The Republican party is losing its "business base" because it's on the wrong side of every issue that will decide the Presidency and the make up of congress. Those issues include the economy, the endless war, ballooning deficits and health care. A killer issue is a fact gaining traction even among the GOP: the GOP is bad for a good economy. I've got the stats to prove that beyond any reasonable doubt. Also spelling doom for the GOP is the fact that even hard-nose businessmen are "fed up" with GOP myopia, its fanatical obsession with so-called "social issues", primarily, abortion and gay marriage. These are not the "wedge issues" they used to be. People are just sick of hearing about it! Give it a frickin' rest.
Focus On Social Issues. Countless businessmen I know tell me they are exhausted with the Republicans' focus on abortion, gay marriage, and the host of social issues the party insists on putting on the front burner. Business journals have similar reports. This is not surprising, for all polls show that for most Americans, these are not the centrally important issues.
--John Dean, The Dwindling Republican Business Base: It's the Economy, StupidThis is expected from so-called progressives and liberals, but the growing sense of discontent and malaise found among those who would normally vote or consider themselves GOP may spell utter disaster come election day. Like everyone else, it seems, business people are likewise fed up with the endless war against Iraq.
With all due respect to John Dean, whose columns for Findlaw never fail to cut to the chase, I have been saying for years that when it comes to the economy, any credit given the GOP is unfounded. The GOP has presided over worse economic growth married to increased federal spending at least since World War II. The administration of Ronald Reagan should have been the wake up call. Reagan's tax cut of 1982 was followed by a depression of some two years. GOP types counter that following the recession, the economy rebounded with a boom. Hardly! At the end of two years of negative growth, in fact the worst "depression" since the crash of 1929, Americans were lucky that the economy merely resumed an anemic 3 percent growth rate, nothing to write home about. Big corporations could write off many losses but inividuals and families, as usual, were stuck with the tab. Many never really fully recovered.
We haven't seen incompetence on this scale since Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan or Bush Sr. (all Republicans, need I remind?)
The time has come to bury forever two tired, old, worn-out GOP shibboleths: 1) Wealth does not and never will trickle down; 2) there is no invisible hand! Just ask Larry Craig. In the meantime, check out these budget deficits below, caused primarily by profligate tax cuts which have never stimulated the economy and have, in fact, never trickled down. Notice that the worst deficits --like terrorism --are worse during GOP regimes.
The War In Iraq. Just as many other Americans find the war in Iraq an unqualified disaster, businesspeople tell reporters that they do not like the lies Bush and Cheney told, to take us into a war that will likely only create more terrorists hating America. Like many others, they see this as dangerous folly. In addition, the war has been a fiscal disaster, with billions thrown away and no accounting whatsoever. As a retired Westinghouse manager and lifelong Republican told the Wall Street Journal, "'We've lost control of spending,' and the administration's execution of the Iraq war has been 'incompetent.'" Businesspeople have little tolerance for incompetence; only true ideologues can over look it.
--John Dean, The Dwindling Republican Business Base: It's the Economy, Stupid
According to supply-side theory, these actions should have nudged the economy in the right direction, not plunged it into the worst recession in 40 years. Other problems involve timing: Reagan's first tax cuts went into effect in 1982, but this was also the summer that the Federal Reserve Board slashed interest rates and expanded the money supply. Most economists believe the Fed, not Reagan, was responsible for the following recovery. Finally, the recession of 1990 began four months before Bush broke his "no new taxes" pledge. The recession began in July 1990; Bush signed his tax increases into law in November 1990.
And supply-siders are careful to note that Reagan's was the longest peacetime expansion since World War II. In truth, the Kennedy-Johnson expansion was longer: 106 months compared to Reagan's 92.1 Moreover, the Fed's "peace time expansion" following Ronald Reagan's "depression" of almost two years was uneven. The worst income disparities in American history had already been triggered. As if by design, Reagan's rich base got even richer and everyone else lost ground. They are still losing ground despite an all to brief respite in Bill Clinton's second term. The GOP has ruined the American economy, perhaps forever. The budget shown below --your money squandered by Bush.
The terms "liberal" and "conservative" are all but meaningless in the world apres-Bush. Both terms already mean something different than they did in the 19th Century. For example, British economist John Maynard Keynes was until very recently scorned by the right wing; his brand of economics was called "liberal" and he was simplistically, perhaps, simple-mindedly, associated with Marx. Yet, Keynes took issue with Karl Marx on key points. "I don't want a social revolution", Keynes said. He went on to characterize poverty as a "...dysfunctional threat" to a capitalist system which he favored. Fact is, Keynes, for all his notoriety was conservative.
Nevertheless, that Keynes denounced "poverty" is enough to earn him the enmity of modern conservatives who obviously like the feelings of superiority they experience when millions of others are without jobs and scrambling to feed themselves or, as Bush put it, to "...put food on your families".
It is Keynes' use of the phrase "...extending the traditional functions of government" that inspires conservatives to cross themselves and wear garlic. It was by "extending" those traditional functions that Keynes believed unemployment could be eliminated. This is, of course, anathema to laissez-faire throwbacks like Ron Paul whose economic thinking is stuck in 19th Century mud.
The same conservatives are not bothered by "extensions of government" effected by Reagan, Bush Sr., and now the Shrub. Ronald Reagan's program would have been thought "liberal" had the same program been advocated by a Democrat. As Richard Nixon committed the nation to deficits of truly "liberal" proportions, he famously said: "We are all Keynesians now".
The GOP has managed to screw up even that tried and proven formula. When Democrats practice Keynesian economics, it works. When the GOP does it, the nation slides into recession or depression as the rich get rich off the carcasses left behind. Check the chart! The reason for that is the fact that GOP "tax cuts" enrich an already elite. Very little of any of those "tax cut windfalls" ever trickle down to anyone in any way at any time. It is probably found offshore like every job that the GOP has managed to export despite the bullshit that was told me by Milton Friedman personally.
The biggest spending "liberals" are the GOP, yet, unlike "big spending Democrats" whose deficits were accompanied by handsome and egalitarian growth, GOP big spending is invariably associated with depression, stagflation, outsourcing and rising unemployment! If this is done deliberately to enrich cronies, then the GOP leadership should be tried en masse for criminal conspiracy. If not, they should be pilloried as the lying incompetents that they have proven themselves to be.
The GOP find hypocrisy expedient and a recent "debate" is a case in point. All GOPcandidates all but bowed low to praise Herr Bush who has now outspent Ronald Reagan with even less good, Keynesian effect! Reagan had been our biggest spending liberal, tripling the national debt, running up historically high deficits, doubling the size of the Federal Bureaucracy. None of it worked as planned because none of it benefited working Americans. Reagan had in mind "extending the traditional functions of government" but only in order to benefit the wealthy and the corporate.
Even the GOP cannot ignore the effect that the war against Iraq has had on the US economy. But, as John Dean points out, business folk, normally considered the GOP base, are just as fed up with the war as are most other, normal Americans. No one can now deny the fact that the war against Iraq has very nearly defeated the US economy, now on the brink of economic collapse. Google the title: "Terrorism is always worse under GOP Regimes". That was originally my article and it would appear that it has gone "viral". I am grateful that those who have graciously published it on hundreds, if not thousands of blogs and other sites, are kind enough to link back to the original which is parked right here on this cowboy's ranch. Let us hope that another irrefutable truth goes viral: the Republican party is bad for a good economy!
--The Reagan Years
Len Hart is a Houston based film/video producer specializing in shorts and full-length documentaries. He is a former major market and network correspondent; credits include CBS, ABC-TV and UPI. He maintains the progressive blog: The (more...)