5 reasons why America has a Republican problem

And as long as the “carried interest” loophole gives millionaire hedge fund managers a massive tax break, we have a revenue problem, too

LOLGOP-1Tune in to Fox News for a few minutes and they’re bound to tell you what America’s problem is — as if they’re not it.

The truth is we don’t have a spending problem, we have a people repeating what they hear on Fox News problem. This effective, purposeful creation of an alternate Republican universe where cutting spending helps the economy — unless it’s military spending! — and the deficit is the reason people are out of work is hurting the economy and keeping people out of work.

America has a Republican problem that has given us a chronic jobs problem. Until we get millions of people back to work, we won’t have the stability in our hierarchy of needs to be able to tackle the very real climate crisis we face — and we’ll never go about creating the good jobs we need to actually save the middle class.

Here’s what you need to tell people about America’s Republican Problem.

1. The Republicans’ problem is that the deficit is shrinking too fast. That’s why they want to act now to gut Medicare and Social Security while they have the chance.
FACT: The federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such period since World War II. This fact blows away every Republican talking point because it points out 1) George W. Bush created the trillion dollar deficit that the GOP blames on this president, 2) under President Obama federal spending has grown less than any president since Eisenhower and 3) our recovery, which is much better than most of the world’s, is shrinking the deficit.

2. President Obama has already signed $2.3 trillion in deficit cuts, 3/4 of it spending cuts.
Until the Bush Tax Cuts expired and Republicans were forced to deal with revenue increases, President Obama has cut the Bush deficit entirely with spending cuts. These spending cuts hurt the economy much more than tax increases, especially tax increases on the rich. This seems to be the GOP plan: Keep the deficit crisis going to cut the parts of government we don’t like. And keep saying spending is the problem so you don’t have to cuts ridiculous tax loopholes that give away billions to those who need it least.

DeficitReduction_fig1-1
[Chart by Center for American Progress]

3. We have two long-term problems — long-term unemployment and long-term debt. And only one matters right now.
Anyone who tells you that America is like Greece is insulting your intelligence. We have no worries about paying our debt. Republicans have claimed for over 4 years now that borrowing would cause rampant inflation and the world would eventually stop buying our debt. The opposite happened. We will have a serious debt problem in a decade or two as baby boomers retire and live long, expensive lives. And it will be much worse if we don’t deal with our real crisis.

Our much more serious problem is long-term unemployment. Nearly 5 million Americans have been out of work for over 27 weeks. The longer you’ve been out of a job, the harder it is to find a new one and the less likely it is you’ll ever make up the earning and salary growth you lost. Poorer and middle class Americans will have to work harder and be more dependent on the government. In a sane society, we would be doing everything we could to get these people working, even direct government hiring if necessary. But the future of these Americans is being sacrificed to the Republican agenda.

4. If our health care costs were in line with costs in other countries, we would be looking at budget surpluses, not deficits.
We already pay for each other’s insurance, just in the dumbest possible way. For what we pay for health care we could be covering every American for less if we weren’t forced to deal with the Republican Party’s willingness to prioritize corporations over people.

5. Fixing the deficit is easy. Just put people back to work.
The Bush tax breaks were designed to solve a problem that Republicans had been avoiding for years — a balanced budget. When you have a balanced budget, you can’t cut the programs you don’t like just because you don’t like them. So create a deficit and start cutting! The bulk of our deficit comes from purposely dumb Bush decisions and can easily be rectified by putting people back to work. The fact that we are talking about cutting instead of jobs is a tribute to just how bad our Republican problem really is.

,

  • Georgina

    You are so right. Excellent piece of work Chris. When you talk about people repeating what they hear on Fox News is not only true but scary. I hear it in my own family and you can look at any comment section on any news sight to recognize the problem. Their views are normally insults, name calling, and any other form of projecting their anger against anything that does not look, think, or talk like they do.

    Trying to have a sensible discussion on how to solve the problems you write about is impossible. I do appreciate Eclectablog for a little bit of sanity.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Thanks but this post was written by the inestimable LOLGOP. And I agree with completely.

  • http://twitter.com/TruthsRonin Cato III

    I agree that Republican propaganda is a significant problem but so is the Democratic propaganda. For instance, there seems to be a lack of effectiveness of the democrats in power, especially Obama, to communicate the points you bring up in your article about the “reality” of our improving situation. Furthermore, not all democrats agree with your rosy description. Tom Harkin for example voted no on the fiscal cliff deal because it doesn’t deliver what it should, as many other democrats contend (http://www.npr.org/2013/01/01/168417043/harkin-explains-no-vote-on-fiscal-cliff-deal).

    This also says nothing of the problems that a Democrat-controlled government brings to the table of its own pathology. Obama has done a lot to seriously undermine civil liberties, has reneged on campaign promises made, and continues unabated the unchecked classification of executive functioning, to name but a few. While the economy is important to social functioning and well-being, there is more to the picture than just jobs and deficits. I understand your focus is on this one particular issue but the democrats are just as problematic for similar reasons in different areas – and this is an important point that must be addressed, lest your argumentation and critique become more partisan hackery.

    Finally, I think it’s important to bring up epistemology. Your article is convincing: it’s reasoned and well-structured and you site your sources, but, ultimately, how can we trust that the information you’re citing is legitimate? Having some first-hand experience in DC has led me to one conclusion: trusting information is very difficult, even that coming from the educated and power elites.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Your concern is noted.

  • Hoopster

    Well of course the deficit (in terms of absolute percentage points of GDP) is going to fall alot over the past couple years. When was the last time that the deficit ever got to 10% of GDP?

    But Bush didn’t “create” this massive deficit, it was created by the popping of the housing and credit bubbles. And those bubbles were “created” by a lot more constituents than just the President.

  • Hoopster

    The bulk of our deficit comes from the economic downturn since prior to that, back in 2007 for example, our deficit was only a couple hundred billion under the same Bush tax rates we had last year plus we were fighting lots of wars. What’s changed between then and now that we have trillion dollar plus deficits? The economy is in the tank

  • Fritz721

    Look up the definition of “unfunded liability” then google the estimated unfunded liability of SS, Medicare, and Medicaid and you’ll see there’s nothing to “gut.”

    I don’t understand how you can actually believe point #2. You can look up the treasury’s annual report of receipts and outlays for as far back as 2000 if you were so inclined. In 2012 The govt. took in 200 billion more dollars than Bush in 2007 (highest rev yr for GW) but had a deficit five times the size as the deficit for 2007. You can blame Bush for 2009′s deficit, if you must blame someone, since revenues dried up, and bailouts drastically hiked spending. Problem is instead of reverting to “normal” levels of spending, we just kept on going. Using the percentage increase argument is misrepresenting the situation. Add up Total Outlays for 2009-2012 and you will see this administration has spent more than any other did even over 8 years. This isn’t my opinion or numbers I got from a conservative pundit. These are numbers reported each year in the treasury’s statements.

    As for long-term debt not being a problem, consider this. Of the total revenue the treasury takes in yearly, ~1/6 is required just to pay interest on existing debt. That’s with interest rates that are next to nothing thanks to QE program

eXTReMe Tracker