Monday, August 30, 2010
What the Stimulus hath wrought vs. a conservative oligarchy
Listening to Republicans and teapot crackpots one might get the impression that The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka the Stimulus), a $787 billion attempt to right our economy after the Bush/Cheney debacle, was a massive failure. First of all, the Repubs and others of that ilk, claim it hasn't created enough jobs but has increased the deficit exponentially.
It is very interesting that the same people whining about the deficit were nowhere in sight nor were they heard from when Bush/Cheney were gleefully destroying the surplus left them by the Clinton administration, cutting taxes on the rich, engaging in illegal and unnecessary warfare, all of which has led to the very deficit the Republicans decry.
As usual, it all depends on whose ox is being gored.
But the Republicans don't give a damn about the deficit. Their belabored wailing is merely a smokescreen to bring down the president. Everything they've done over the past two years has served that nefarious purpose. Furthermore, I've read at least one economist who claims that the deficit could be erased pronto just by letting Bush's tax cuts wither and die.
As we shall see momentarily, the welfare of the nation is not part of the Republican agenda.
Michael Grunwald, in a fascinating Time magazine article titled, "How the Stimulus Is Changing America," notes that Republicans charge that the Stimulus is a "Big Government boondoggle," a failure.
Here are some of the things it has accomplished thus far:
"...[It] has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more."
I personally know several people who were able to purchase new or older homes because of government stimulus money!
As a number of economists have noted, the economy "would have been much worse without the stimulus."
However, that's only part of what has happened and what will happen. The Obama administration has a firm eye on the future and intends to do what it can to meet the challenges we face now and the challenges we will face in just a short time.
Grunwald says about 1/6th of the Stimulus money is involved in "an all-out effort to exploit the crisis to make green energy, green building and green transportation real; launch green manufacturing industries; computerize a pen-and-paper health system; promote data-driven school reforms; and ramp up the research of the future.
Please read the entire article here to get a sense of the massive changes being wrought for the benefit of our commonwealth.
Obama has fulfilled his promise to bring about change - big time! One major problem has been, as Grunwald notes, the president "has spent most of his first term trying to clean up messes--in the Gulf of Mexico, Iraq and Afghanistan, on Wall Street and Main Street ... " He had NO choice, of course!
Perhaps the biggest problem, though, is the Republican Party and to some extent, a cabal of Democrats (notably the so-called "Blue-Dogs") which not only offer no solutions but refuse to work with the Obama administration in meeting the needs of the nation. The Republican Party has rightfully been labeled the party of "NO!"
Walking hand-in-hand with the Republicans, and in many cases writing the script for the Republicans to follow are people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and hundreds of other media types who spread lies and misinformation for the sole purpose of destroying the Obama presidency so they can retake power in the nation's capitol.
Have you heard any sane, concrete proposals from any Republican legislator or teapot crackpot or conservative media cokehead over the past two years? Privatizing Social Security, demolishing Medicare and Medicaid, repealing health-care reform are not "sane, concrete proposals" but rather illustrate the poverty of the so-called conservative movement in this country.
And though the teapot crackpots rail against "big" government but there is no substance to their complaint. They just don't like "welfare queens," illegal immigrants, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or visiting those in prison. Some are even arguing that we must jettison our Constitution in favor of the Christian Bible and then take instruction from the Hebrew Bible as to how we are to establish our laws - such as executing adulterers and homosexuals! Many of the people who attended the Glenn Beck "honor" rally hold such views, and go even further with demands that this country become a "Christian" nation - as they define such, which at the least means that Christianity be the recognized religion and their understanding of Christian precepts be enshrined in our legal system, and that all other religions be relegated to second-class or worse status.
These teapot crackpots are said to be "angry" and some, including President Obama, think they have a "right" to be angry; supposedly because they are suffering more than others in these bad times. But that's hogwash. Most teapot crackpots are middle-class and are not suffering in any real sense. As Paul Krugman said in a recent article in The New York Times, "Tea Partiers are relatively affluent, and nobody is angrier these days than the very, very rich." The entire teapot crackpot movement is the wet-dream of people like the Koch brothers whose organizations have constructed and continue to drive the "movement." With two exceptions, you can't get any richer than the Koch brothers!
The teapot crackpots are angry for a variety of reasons, the main one being that we have a "black" man in the White House and the Democrats are in control. In their racist world-view, such things are simply unacceptable. They pretend they're angry about taxes, but their taxes went down last year!!! (It's the Koch brothers who don't want to pay any taxes!) They pretend to be angry about the "bailouts," but it is certainly arguable that the bailouts helped stabilize an economy that was going down the toilet.
Truth and integrity simply do not play a part in the roles played by teapot crackpots and Republicans and various news outlets along with Fox News. While not a conspiracy, each of these groups live with one goal - to destroy the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama! Consider (again from Mr. Krugman) Rush Limbaugh's comment: "Imam Hussein Obama is probably the best anti-American president we've ever had." Or the comment from the Ben Quayle in Arizona that Obama is the worst president ever and he [Quayle] should be elected to Congress so he can "knock the hell out of Washington."
What's really scary is that Ben Quayle is not the dumbest or the worst of the people running for seats in the House and the Senate.
In his book, Moyers On America, Bill Moyers, the famed journalist, takes us back to the presidency of George W. Bush, c. 2003-2004. Karl Rove, who was the mastermind behind Bush Jr., thought the period after the Civil War when modern industrialism "combined into trusts capable of making minions of both politics and government," a time characterized by a "maldistribution of wealth, status, and opportunity" was one of the greatest times in our history. Rove "cherished" this period.
Moyers says, "From his own public comments and my reading of the record, it is apparent that Karl Rove has modeled the Bush presidency on that of William McKinley ... and modeled himself on Mark Hanna [Hanna's the one who "created William McKinley] ... . Hanna had one consummate passion: to serve corporate and imperial power. He believed without compunction, according to a critic, that 'the state of Ohio [his home state] existed for property. It had no other function. . . .Great wealth was to be gained through monopoly, through using the State for private ends; it was axiomatic therefore that businessmen should run the government and run it for personal profit."
And that's exactly what happened under Bush, Jr. The conservative agenda for our nation "is to strip from government all its functions except those that reward their rich and privileged benefactors. ... The [Bush] White House pursues the same homicidal dream without saying so. Instead of shrinking the government, they're filling the bathtub with so much debt that it floods the house, waterlogs the economy, and washes away services that for decades have lifted millions of Americans out of destitution and into the middle class. And what happens once the public's property has been flooded? Privatize it. Sell it at a discounted rate to their corporate cronies."
Tada! That's where the deficit came from. George W. Bush! It is the height of irresponsibility and hypocrisy to lay the blame for the deficit at the feet of President Obama!
The dream of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all is fading into a sunset traumatized colorless and invisible by conservative and corporate pollution. The BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico may or may not have been "accidental," but certainly serves as a metaphor to show how very vulnerable we ordinary citizens are to our corporate overlords who own and operate our government through their paid representatives sitting in the halls of Congress.
That's what the teapot crackpots ought to be angry about!