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Republican history does repeat, and rhymes, and echoes

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Message Ed Martin

In one of his recent appearances, George Will gives us a revealing look into the Republican mind. Yes, that's "the" Republican mind, singular. There's only one, and George is an outstanding example of the singularity of the Republican mind. George would be horrified to know that he shares the mind of Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and, yes, that bumbling incompetent, George Bush. They're all of a piece. 

Here's George's take on the Constitution: "A constitution is supposed to freeze things. It is an anti-evolutionary device as Justice Scalia said. It is intended to put certain things beyond the reach of transient majorities." 

Right off, first thing, George wants to freeze things, the very essence of the conservative mind. If what George says is true, after the Constitution was ratified and adopted in 1788, the first congress would have met, been unable to pass any laws, got up and gone home, never to return. Because, according to George, everything is frozen in place, exactly as it is, with no changes or additions possible, and there would have been no laws passed since 1788. 

George says that the Constitution is an anti-evolutionary device. He doesn't know the difference between a biological process and an open-ended literary statement left to interpretation as needs be, such as, "to promote the general welfare." 

Putting certain things beyond the reach of transient majorities? Well, George, it was a transient majority that wrote and adopted the Constitution, itself. George is not aware that there are always majorities and that they are always transient. He's also not aware that there are provisions in the Constitution that allow it to be changed, by a transient majority. 

What George doesn't realize is that, had he lived before the Constitution was written, he would have been just as much against it then as he is now, trying to make it into something that it is not. 

The producers of the TV shows that put George on public view should be embarrassed to so clearly expose his pseudo-intellectual and failed literary pretensions for all to see. That his intellectual incapacity is the cause of him not knowing any better should not be used to prop him up for ridicule and derision. 

Herbert Hoover, a Republican, was president at the tail-end of eight years of Republican administration at the start of the Great Depression in October of 1929. In 1930, farmers who the administration had encouraged to settle on the high plains in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, and parts of Nebraska and New Mexico, had plowed up the plains and planted and harvested a world record crop of 250 million bushels of wheat. With the depression underway, the bottom fell out of the wheat market, and they couldn't give the wheat away. It piled up in tremendous mounds on the ground outside of the already full wheat storage silos. 

At the same time, the drought in the Mississippi Delta and parts of Arkansas had left people starving. The farmers asked the government to buy the wheat to feed the starving. Hoover rejected the idea out of hand. He refused to interfere with free market, agrarian capitalism. Let them starve. 

Then, the banks that the farmers had put their life savings into failed. The bankers had taken their savings and invested in the stock market, which had crashed. When the farmers, who now had no income, went to the banks to withdraw their savings to live on, they were closed, boarded up; the bankers gone along with their savings. When the farmers asked the government to do something to help restore their lives, you can guess what Hoover said. He didn't dare interfere with the operation of the free market, capitalistic system, and refused. 

In the midst of the Great Recession that started in 2007 at the tail-end of eight years of Republican administration, you can hear from the Republicans a repeat of the exact things Hoover said as his solution to the Great Depression of 1929.   Keep the government out of it, the free market capitalistic system will solve all problems. The free market genie with the invisible hand will take care of everything. The genie, of course, is a fantasy, and the invisible hand, like all things that are invisible, doesn't exist. 

It took Franklin Roosevelt, who took office in 1933, almost 10 years to pull the country out of the Great Depression. He did it by doing exactly the opposite of what the Republicans had done and continued to want to do -- the exact things that had caused it in the first place. He got the government to insure people's savings deposits in banks. He understood that the way out of a depression or a recession was to get the money circulating in the hands of the people to create a demand for goods and services that has a multiplying effect, creating more jobs for people providing those goods and services. 

He did this by doing what the Republicans today are dead set against -- creating programs that provided jobs and paychecks for the unemployed. It worked. We have the same situation now, and if President Obama will just ignore the Republicans and do what Franklin Roosevelt did, the result will be the same. 

The government has only one source of income, taxes. During this recession, tax revenue has dropped to the point where the government can't meet all of its obligations. You can hear the echo of the Republicans of 1930 in the inanities of the Republicans today:   

--The way to increase tax revenue is to decrease tax revenue with more tax cuts. 

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Ed Martin is an ordinary person who is recovering from being badly over-educated. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, he is not affiliated with nor a member of any political, social or religious organization. He is especially interested in (more...)
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