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Republicans Can’t Let Go Ronald Reagan’s Economy Crushing Failed Policies
The human brain has a unique defense mechanism of shutting out bad memories and replacing them with fallacious, but comforting, recollections that is prevalent in children and the mentally disturbed. Republicans have spent the past four years recalling different historical eras fondly and proffering that if only America could return to Puritanical colonial times, revolutionary war America, or the War Between the States sensibilities, then the country would prosper and people would truly be content in a truly exceptional nation. Although the mood of the people is shifting away from the disastrous thirty year experiment in Reagan-conservatives’ anti-government agenda and preference for libertarian corporatism, Republicans are intent on returning to policies that, thirty years later, finally bore fruit and nearly destroyed the nation’s economy.
At the RNC winter meeting in Charlotte last weekend, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal laid out a Republican vision he referred to as an “opportunity to lead our country into a new era of possibility, progress, and prosperity,” and then launched into a Reaganesque speech decrying the oppressive federal government and President Obama as purveyors of “economic contraction, austerity and less from the economy.” It was the usual Republican rhetoric based on fiction, lies, and delusion that included a recurring GOP theme that “We do not need to change what we believe as conservatives – our principles are timeless,” and that “we are the party that creates more from the economy with a dream of growth, prosperity, and equal opportunity.” Jindal’s speech was heavy on anti-government rhetoric that highlighted progress was dependent on returning to regressive policies the country is finally leaving behind.
Jindal spent no small amount of time laying the nation’s thirty year decline into corporatism and gross income inequality on President Obama, and reasserted the long-held conservative notion that focusing on entitlements for the private sector was key to growing the economy, and not the government. Instead of reiterating and critiquing Jindal’s Republican talking points extolling the virtues of privatization and how best to inject “ever-fresh principles of freedom and apply them to the future,” it is worth pointing out the hypocrisy, blatant lies, and misrepresentation of all Republicans’ in their effort to preserve and reinvigorate Reagan’s conservatism that has been the bane of progress for all Americans except the wealthiest one percent and the corporations that pervert prosperity.
Jindal cited specific areas Republicans must focus their attention to stop Democrats and “the liberals in the national media” who frustrate conservatives by expecting them to abandon their principles, and they indicate above all else, that Jindal is a liar. He also listed some futuristic ideas first expounded in anti-government rhetoric typical of Reagan-era conservatism that can be summarized as government is bad, destructive, and the people’s enemy.
To start Jindal parroted the conservative canard that the President is imposing “enlightened policies of European socialism” that Republicans began spouting before the President was sworn in office in 2009. In fact, at the rate corporations, the stock market, oil companies, and banking sector are posting record profits, one is tempted to claim the government exists for the sole benefit of the wealthy, corporations, and financial sector and not anything remotely recognizable as “enlightened European socialism,” and although Republicans cannot cite one specific example of socialism in government, it is a constant refrain from the GOP and their conservative talking heads and think tanks.
Jindal then shifted his rhetoric to assail the Obama Administration and liberal media’s incessant support for “abortion on demand without apology,” and “abandoning traditional marriage between one man and one woman” as if the federal government is banning heterosexual marriage and allowing women free abortions at any time during their pregnancy. It is blatant hypocrisy to decry government interference in Americans lives when Republicans have been on a tear to put the government between a woman and her reproductive health. Jindal also railed against government wasting money interfering with people’s freedoms, and yet Republicans in Congress have allocated millions of the people’s tax dollars to defend an unconstitutional law defining marriage as dictated in the Christian bible. Apparently for the little hypocrite, government intrusion into people’s lives and wasteful spending is acceptable so long as Republicans, and their theocratically ambitious supporters, deem it is necessary to impose religious edicts on the population.
Republicans have assailed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) as acutely wasteful government spending, and Jindal said the President “embraces government growth” as the key to American success referring to spending taxpayer dollars to grow the economy. In fact, Jindal assailed the stimulus in an op/ed in summer 2009 as “a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus that has not stimulated.” Less than 24 hours before the op/ed was published, Jindal presented a “jumbo-sized check” allotted for job training programs directly from the stimulus, and to make sure he received the credit, he printed his name on the federal government check. It is true that government spending is not the be all, end all, to stimulate the economy, but the stimulus did, without a shadow of a doubt, save the economy and Jindal knows it.
What may be the biggest lie Jindal told was that Democrats work to take more from working Americans, and that President Obama imposed “higher taxes every year to pay for government expansion.” The brazen assertion defies the fact that throughout the President’s first term, and especially in the case of the stimulus, he reduced taxes and presided over the lowest tax rates in 60 years. The first, and only, tax increase in four years came in the waning hours of 2012 when President Obama, after a year-long battle, secured a tax cut for all but the very richest Americans. Jindal’s hypocrisy is stunning because he is attempting to enact tax increases on the poor and middle class in Louisiana to pay for a tax cut for the richest one percent he refers to as “the job creators.”
Jindal railed on education and Democrats insistence on supporting free public education for all after he enacted a voucher system that diverted taxpayer dollars allocated for public schools to private religious schools to indoctrinate children into the Christian religion. In November, a federal judge ruled that Jindal’s religious private schools threatened funding the previous court ordered requiring the district to build new schools and improve existing facilities, and that it interfered with court-ordered procedures for the recruitment and retention of black teachers. It is another case of Jindal’s hypocrisy regarding government funding for the public being a travesty, and yet he has no problem using government funds to unconstitutionally enrich private schools that teach Christianity.
America has suffered for thirty years from the effects of Reagan-era conservatism that culminated in the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, and integral to the economy’s crash was lack of government regulation. It is stunning, really, that any Republican decries President Obama’s handling of the economy as detrimental to the private sector when corporations, banks, and the oil industry have posted record profits every quarter. Jindal claimed the Republican Party is the party of “more,” the party that creates “more from the economy and a prosperous future based on economic growth and opportunity,” but since Reagan’s era, it has worked well for the rich and big business, and never translated to prosperity for the people, but that is the point of every Republican policy for thirty years and why they were rejected by voters in November.
Jindal represents the dysfunction of the Republican Party, and on some level, it was comical he waxed philosophically on progress and prosperity for the future based on a failed thirty year-old ideology that government is evil, the enemy of prosperity and the people. However, for Americans still struggling after three decades of Republican assaults on the people under the guise of limited government and greater gifts to the rich, the idea of returning to the same agenda that engendered income inequality that crushed any hope of prosperity for all Americans, going backward is not an option and they expressed their sentiment at the polls in November.
Republicans must believe people are incredibly stupid to fall for their “government is the enemy” canard because they are unable to see the errors inherent in their philosophy, or accept the results of the last election. Perhaps it was a good thing Jindal’s speech was reserved for leaders at the RNC winter meeting, because if he gave that speech to any audience other than dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, he would have been relegated to where his archaic ideas belong; back to the 1980s when a B-movie actor convinced Americans that government was their enemy on the way to a three decade crusade to destroy the economy that President Obama thwarted in one year, and that may be one of the reasons Republicans despise him most.