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Obama poised to fulfill Reagan's dream

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President-elect Obama declared his intention today to balance the Federal budget by reducing Medicare and Social Security payments. This is the fulfillment of a cherished Right-wing goal that has been in preparation since Reagan.

One alternative, of course, is to balance the budget by ending the war(s), slashing defense spending, restoring tax rates for the super-wealthy, and cutting subsidies to large corporations.

Another alternative is to say that we are in desperate danger of a depression, and any Keynesian will tell you this is no time to go balancing budgets.

Cutting entitlement and social service programs instead plays perfectly into the hands of the Right.

During Reagan’s administration, the Republicans promulgated huge budget deficits for the first time. This was completely out of character, since Conservatives since Barry Goldwater have always held balanced budgets and fiscal restraint as a central plank in the platform. Reagan wasn’t so dumb. His long-term strategy was to ‘starve the beast’. He would create deficits so huge that his Democratic successors would have no choice but to cut social services in the name of fiscal responsibility. It was Grover Norquist, appointed by Reagan to found his own astroturf organization ‘Americans for Tax Reform’, who talked about shrinking government until you could ‘drown it in the bathtub.’

Right on cue, Bill Clinton followed through the process that Reagan had initiated, slashing social spending by ‘ending welfare as we know it.’

And so we find ourselves in a cycle: Republican presidents create huge deficits with irresponsible tax breaks for the rich and bloody foreign wars. Then Democrats come into power facing huge deficits, and do the ‘responsible’ thing and balance the budget on the backs of the people who can least afford it.

Link to article in today's NYTimes

 

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Josh Mitteldorf, an editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org. Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical modeling in a (more...)
 

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Yes we can?... by August Adams on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 at 5:44:58 PM
What is should have read, from the very beginning:... by steve scheetz on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 9:45:10 AM
fleshing out the phenomenon that you describe and ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 at 5:58:33 PM
No, it's actually the Hegelian Dialectic.Thesi... by William Whitten on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 7:59:06 AM
The Democrats collaborate in both parts of the cyc... by Richard Mynick on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 10:57:57 AM
says.... "let them eat cake!"god help us... by jersey girl on Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 at 7:42:08 PM
... bigger agenda and are played off one another a... by Mr M on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 4:56:36 AM
I find it hard to believe that anyone is really su... by Angelo on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 7:56:35 AM
If Bill Clinton was part of the Reagan conspiracy,... by Perry Logan on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 8:20:07 AM
-the deregulation of banks-the deregulation of bro... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 8:50:18 AM
Bretton Woods conference. This was 2 years before ... by Richard Mynick on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 9:58:17 AM
"both parties are actually tools for a bigger... by Richard Mynick on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 10:40:06 AM
While Obama's proposal to cut Social Security ... by Tim Fleming on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 8:42:10 AM
only nixon could go to China and only a democrat c... by Levon on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 9:38:09 AM
that most of the bailout falls on the shoulders of... by Jack Harrington on Friday, Jan 9, 2009 at 5:50:40 PM