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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/4/19

The GOP's Most Successful Scam Is About to Reboot Itself

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From Common Dreams

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Republicans pour on the tax cuts and spending increases, year after year, whenever they have the power to do so, to intentionally inflate the national debt


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Get ready to see it on your TV. The GOP is about to kick back into Two Santa Clauses mode and restart the scam they've been running since Reagan.

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It'll predictably begin in the first week or two of January, probably first on "Meet the Press" and other Sunday shows that feature "serious thinkers" and only rarely challenge Republicans. It'll simultaneously roll out on Fox, on right-wing hate radio, and in the conservative media.

And there are more than a few "Third Way" Democrats eager to go along with it.

At its core, the strategy is simple and elegant: When Republicans are in power, run up as much debt as possible, mostly by borrowing and giving that cash to the Republican donor class through tax cuts and corporate subsidies; when Democrats have political power, Republicans suddenly become hysterical about the debt and demand that Dems keep taxes low while cutting social spending.

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If successful, not only will Republicans (and corporate-funded Dems) block any genuinely progressive spending legislation in 2019 or 2020, but they'll prevent any possibility of debt-free college, Medicare for All, or a Green New Deal in the entire next presidential term, clear through 2024 or beyond.

For this remarkably successful 38-year-long GOP head-fake strategy, you can thank a guy named Jude Wanniski.

Odds are you've never heard of Jude, but without him Reagan never would have become a "successful" president, Republicans only rarely would have taken control of the House or Senate, and neither George Bush would have been president.

It all began in 1964, when Barry Goldwater went down to ignominious and massive defeat. Most Republicans felt doomed, among them the then-28-year-old Wanniski. They had to come up with a new message, he knew, instead of just "drugs are bad," "school segregation is good," and "Democrats are communists."

But what? The GOP seemed totally out of ideas. They floated a series of initiatives through the '60s, mostly previewing Nixon's "War on Drugs" and their anti-Soviet rhetoric, but nothing caught fire.

Then came 1974, as Nixon went down in flames even harder than Goldwater had, and Ford would soon follow: Jude Wanniski decided he'd had enough.

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It's the Gift Economy, Stupid

Wanniski concluded that if the GOP was to have a new message, it would have to be all about the economy.

The problem for the GOP was that the Democrats, since FDR, had gotten to play Santa Claus when they passed out Social Security and Unemployment checks -- both programs of the New Deal -- as well as when their "big government" projects like roads, bridges, and highways were built, giving a healthy union paycheck to construction workers.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

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