The once-solid Republican Party is now locked in what will prove to be a bitter civil war between its reactionary Tea Party wing and its merely ultra-conservative wing. GOOD! The longer and more severely they fight among themselves, the better off the majority of the country will be! For, even in unity, this wretched party only really represented the interests of a minority of this nation: huge corporations, the wealthiest 1%, and a delusional cult of naive economic wannabes. The aberrant nature of the party’s midterm election victory in 2010, plus their ignorant refusal to accept basic fact (caused by their overreliance on the heavily-slanted Fox “News” and ridiculously skewed public opinion polls leading up to their November 6 election defeat) lulled this wretched party into a distorted sense of false security, overconfidence, and arrogant smugness. They are now paying dearly for this mistake!
The GOP has been shellshocked by the reelection of President Obama and their failure to capture control of the U.S. Senate. Normal non-deluded people understand the folly of such crazy Republican beliefs: after two solid years of John Boehner campaigning on the importance of creating new jobs and then turning around and blocking numerous presidential and/or Democratic Party attempts to pass a jobs creation bill, the GOP was deservedly slapped hard for its reliance on obstruction and stalling rather than delivering what they had been promising. For some unexplained reason, these foolish Republicans can’t understand that Americans are FED UP with paying rigidly partisan morons like Eric Cantor more than $174,000 apiece to merely sit around and do NOTHING each year, especially in this time of great need, growing wealth disparity, and shrinking economic opportunity for everyday workers! By a 2 to 1 margin, voters favor an end to the ridiculous Bush tax cuts for the rich, and are angry that the GOP has steadfastly refused to enact fairer, higher taxes on the wealthy. While constantly clamoring about the dangers of our staggering national debt (and feigning great concern for what it will hold for our future descendants), these Republicans have fought any raise in taxes of any kind, especially increases targeting the wealthy. Self-centered and totally mistaken trust-funder Grover Norquist has seen to that! They lie to us and tell us new, higher taxes on the rich will hurt the so-called “job creators” and add to unemployment. How do we know this is a lie? Obviously, because the massive tax reductions given to the rich since 2001 have produced the slowest rate of job growth since the Great Depression of 1929!
After said depression, labor unions were legalized and were able to collectively bargain on behalf of workers. The middle and upper classes began to grow tremendously. Demand for goods and services skyrocketed as a result, and the nation’s prosperity began a strong and sustained surge. Marred only by occasional 1 or 2 year mild recessions, this growth spurt in production, efficiency, and prosperity continued for well over 40 years.There can be no denying that this “demand-side” approach to our economy yielded great gains across the board. By the mid-1970s, this growth began to slow due to a number of unforseen factors. Hit by rapidly rising energy costs (caused by the formation of OPEC and rampant speculative greed here at home), business owners began to feel the pinch of rising prices. They worried that high domestic labor costs were making American-made goods less competitive across the globe, so they began making bold and drastoc anti-labor moves. First they all but destroyed labor unions in private enterprise. Wheras from the 1930s onward, clerks, manufacturing workers, printers, miners, auto workers, tradesmen of all sorts, and even cooks and servers were unionized and earning a livable wage with good benefits, by the 1990s, many of these unions and the jobs they protected were gone. In some cases greedy business owners had them decertified; in other cases, the jobs themselves became increasingly outsourced to cheaper, slave-wage labor markets outside of our borders.
Beginning with the Reagan presidency in 1981, some conservative economists began advocating what they termed “supply-side” economics. Rather than giving workers good wages to increase demand for goods and raise production, misguided economists like Milton Friedman, fearful of inflation, began pushing for reduced taxes, especially on big businesses and the very wealthy, and holding the line on labor’s wages. They believed this to be the ideal way to spur job creation and foster growth. Carried to an extreme, as many greedy capitalists soon did, this philosophy has proven to be devastating to American workers and the poor! Labor unions all but disappeared in the private sector; benefit packages were reduced or even eliminated; and a three decade-long freezing and/or decline in workers’ wages was the result. Outsourcing became rampant, and finally, demand for goods fell, as workers could no longer afford to buy them. Alongside these new “supply-side” ideas came the call for greatly reduced regulation of big business. Though initiated mainly by conservative Republicans, many Democrats also fell sway to this notion. The primary results from this course have been disastrous – rampant greed and speculation on Wall Street and mortgage banking – which in large part caused the recent Great Recession. We are still struggling to emerge from this latest downturn, and many have suffered needlessly due to this.
The Republicans played a heavy hand in bringing about all of this resultant market chaos. Their steady refusal to raise taxes (especially on the rich), even in the face of mounting record fiscal deficits, has deservedly worked against them. They are correctly no longer being viewed as the party of fiscal responsibility. In fact, they have come to be known as the party of and for solely the rich. Their recent economic stances have proven them to be out of touch with the general public, and even unfit for governance. This does not bode well for them ever being able to again capture control of the White House or Congress!
Regrettably, many reactionary and bitterly partisan Republican neocons remain in Congress, notably Paul Ryan, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, nd the nastiest and most uncompromising one of all, Mitch McConnell. We progressives must fight their obstructionist attempts tooth and nail, until they are defeated or retired.
At long last, though, some key Republicans have shown signs that they are beginning to question and may even buck some of the party’s long-held convictions. Influential GOP commentator Bill Kristol, for example, has publicly stated that the proposed 3.6% tax increase on the highest salaries would have minimal effect on the economy, but would help reduce the deficit. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal sharply criticized loser Mitt Romney for his divisive post-election comments as to why Obama won the election. Numerous other Republicans have chimed in too, with varying degrees of support for some kind of revenue increases. These all represent the first cracks in the formerly solid Republican wall of opposition to any form of bipartusan cooperation, and they are hopeful signs which must be encouraged!