Human beings with an ounce of intelligence look at their mistakes and successes, learn from them, and do their best to avoid bad decisions while repeating what they know is successful to spare themselves needless misery. In the 1930s, a Great Depression racked the world’s economy and Americans were fortunate their leaders took steps to protect the people with the New Deal, implemented a massive public works project, and passed regulatory laws to ensure economic disaster never threatened the survival of the nation again, but it took years for the people and the economy to recover. Despite the devastating effects of the Great Depression, the richest industrialists emerged with greater wealth than they could possibly imagine as the rest of the population struggled to survive and if not for the New Deal, it is doubtful working Americans would ever recover, much less prosper. Fast forward to 2007 and deregulation, Wall Street malfeasance, and uninhibited greed created a Great Recession that decimated the economy and destroyed millions of Americans’ jobs, and like the Great Depression, the richest industrialists emerged with increased wealth beyond their wildest dreams as the economy recovered.
For two years after the Great Recession, President Obama and a Democratically-controlled Congress followed FDR’s path and passed financial reforms, created a tiny public works project (stimulus), and the economy slowly recovered. However, that is where the similarities between the Depression’s recovery and the Recession’s ended because Republicans obstructed every single attempt to jump-start the economy, implement financial reforms, or create jobs, and have been unrelenting in their attempts at eliminating New Deal provisions that protect the people. However, Republicans have fiercely protected the financial sector and assisted the richest Americans to increase their wealth by preventing them from contributing to recovery through tax cuts paid for with remorseless assaults on programs to assist struggling Americans, and through it all, they had overwhelming support from the wealthy that crashed the economy, and profited from the recovery.
Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a new all-time high, corporate profits are soaring, and Americans are still struggling with declining wages and a new round of job losses Republicans celebrated with enactment of indiscriminate sequestration cuts. The wealthiest Americans who have grabbed 94% of wealth from recovery have been staunch supporters of Republican’s phony debt reduction rhetoric and campaigned vigorously to implement steep cuts to New Deal programs such as Social Security and anti-poverty programs they claim “we can’t afford” any longer. The sequestration cuts conservatives and Wall Street titans claim are necessary to grow the economy and create jobs have no effect on the rich, and yet groups such as “Fix the Debt” clamor for deeper cuts in a well-funded fright-inducing campaign to convince Americans that without massive cuts to Medicare, Social Security, safety nets, and Medicaid, America is doomed.
First, there is no crushing debt, or deficit, and making relentless cuts that kill jobs and take money out of the economy will not, have not, and can not grow the economy or hasten recovery. Still, Republicans and some Democrats parrot the “deficit reduction” meme with frantic alarm and particularly the blatant lie that cutting Social Security will affect the debt, or deficit, by one penny. Besides deliberately killing jobs, Republicans complain President Obama’s “out of control spending” is crushing the economy when the reality is reduced spending reduced fourth quarter GDP by .7% and the Koch brothers sequester threatens to cut up to 1.7% more in seven months of a ten year slash-and-burn campaign guaranteed to kill millions of jobs, create a recession, and increase poverty to levels unseen since the Great Depression.
There are those who ask; what do wealthy industrialists like the Koch brothers, Wall Street CEOs, and Republicans have to gain by killing jobs and creating a recession, and it reveals their ignorance of the after effects of the Great Depression and Recession. Remember, that after both of America’s flirtations with economic demise that created massive unemployment and widespread poverty, the richest Americans increased their wealth by unimaginable amounts, and they see another opportunity to emerge from an economic recession with greater wealth and power to control the direction of the country for years. The Koch brothers, for example, became richer by billions of dollars during President Obama’s recovery, and yet they funded attempts to defeat his re-election bid so Willard could enact deep austerity that has driven double and triple-dip recessions across Europe. A recession to enrich the wealthy explains the GOP’s austerity drive because they learned from living examples that the quickest way to create a wealth-producing recession is austerity that kills jobs, cuts domestic programs, and increases poverty among already embattled working-poor Americans.
Americans can hardly take much more economic abuse from Republicans, Wall Street CEOs, or Libertarian teabaggers panting to cut spending under the guise of debt or deficit reduction just to enrich wealthy industrialists. Barack Obama has presided over the sharpest cut in spending in 60 years, and the phony deficit is being reduced at levels that threaten to undo the meager recovery by starving the government of much-needed revenue better spent investing in infrastructure, renewable energy, and education, but that would mean a thriving economy that Republicans will never allow, not when there is wealth for their supporters in a recession.