[Photo of David Stockman from here.]
It would be funny if it weren't so sad to watch Republican "leaders" like weepy John Boehner and the goofy Mitch McConnell try to defend extending Bush's tax cuts for the rich. Part of their defense has to do with the so-called deficit: they don't want to increase it!
But the deficit is their deficit and is the result of two things: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bush's tax cuts for the rich. No doubt these facts are the reason they have not spoken out on the deficit sooner, like when Georgi W. Bushki was prezident. It's strange that during the Bush years, the deficit problem seldom raised its ugly head.
Joan Walsh, in a Salon article, "Mitch McConnell's tax cut lies," notes how Boehner and McConnell, when appearing at different times on "Meet the Press" got caught between a rock and a hard place when they tried to explain away the fact that "extending the Bush tax cuts for the megarich - set to expire in 2011 - will deepen the deficit" by some $3.2 trillion."
These Republicans, like most Republicans, insist on claiming that "tax cuts are the secret to job growth." The truth, of course, is something quite different. During the Bush II presidency (8 years), the number of jobs grew by about 1.1 million. Under Bill Clinton, when the rich were taxed at a much higher rate, jobs grew by 22.7 million.
But Republicans care not about truth, nor, it appears, do they care about our country. They care only about power - obtaining it and keeping it. Thus, their mantra for the past two years has been "Do nothing, fight everything proposed by the current president, bring Obama down. If the country goes to hell, so be it. At least we'll be in power!"
But none of this is new. While our economy is in tatters because of GOP policies, the problem began years ago - under Nixon, actually.
Or, so says David Stockman, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. In a recent op-ed article for The New York Times, titled "Four Deformations of the Apocalypse," Stockman details "How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy."
Paul B. Farrell, writing at MarketWatch, explains.
Stockman doesn't think much of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. "'If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation's public debt ... will soon reach $18 trillion.' It screams 'out for austerity and sacrifice.' But instead, the GOP insists 'that the nation's wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.'"
Stockman would have us believe that Republicans have changed over the past 40 years; that Republicans used to be fiscally responsible way back then, but now, he says, the GOP is operating from a "'new catechism [that's] little more than money printing and deficit finance, vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes' making a mockery of GOP ideas."
Farrell notes Stockman's "four great deformations of the national economy":
1. "Nixon irresponsible, dumps gold, U.S. starts spending binge.
2. "Crushing debts from domestic excesses, war mongering." This one is especially interesting because Stockman lays the blame directly at the Republicans' feet. When our deficit reaches $18 trillion it will be 40 times greater than it was in 1970. This is the fault of the GOP (NOT the Democrats) because the Republican Party took as gospel "the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."
3. "Wall Street's deadly 'vast, unproductive expansion.'" "'Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation." Farrell takes issue with Stockman here, however. He says the Republicans were far from oblivious. "Self-interested Republican loyalists like Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner knew exactly what they were doing." And they were "wrong"!
4. New American Revolution class-warfare coming soon. "Finally, thanks to Republican policies that let us 'live beyond our means for decades by borrowing heavily from abroad, we have steadily sent jobs and production offshore," while at home "high-value jobs in goods production, trade, transportation, information technology and the professions shrunk by 12% to 68 million from 77 million."
There's a new revolution coming, say Stockman; a class war "against greed and the wealthy. Soon. The trigger will be the growing gap between economic classes. No wonder considering 'that during the last bubble (from 2002 to 2006) the top 1% of Americans - paid mainly from the Wall Street casino - received two-thirds of the gain in national income, while the bottom 90% - mainly dependent on Main Street's shrinking economy - got only 12%. This growing wealth gap is not the market's fault. It's the decaying fruit of bad economic policy."
Well, we've known most of this for years. But it's nice to have it spelled out in such detail by a GOP "insider." Unhappily, it won't matter with a majority of Americans who are just plain dumb as well as incredibly ignorant and thus easily swayed by those very people who have taken from them the American dream.
In their dumbness and ignorance they are easily manipulated to get excited about phony controversies created by the rightwing to divert them from their suffering, all the while being played for fools by power-hungry politicians and the shadowy, subversive forces behind them (think the Koch brothers, Faux News, Rupert Murdoch, et. al.).
You may not agree with everything Farrell has to say but his article is a breath of fresh air in an environment stinking of greed and a militant thirst for power that takes no prisoners.
Read it all here.