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The Republican Right's Long Affair With Voodoo Economics

By       Message Bill Hare     Permalink
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What an irony it was that the very person who cheer-led the high priest of voodoo economics at a different point in political time nailed it down precisely as the danger it constitutes.

Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush, or Bush the Elder, sought the Republican nomination in 1980 at a time when the eastern Republican Party establishment was on its last legs.

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This was not the same Bush we saw eight years later exploiting through communications mudmeister Lee Atwater bogus issues like Willie Horton and the Pledge of Allegiance while solidly touting his membership in the National Rifle Association.

The George Bush of 1988 positioned himself in many ways like his son 12 years later as a grand Texas cowboy, a good old gun touting American buttressed by God, Mom, apple pie and the flag.

In the preceding two presidential election cycles since Bush had initially sought the Republican nomination, the candidate that Richard Nixon derided as "the kind of guy who gets appointed to things" had conveniently abandoned and forgotten the soundest, most intelligent political policy observation of his career.

This was the George Bush who constituted the last gasp of the eastern Republican establishment, a candidate who identified with his New England roots and rejected the kind of corporate radical conservatism that Ronald Reagan and his California colleagues were packaging.

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The millionaires who constituted Reagan's kitchen cabinet when he served two terms as California governor sold him on the idea of a restoration of the trickle-down economics of presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. This concept and what accompanied it resulted in the Great Depression.

Not only was money trickled down from those of great wealth to those at the bottom of the economic ladder, it was accompanied by a tenet that Reagan embraced as well. He frequently repeated the phrase of "Get the government off of people's backs."

The fact that the American financial community lacked the kind of enforcement machinery that Franklin Delano Roosevelt applied during the New Deal through a stalwart Securities and Exchange Commission allowed economic anarchy to prevail. The result was the Great Depression.

In addition to the foregoing, a lobby of Cold War zealots nicknamed Team B created a false scenario in which the United States was seen as lagging dangerously behind the Soviet Union in defense spending. The nation stood to lose the Cold War.

This erroneous conclusion was reached through a fallacious measuring standard. Soviet defense expenditures were measured in real U.S. dollars, which created a distorted picture of the Soviets running wild in the defense realm, while in reality they were not.

The American picture was skewed by Pentagon cost overruns that, when falsely measured against Soviet activity, created a thoroughly unrealistic picture of zealous defense production designed ultimately to destroy America.

By coupling a massive across-the-board tax cut, much of which would go to the nation's most affluent Americans, alongside a significant rise in defense spending, the Reagan team was flirting with economic disaster.

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A California economist named Arthur Laffer created what became known as the Laffer Curve. This erroneous concept stood for the proposition that by delivering a massive tax cut that the ensuing result would be sharply increasing revenue that would be so massive that no deficit would result.

George H.W. Bush was correct in referring to this dangerous idea under the heading of voodoo economics. Wave a magic wand and Merlin the Magician or some other practitioner of that type would generate massive surpluses spurred on by Laffer Curve magic.

While Bush the Elder cheer-led the Reagan era from his vice-presidential pedestal the voodoo economics about which he warned took hold of the nation.

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Began in the journalism field in hometown of Los Angeles. Started as Sports Editor and Movie Writer at Inglewood Daily News chain after working in sportswriting of high school events at the Los Angeles Examiner.

Received a bachelor's in (more...)

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