Sunday, September 26, 2010

More on the GOP's Pledge...

Eliot Spitzer - yes, the disgraced former New York governor - wrote an interesting piece for Slate regarding the Republican's "Pledge to America."
But there may be good news on the horizon for the president. The Republican "Pledge to America" has been issued, so we now finally know what the party of "no" will do if it regains control of Congress. And for those who recall the history of the Great Depression, and the enormous success that President Herbert Hoover had pulling us through and restoring the vitality of the American economy, there is good news: We will revisit those glorious days.

The horrors of Keynesian economics will be abandoned, government spending will be slashed, federal investment in infrastructure will be abandoned in deference to the 10th Amendment, and we will finally force Congress to tell us what constitutional authority it has to pass laws.

Offensive bills such as the stimulus will be properly relegated to the dustbin, so that job creation can be exclusively the domain of the businesses who have been held back recently only by the outrageous marginal tax rates that they face. Indeed, just for good measure, those rates will be cut once again.
Of course Spitzer is being fictitious...
If anyone's recollection of U.S. history is a bit fuzzy and needs a more recent example than the Hoover presidency to gain comfort that these ideas will work, no worry. Any doubts that the "Pledge to America" will generate enormous growth and wealth can be relieved by thinking back to the great prosperity that President Bush bequeathed to President Obama. Don't you remember the glorious year of 2008?

To read this "pledge" is to fall into Wonderland, to enter a fantasy world where logic means nothing, straight lines do not exist, the imagination can run wild unencumbered by fact, and all is a mirage of desire and fancy.

Beyond the incantation of the mantra of lower taxes and curbing any government action other than defense spending, not a single meaningful proposal about economic revival can be found in the document. It is no more than a bromide against all that has been done in the past 21 months to reverse the Bush economic cataclysm.
As I had written before, the Pledge is nothing more then a reiteration of everything the GOP and the tea parties have been saying for the past two years - they want to cancel out every Deomcratic policy and return us to the failed Republican policies that led us to where we are today.  I am a Republican and I can acknowledge that some of the policies of the party I belong to did not work.

The Pledge, if followed, will only futher damage America.  It will widen the economic divide, leaving the lower and middle classes worse off.  It will destroy America's national infrastructure - just consider Sharron Angle's recent statements.  You can't simply correct everything with a strict laissez-faire approach - as we had witnessed, doing so helped get us to where we are today.

Erica Werner wrote a piece for Salon covering Obama's weekly radio and internet address regarding the Pledge, in which the President blasted Republicans for their vague promises to return us to days of old.

"The Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn't surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy," Obama said.

"It is grounded in same worn-out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests; and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself. That's not a prescription for a better future."

What was the Republicans' response?

"The new agenda embodies Americans' rejection of the notion that we can simply tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity," said one of its authors, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. "It offers a new way forward that hasn't been tried in Washington -- an approach focused on cutting spending -- which is sadly a new idea for a Congress accustomed to always accelerating it."

Another thing of interest is the conflicting reports on who authored the document - Republicans can't seem to get it straight. While some refer to Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the author, given the task of writing the Pledge at the behest of the GOP leadership, a draft (which is almost identical to the final version) lists former Exxon, AIG, and Pfizer lobbyist, Brian Wild, as the real author.  I think the confusion surrounding the facts about just who wrote this document is interesting, considering they put their names on the documents.  It sounds like the actual Pledge was written by special interests and the GOP tried to put a friendly face on who authored it by claiming a newly elected (2007) Republican was responsible.

I want to point to a hypocrisy - the right's attack on the involvement of certain organizations involved in the creation of the stimulus bill.  If you pay attention to Glenn Beck, you may have heard his relentless attacks on Van Jones, the Apollo Alliance, or the Tides Foundation.  I want you to consider what kind of benefits Pfizer, Exxon, or AIG would have to benefit from the GOP's plan, and then I would like you to consider the following list, which are the stated goals of the Apollo Alliance:
  1. Promote advanced technology and hybrid electric cars.
  2. Invest in more efficient factories.
  3. Encourage high-performance building.
  4. Increase use of energy efficient appliances.
  5. Modernize electrical infrastructure (smart grid).
  6. Expand renewable energy development.
  7. Improve transportation options.
  8. Reinvest in smart urban growth.
  9. Plan for a hydrogen future.
  10. Preserve regulatory protections.
Can you see a difference?  While one seeks to improve growth, technology, and infrastructure, the others are perhaps responsible for some of our current economic woes - oil prices are sky high and environmental damage is high, AIG helped contribute to the economic collapse, Pfizer was found guilty of the largest health care fraud in U.S. history last year and has much to gain with the repeal of health care reform and the preservation of high prescription costs.

I think the Republicans should go back to the drawing board, ignore the tea party, and hammer out some actual details.  I think they should also look at policies enacted by the Democrats that are actually good and express a desire to keep such policies instead of consistently saying "no."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.