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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/14/20

Things We Should Know but We Don't

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"It is not nearly as widely known as it should be.

The U.S. economy performs much better when a Democrat is president than when a Republican is. By some measures, the partisan gap is so large it strains credulity."

"Presidents and the U.S. economy, an Econometric Exploration"

Alan Blinder and Mark Watson, Economists, Princeton University

THE ECONOMY

We should all know which party is best at handling the economy. But very few of us do. A large portion of Americans believe Republicans are better at managing the economy simply because they have been told that. Few people have the interest to dig into the facts to find out which party actually has the better track record.

Blinder and Watson, Princeton economists, have studied this question, as have others. Their findings leave little doubt that the economy does better under Democrats. Below are econometric data for the past 50 years. This data is readily available in public government databases such as those of the US Department of Labor. You will notice that in this period, Democrats created almost twice as many jobs, four times the stock market returns, 1.6 times the GDP increase, and 3.7 times the income growth compared to Republicans. The economy has done better under Democrats. Yet people who care about the economy vote for Republicans anyway. There is a serious shortfall of the public's awareness of these facts.

Democrat & Republican Econometrics
Democrat & Republican Econometrics
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TAX CUTS

A main tenet of Republican fiscal policy is that tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations lead to an increase in income and jobs. This is called "Trickle Down" economics. There is no evidence to support this claim. The Kansas experiment is one example where the opposite happened. In 2012, Kansas implemented deep tax cuts for the wealthy and for businesses. Soon after the tax cuts, Kansas went into a steep decline in jobs and in state revenues. Republicans have the false idea that employers expand or contract their operations as taxes are lowered or raised. Commercial operations are driven by consumer demands not by taxes. The drop in state revenues meant that Kansas could no longer continue with the same number of teachers, services and operations. Unemployment increased, public schools in rural areas were closed, and government services were reduced. In 2017 Kansas had to repeal all the tax cuts they had given the wealthy.

This is an example of why the economy has done better under Democrats. Unfortunately few voters are aware of this. Meanwhile Republicans continue to give big tax breaks to millionaires while telling us how good things will be when the billionaires have more money.

DEREGULATION

Both the Great Depression (1929) and the Great Recession (2008) started during Republican administrations and with similar causes of illogical insatiable speculations in the sock markets. The Glass-Steagall bill was passed to prevent a repeat of these high-risk speculations that helped trigger the Great Depression. Of course there were other factors involved in the depression, but unsecured high-risk speculation by investment banks played a major roll. In general, Republicans are opposed to all regulations. Glass-Steagall successfully prevented major market crashes for several decades. But then Republicans led the effort to repeal Glass-Steagall. Alan Greenspan, the staunch conservative Chairman of the Federal Reserve for 19 years, was one of the leaders of the repeal effort.

This repeal of Glass-Steagall regulations, led to the Great Recession of 2008. Alan Greenspan admitted to congress that the repeal of Glass-Steagall banking regulations was a big mistake. Even though Greenspan is one of the top economists, he did not anticipate the disastrous effects of removing banking regulations. Republican opposition to appropriate and necessary regulations is one reason the economy has not done as well under Republicans as under Democrats.

FREE MARKETS

Then there is the Medicare Drug Bill scandal that few people know about. Republicans are always extolling the benefits of free markets because the open competition results in the best products at the lowest prices. But Republicans passed a drug bill that prohibited the unrestricted free market pricing of drugs.

In 2003, Billy Tauzin, a Republican congressman from Louisiana was given the responsibility of defining the rules in the Medicare Drug Bill. Billy was not sure what to do so he called the drug companies and told them to write the bill. The drug companies cheerfully wrote the drug bill rules that prohibited free market pricing. 82% of Republicans voted to remove competition driven pricing for drugs while 76% of Democrats voted against outlawing competitive pricing. The bill passed and the drug companies started making even more billions in profits.

This meant that Medicare pays whatever prices the drug companies want them to pay no matter how overpriced they are. If you want to know why Republicans did this, you are not paying attention. Republicans always support corporate profits and multi-million dollar executive compensations over the working class.

