monomania that the GOP and Fox News types have about Obama apparently also precludes the desire to govern. So the proposed slash-and-burn economic proposals during a quasi-depression are bound to only further stifle and divide, And the GOP knows it.
The Nevada Syndrome
Exhibit A that the Republicans' shallow plan of slashing taxes and gutting regulation won’t fix the economy is Nevada. That state has the lowest income tax rates in the U.S. and extremely lax environmental regulations. (Nevada has been a GOP stronghold for awhile now.) Yet, Nevada’s unemployment rate stands at 14 percent, five percent higher than the national rate, and its home foreclosure rate is the highest in the country. The ideologically and morally bankrupt “cut everything” philosophy will serve the Republicans well though, because playing the blame game, trying to deflect all manner of bad repute onto Obama, Pelosi, and their ilk in the hopes of capturing the White House and the Congress is the party’s only goal.
TOO BROKE TO FIX
The Democrats aren’t the answer, though. They are as bad in their own way as the Republicans and have been just as partisan-obstructionist when it suited their interests. Gridlock is the game, not governing. The Republicans are just more cynically open to admitting it. In the name of sabotaging Obama, they’ve cost the country its superior bond rating. They refuse to extend the payroll tax deduction for working Americans [because they won’t tax billionaires to pay for it, they say.] The ‘supercommittee’ created out of the self-inflicted debt ceiling fiasco, also failed to reach any compromise on budget cuts and taxation, leading to another gridlocked failure. Finally, the GOP refuses to endorse even the parts of Obama’s current jobs bill that they themselves had initially proposed.
James Madison, the main architect of the Constitution, viewed parties with suspicion and disdain. He envisioned them as toxic for the good of the country as a whole. Smart guy, but the main problem isn’t political parties in general, but rather the two-party system specifically. With no viable political alternative, the American electorate is held hostage by the asinine partisan whims of the Democrats and Republicans as election cycles loom.
Take This or Take Something Worse
A third option, whether that’s a party and an associated movement, must exist for this system to function. Logically, this movement would be either moderate-pragmatic-common sense based or truly positioned to the left of the Democrats, who despite the inane rantings of the Glenn Beck lunatic fringe, aren’t anywhere close to “Socialists.” Most of their views are rather similar to the GOP’s. It’s hard to envision this third movement being to the right of the GOP given its current ‘tea party’ inclinations. (What's to the right of Mitch McConnell, the Aryan Brotherhood?)
A viable third option would, by definition, end the confrontational gridlock and sabotage politics that now dominate Washington. Neither major party would be able to behave irrationally, knowing that an electable, critic-watchdog party could take votes, seats, federal funding and campaign contributions from them. The Republicans and Democrats would have a rival both in front of them and behind them, and the American people would have enhanced democracy and an actual choice.
“It’ll Never Happen/ It can’t work.”
This will be the inevitable message from the major parties and their minions in the media, but ask yourself why it can’t work. Regular people have the power to organize and wield great influence – both the Tea Baggers and the OWS movements illustrate this point clearly. The British voters broke the stranglehold of their two major parties – the Conservative and New Labour – in 2010 by forcing a coalition government of the right-of-center Conservative Party and the leftist third-party Liberal Democrats. This odd coupling has created a curious marriage within the government, forcing creative approaches and compromise. The British people don’t possess an extra gene of intelligence, insight, or perseverance that Americans lack. They simply used their votes and made it happen. Powerful and moneyed interests will inevitably do everything in their power to kill a third option movement. They already do in fact, by limiting ballot access, requiring signatures to field candidates, banning third-party candidates from debates, and denying them federal campaign funding. These obstacles can be overcome and are worth fighting against. If change can’t be achieved politically, it will almost certainly come through more divisive and destructive means.
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