Paul Krugman writes,

So the Republican electoral strategy is, in effect, a gigantic con game: it depends on convincing voters that the bad economy is the result of big-spending policies that President Obama hasn’t followed (in large part because the G.O.P. wouldn’t let him), and that our woes can be cured by pursuing more of the same policies that have already failed.

For some reason, however, neither the press nor Mr. Obama’s political team has done a very good job of exposing the con.

People have been told over and over again that President Obama has gone on some unprecedented spending spree, and that this is why the economy remains sluggish. And in large parts of the country that’s all they hear. I’d make Rachel Maddow’s show, and Krugman’s column for that matter, available in every American household if I could. Of course, you can lead a fool to Krugman’s column, but you can’t make him read it.

What do I mean by saying that this is already a Republican economy? Look first at total government spending — federal, state and local. Adjusted for population growth and inflation, such spending has recently been falling at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.

How is that possible? Isn’t Mr. Obama a big spender? Actually, no; there was a brief burst of spending in late 2009 and early 2010 as the stimulus kicked in, but that boost is long behind us. Since then it has been all downhill. Cash-strapped state and local governments have laid off teachers, firefighters and police officers; meanwhile, unemployment benefits have been trailing off even though unemployment remains extremely high.

Krugman links to this chart with data from FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data).

Gee, I wonder why the recovery is slowing down now? [/sarcasm]

The problem, of course, is that propaganda is winning out over reality. It’s like someone I quoted recently who believed that Obama had cut back her Medicare benefits, but when asked to name which benefits she had lost could not name any. And that’s because her benefits had not been cut. And then you’ve got the middle-income teabaggers who are certain Obama raised their taxes, when in fact their taxes were cut.

That same obstructionist House majority effectively blackmailed the president into continuing all the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, so that federal taxes as a share of G.D.P. are near historic lows — much lower, in particular, than at any point during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

But facts that contradict Republican mythology must be brutally suppressed, so few Americans ever will hear this.

Elsewhere — E.J. Dionne has a “why can’t we all just get along” column, suggesting that if we can all agree on some common goals maybe we can find common ground. I think this proposition is naive, on several levels. For example, he writes, “We want all Americans to share prosperity and to reverse the trend toward widening inequality.” Um, from what I’ve seen, today’s self-described “conservatives” are just fine with income inequality.

But late in the column Dionne says a true thing —

Forgive me for noting that conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less.

Yeah, pretty much. The theory is that “job creators” respond only to carrots and the poor only to sticks.

7 thoughts on “Republi-cons

  1. Looks like E J.’s been drinking from Broder’s Kool-Aid cup.

    Dionne’s got a national voice, and a megaphone. And until he realizes what’s-what, and says, and keeps saying something about it, then how can we expect the brainwashed masses to wake-up?
    He’s just another “why can’t they just get along” voice, echoing in their heads.
    The problem, Mr. Dionne, is that we can’s ANY OF US agree on ANY common goals, let alone some, so maybe we can find common ground.
    There is no feckin’ common ground, and so we can’t all agree on some common goals. How can we find common ground when one party is looking to slash and burn the very ground Liberals and Democrats stand on. Even if the country burns right along with it.

    But maybe he’s seen what’s happened to Norm Ornstein, once a welcome guest on TV news shows and Sunday bloviation festivals, sitting home, alone, ever since he and Thomas Mann wrote that Op-ed about the real problems in this country are NOT the fault of the ‘both parties doing it,’ but instead, clearly placed the problems squarely on the Republicans.

    Maybe E.J.’d rather sit with David Brooks, rather than sit at home, all alone, a pariah to the DC chattering class for pointing out that not do the Kings not have any clothes, but they’re openly displaying their asses for all the nation to see, as they pee and defecate on everyone not on their sides.
    Here, DC chattering class, are the only things that have been ‘trickling-down’ for over 30 years: The Conservatives BS, and yours.

  2. “job creators” respond only to carrots and the poor only to sticks.

    Well, of course. We know all us poor people’s gotsa be beaten regular or we can’t move from in front of the largest, flatscreen tv you’ve ever seen in a 12 foot wide trailer.

  3. You know, the funny thing about taxes, since you bring it up… there were two big issues about the Bush tax cuts.

    First: they were time limited. But who among us thinking folks didn’t know that the Repubs would scream bloody murder at any indication of “raising taxes” by letting them expire as planned?

    Second: they were there to drain a surplus. We had this big surplus, it might even be a bit dangerous, because it’s good for the government to have a little debt issued.

    Both of those issues are now dead and gone, but no one seems to want to discuss them (in the mainstream media – other folks, including DFH bloggers, have mentioned them).

    What’s really interesting is that the money from a regressive tax (Social Security) went to fund cuts to a progressive tax (the income tax). I guess bringing that up is “class warfare”.

  4. It might just take a full-blown, Greater Depression to make stupid Americans (and there are lots and lots of them) realize that the current Republican Party is out to rape, pillage and burn society as we know it. NOT to help!

Comments are closed.