Listening these days to GOP leaders describing passionately the remedy to our economic woes is stunning exercise in illusion, amnesia and group madness. Their devised plan to address all our personal and national problems consists of two words “cutting taxes.”
While, the few well recognized -republican representatives- left in congress, show their frustration with the proposed stimulus package consisting of both tax cuts and government spending, they explain in unyielding voices that tax cuts are the sole engine behind growth, wealth, and job creation. They talk confidently about the role of small businesses, the entrepreneurial spirit of the unregulated economy, and the future negative impact of the spiral deficit. The representatives then explain to us their role as guardians of the taxpayers’ money, and their obligation to reject all government spending, because government spending is always waste.
As I listen to the same tried and failed proposals, argued by conservative leaders I ponder a simple question. What is the future of the Republican Party in our country?
Less than two weeks ago, we completed eight years of tax cuts and unregulated markets.
America lost over three million jobs in the last year alone; the GDP shrunk by annual rate of 3.8%, the largest loss in Growth Domestic Product in twenty-seven years. The credit seized to exist, the housing market collapsed, the stock market lost 40% of its value, and the budget surplus turned into a deficit, while the same representatives applauded the government idiotic moves that produced these catastrophic results.
All these conditions might be coincident, or the stars aligned against America, but it happened under a policy of tax cuts, and unregulated economy. Therefore, regardless of abstract ideas -such as fairness and reasoning- Americans have the right to hold the past eight years polices accountable to the current economic crisis. It is even predictable that Americans will reject the premise that doing the same thing over, will most likely produce different results. So, which part of the problem these leaders fail to recognize?
Do the Republican leaders realize that the GOP convincing defeats in the last two-election cycles isn’t a natural phenomenon, but a popular vote on certain policies rejected by the American people? Do they understand the simple rule of cause and effect?
The answer to these two questions will determine the GOP future in the American political system, or for that matter the lack of it.
A quick study of the proposed stimulus package reveals the major failures of the Republican Party approach to governing. The proposed package consists of two-thirds government spending and one-third tax cuts. This in itself shows the difference in evolution between the two major parties. While the governing Democratic Party under Obama’s leadership concluded that tax cuts have a role to play in invigorating the economy -unusual for liberals-, the Republican Party froze in time and ideology, failed to understand the value of using additional tools such as spending.
The government spending called for in the package and turned down by every Republican in congress is one example of the extremely illogical and inflexible positions of the Republican establishment.
Government spending means hiring the private sector to complete certain projects. These projects are required to create badly needed job opportunities and in many cases to address necessary improvements in infrastructure, education, health care, information technology, and energy.
Did the republican leaders have the IQ, or intellect power, to question how private sector can finance these projects without government help in the current credit market conditions?
Did these leaders wonder –even for a second- why America is the single advanced country still using papers for patient records? Moreover, how much of the 30% administrative cost of healthcare we would eliminate by such automation?
Did they ask themselves why such projects never happened even when credit was flawing?
The same type of questions would apply to all previously mentioned areas of the economy.