After the bill had passed, Republican Billy Tauzin felt bad that he took so much money from all the working families in America and gave it to a handful of billionaire drug executives. To cheer him up, the drug companies hired Billy as a lobbyist at a rate of $2 million per year. I doubt that many people are aware of this back door corruption, but we should be.

THE LEGAL RECORD

Scandals are always mentioned in the media but the overall big picture is obscured by our focus on current events. We might remember a few high-profile names and events from Nixon's Watergate or Reagan's Iran-Contra Scandal or Trump's Impeachment, but in general we never look at the historical partisan perspective. Here is a brief summary (executive branch only).

Executive Branch Criminal Activities
Executive Branch Criminal Activities
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Not many people are aware of the fact that there is such an enormous difference between Republicans and Democrats in criminal indictments and convictions. This is probably because the media is always focused on current events and rarely on historical patterns.

Individuals involved in Executive Branch wrongdoing are listed below*. Pardons, resignations, and plea-bargains, make it difficult to compile this list but this is the best that can be fairly and objectively determined. The totals are generally recognized as an acceptable summary.

Republicans

Nixon

Agnew, Rebozo, Mitchell, Kleindienst, Magruder, LaRue, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Krogh, Dean, Chapin, Klambach, Colson, Porter, Liddy, Stans, Cook, Dent, Gleason, Helms,Segretti, Watergate, 69 government officials charged, 48 convicted.

Ford

Butz

Reagan

Paisley, Gaines, Cohen, Pierce, Watt, Dean, Winn, Demery, Strauss, DeBartolomeis,

Meese, Nofziger, Biaggi, Keating Five, Iran-Contra Affair, Fedders, Savas, Weinberger, McFarlane, Abrams, Fiers, George, North, Hall, Poindexter, Clarridge, Secord, Clines, Channell, Miller, Fernandez, Deaver, Gorsuch, Lavelle, Giuffrida, Villella,Helms, Nimmo, Voss, Campbell, Meckllenburg, Fiske

George H. W. Bush

Issued pardons to 6 convicted in Iran Contra Affair, Villalpando,

George W. Bush

Schmitz, Harvey, Weightman, Kiley, Goeglein, Bloch, Libby, Jackson, Rove, Griffin, Krongard, Gonzales, Miers, Battle, Schlozman, Elston, McNulty, Mercer, Sampson, Goodling, Bolten, Taylor, 5 million emails deleted, Doan, Griles, Korsmo, Cooney, Abramoff, Safavian, Stillwell, Ralston, Griles, Federici, Zachares, Coughlin, Foggo, MacDonald, Allen, Crawford, Yellowcake forgery, $1.5 billion cash lost in Iraq, Lawyergate, Shaw, Kerik, Armitage, Scully, Rehnquist, Yoo, Truscott, Atchison, Druyun

Trump

Impeached in 2019, Pruitt, Kelly, Perrotta, Dravis, Papadopoulos, Flynn, Bradford, Price, Fitzgerald, Sorensen, Simpson, Trump, Porter, Tooke, Gates, Cohen, McDougal, Manafort, Zinke, Stone, Acosta, Mueller investigation - 34 indictments, 7 convictions.

Democrats

Johnson

Baker

Carter

none

Clinton

Blackley, Watkins, Impeachment acquittal

Obama

Archuleta, Shinseki, Lerner, Grant, Flynn, Johnson, Petraeus, Mendoza

This large difference between Republicans and Democrats raises the question - "Is this a coincidence or is it symptomatic of basic character differences?" The extent and consistency of the data makes this impossible to be a coincidence. Republican venal values and their arrogant disregard for honesty and responsibility are being studied by universities and by psychologists to help explain these unpatriotic anomalies.

The historical record clearly shows that the economy has done better under Democrats and Democrats have higher levels of ethics and honesty.

Voters should be aware of these major differences in political parties but they are not. This is a serious problem in American politics.

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The author was a Spacecraft Engineer on NASA's Apollo program and a Computer Science instructor at California State University. He holds a Master's degree in Systems Engineering from the University of California and has traveled extensively (more...)
 

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