Any American with an higher-than-snail intellect understands that the defining characteristic of being a conservative is seeking to preserve things just the way they are, and above all else, emphasize the safety and stability of maintaining the status quo to establish a sense of continuity. Some American conservatives certainly fit into that category, but there is another kind of conservative, call them extremists and reactionaries, that not only oppose change and maintaining the status quo, they demand to return to “the way things were.” In Republican and teabagger vernacular, returning to the “old ways” is “taking our country back;” but back to what? If the subject is the economy, it is back to Bush-era economic policies that are wildly popular with conservative mainstream media, but still not austere and severe enough for the Koch brothers.
Getting back to corporatists’ vision of America was the so-called message Republicans pounded into epically stupid voters’ heads throughout the midterm election; return to the old ways and put us back in charge of the economy. It really must be a confusing time to be a conservative voter, because if they truly wanted to maintain the status quo as the party that hates change, they would not have turned out at the polls and voted for Republicans. In fact, only a fool would want to abandon the current economic progress and return to the old ways after Bush-Republicans tanked the economy, because yet another economic report revealed that under President Obama’s Administration, America has experienced the longest stretch of consistent job creation since World War II.
In the uber-conservative Wall Street Journal, a report boasted, yes boasted, that since non-farm payrolls grew to a seasonally adjusted 214,000 last month according to the Labor Department, it marked the “best such job creation streak since 1995, and marked the 49th straight month of positive job growth; the best stretch on record back to 1939.” The Rupert Murdoch newspaper noted that the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% last month and was the lowest level since 2008.
One might be inclined to believe that if “traditional conservatives” seriously wanted to maintain the status quo, for continuity of results and stability, they would have voted en masse to preserve the streak of positive economic growth and private sector hiring and rejected Republicans with extreme prejudice because they promised to “return to the old ways” if they control Congress. However, no-one with even minimal cognitive abilities would expect a Republican voter to support the current positive economic growth because it is happening as a result of an African American man sitting in the Oval Office; that and bible, guns, and something about maintaining Ayran purity.
According to the WSJ unemployment report, all economists, and businesses large and small, the one and only missing ingredient needed for truly robust economic gains is wage growth. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers barely kept up with the mild pace of inflation. Consumer prices rose 1.7% in September from a year earlier, but that is going to change for the worse when the effects of the climate change-driven drought on food costs are realized and they skyrocket out of reach for many Americans.
There is more good news that is driving conservatives to eschew their typical “maintain the status quo” philosophy and return to the old ways. Most economists acknowledge that a continued decline in the short-term unemployment rate, those Americans who have been out of work six months or less, will finally prompt meaningful growth in wages. That’s because demand for people recently out of work better represents the labor market facing employers. The short-term jobless rate held steady in October at 4% according to the report, and it is a percentage point below its average since 1948. The long-term rate held steady as well at 1.9%, and it has many employers in the living-wage fields, including manufacturing and engineering, bemoaning that they are facing a shortage of workers. As a result of the worker shortage, wages in those fields are set to rise. While foreign manufacturers are experiencing dwindling demand due to harsh austerity Republicans want to impose, American manufacturing is experiencing robust growth. While European factories are cutting production and laying off workers, American “factories are revving up production” and increasing hiring according to a private organization that monitors the American manufacturing sector; something Republicans want to change instead of maintaining the status quo.
According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), its main gauge of the factory sector climbed to 59.0 in October from 56.6 in September. That economic growth is based on American manufacturers continued reporting an impressive accelerated rate of new orders that drove production to its highest level since 2004 revealing the economy is growing at an impressive rate; under President Obama. According to man overseeing ISM’s manufacturing gauge, Bradley Holcombe, “American manufacturing is firing on all cylinders;” something Republicans do not want to maintain because as extremist conservatives, they want to take our country back and the inherently stupid voting public agrees that it is a good idea to “return to the old ways.”
It is getting difficult to understand what drives conservatives, and Republican voters, to want to abandon their typical adherence to maintaining the status quo when there has been nothing but good economic reports over the past two years. What is truly confusing, is why Republican voters in four red states, on the one hand, voted to raise the minimum wage and then elected Republicans who openly refuse to even consider a wage hike. Republicans in Congress certainly understand the President’s economic policies not only lifted the nation out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, he has kept the economy growing at a respectable clip and produced the longest job creation streak since 1939.
It is true the voting public will never hear about the President’s economic successes, and although it is down to corporate main-stream media, it is also the President’s failure to address the nation. Yes, he doles out good news regularly during his Weekly Presidential address, but he may as well be talking to the pigeon-brigade roosting on the White House roof. However, it is likely that even if he did issue regularly televised speeches touting the nation’s economic progress, record job creation, and calling for Congress to raise wages, the bible, gun, and white pride crowd, or extremist conservatives, would still reject the status quo; regardless how much they benefit.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.