Setting the record straight
There is a bizarre persistent narrative in the mainstream media that there is some kind of equivalently dysfunctional behavior on both the right and the left sides of the political spectrum. While there is certainly plenty of dysfunction left, right, and center, the kind that is killing this country is the greed-based variety found almost exclusively on the right.
Fighting wars off-budget while simultaneously cutting taxes is a neo-conservative idea. Rebranding the same stuff under the Tea Party Express name while fueling it with race baiting and the same gun toting, gay hating, kill-the government message is a more extreme version of the recipe George W Bush served up. It was wrong in its day. It’s current more virulent strain is worse.
No matter what you call it, we all should have learned from our involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the simultaneous budget / banking crisis. No rebranding campaign can change the ugly truth of the Bush record. A compelling case can and should be made to more drastically change policy direction to deal with greater domestic need.
Here are some populist suggestions. We need to fund the rescue of the middle class by raising taxes on rich folks and corporations. We need to hold corporations accountable, especially those who are not acting in the best interest of the country. Regulation, progressive fines / excise taxes, and a possible corporate death penalty of polluters, promulgators of unfair labor practices, and those who permanently ship industries overseas are all necessary and long overdue. We should reward the creation of US based living wage jobs with benefits and fair labor practices. Other countries protect their domestic industries while holding them accountable. It’s time we do it in defense of our own middle class.
Public works / infrastructure building programs are more necessary now than they’ve ever been. Since Republican governors decided not to spend substantial portions of the last stimulus package, the President needs to go back to the Congress and remind them that stimulus will provide needed demand side relief to the economy. It will only happen if the dollars actually get spent.
Another oft repeated bizarre narrative is that we can’t afford to take care of ourselves. This right wing nonsense has been used to justify denying health coverage to the uninsured, education to under-funded schools, various physical infrastructure repairs, and now disaster relief.
It is immoral to insist on cutting social programs as a “deal” for funding disaster victims while continuing to fund elective wars on a no-questions asked basis. Representative Cantor and Republican supporters have ceded any little moral authority they may have been able to claim with this position. This should be an issue in the home districts of all Republicans in 2012.
We should have learned from Bush’s shameful Katrina performance. No American should be abandoned in time of need, especially when disaster strikes. No sanctimonious Perry prayer or Bachmannism invoking “God” should distract the electorate from the moral consequences of budget decisions. We still are not a theocracy. Perry and Bachmann are about as unholy as candidates from office get. They are more entitled to our pity and prayers than they are to our votes.