President Obama took a lot of flak when he said “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.” Unfortunately that statement is as true then as it is now.
Americans have been living under Republican policies since Ronald Reagan. It is true that President George Herbert Walker Bush and President Clinton were far more fiscally responsible than the mathematically challenged and reality deficient Ronald Reagan and George W Bush. George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton raised taxes in light of exploding deficits which ultimately resulted in a ‘nominal’ budget surplus.
America went from voodoo economics to a form of fiscally responsible supply side economics. They cleaned up Ronald Reagan’s fiscal mess. They however did not cleanup his flawed middle class pilfering supply side economics. In fact it could be argued that Clinton was complicit by signing the ‘repeal’ of Glass Steagall even as he allowed further erosion of the social safety net.
When George W Bush got appointed president in 2000 by the Supreme Court, the era of fiscally irresponsible supply side economics returned on steroids. It was tax cuts justified by thediscredited Laffer Curve all over again.
Enough Democrats never fought against the irresponsibility of the Republicans. Who wants to be on record opposing tax cuts? Republicans never worry about deficits if they are attributed to tax cuts or corporate welfare. Deficits only matter when related to the social safety net (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.)
Since the inception of supply side economics, the income and wealth of the middle class have been on a steady decline. This occurred even as the wealth and income of the top 1% have been increasing way above the rate of inflation. Even during the prosperous 1990s and parts of the 2000s, the working middle class was living a semblance of prosperity aided by financial bubbles and easy credit that ultimately disintegrated. This is best explained by Professor of Economics Emeritus Richard D. Wolff. His documentary ‘Capitalism Hits The Fan’ is also informative.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This applies to both Democrats and Republicans.
Metrics since the inception of supply side economics show a relative marginal decline in tax receipts except for certain externalities (financial bubbles, etc.) . Yet, Republicans continue to push tax cuts under all conditions. They are usually successful because Democrats always begin their negotiations from a ‘reasonable’ position. As such they are continuously conned by Republicans.
It is important to note that Obamacare is an exception. Many Liberals seem to believe Obamacare displayed that lack of Democratic negotiation skills. When one reads the bill it is evident that the reason Republicans hate it as much as they do is that it was a huge tax increase victory. Moreover these were taxes skewed appropriately towards the wealthy. As such, the vast majority of Americans will not feel those increases. Not to worry, much of the spoils from productivity and wealth creation went to the wealthy over the last 3+ decades. It did not go to those, the working middle class, on whose back the wealth was made.
Budget Deal, Democratic negotiation from a position of weakness
The new budget deal is the last straw. What is evident? Democrats allowed themselves to be conned once more. The figure on the top shows the different proposed budgets. President Obama proposed $1,235 billion. Paul Ryan proposed $967 billion. The ‘compromise’ was $1,012 billion. This is much closer to Paul Ryan’s meager budget than to the president’s. The president’s initial budget was already a compromise. Why did he not start from the Peoples Budget?
The new revenues for this budget came from the average American. Corporate welfare remained untouched. Doctors got their fix. The unemployed did not get theirs.There will be higher airline security fees, curbs in pension benefits for federal workers, and a curb in annual cost of living increases in benefits for military retirees under the age of 62. Our military fight the wars and maintain safety to ensure the viability and profitability of the American corporatocracy. For that they are but pawns in the political process.
To many it is becoming ever more depressing. Who is fighting for the poor? Who is fighting for the working middle class? Is losing the American way of life a forgone conclusion?
The answer is a categorical no. The Plutocracy depends on apathy and lack of resolve. We must not afford them that luxury. We live to fight another day. We build on what we have. We work to elect those that will really work for and promote the interest of the poor and working middle class. When we lose a battle, we get up, brush off, and reengage.
We are making our list. We are checking it twice. After electing the right folks in 2014 it will start being nice.