As comedian George Carlin once said, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” and he was certainly referring to Americans loyal to the Republican movement. It is possible that in many Americans’ cases, stupid is the wrong term and denial a more apt descriptor; although a combination of the two terms is likely apropos when referring to half of America. In fact, it is safe to say that the two terms accurately describe Republican voters as a whole because it takes a particularly stupid person to deny what they know have experienced and seen with their own eyes; something results of a Bloomberg poll released yesterday revealed in grand fashion.
The good news is that 49 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of President Obama’s economic record and it seems to put Republicans in a very unfavorable position. In fact, the poll revealed that overall the President’s approval rating is positive in no small part due to a recovering economy that even Republicans cannot deny or take any credit for after spending six long years doing nothing. Those numbers are bad news for Republicans who continue claiming errantly that the economy is lagging regardless corporate profits are raging, unemployment is falling, GDP is up, the debt is falling, and the stock market continues setting new records. Even for stupid Americans, it is obvious that the economy under President Obama has been steadily improving and shows no signs of slowing any time soon according to economic experts forecasting continued growth with one caveat; the majority of the population is not seeing their personal finances keep pace with the rich and corporations in a growing economy. It was the one part of the poll results that a substantial majority of Americans were in complete agreement about.
What was curious about the poll results, though, was that although 69 percent of Americans say a growing problem is the widening income gap between the very rich and the rest of the population, there was a relatively even split on how best to address the economic discrepancy favoring the one percent; that is where the stupid factor is manifest. Americans who agreed that it is “better for the government to implement policies to shrink the income gap” made up 46 percent of respondents, and 47 percent said it is better “for the government to stand aside and let the market operate freely; even if the income gap gets wider.” Now, it is belligerently stupid for respondents, 69 percent of them, to acknowledge that, on the one hand, there is a growing income gap between the richest one percent and the rest of the population that has to be confronted and solved, and yet 47 percent believe the best way to address the problem is for government to ‘stand aside‘ and let the market take care of the problem; “even if it makes the gap wider.” Maybe the 47 percent agreeing with that statement failed to read the last phrase.
Obviously the stupid 47 percent who want to solve the income gap issue by, as Republicans preach, “getting government out of the way” have spent an inordinate amount of time getting their economic policy solutions from Republicans and Fox News. They also apparently have a serious issue with reality because study after report after study after life experience has revealed that nationally and particularly in states where Republicans have “got government out of the way,” economic growth is non-existent, job creation is lagging, people are getting poorer while the rich get richer, and deficits are exploding. Only a stupid person would think, even for a second, that adhering to Reagan-Republican policies founded on getting government out of the way that are proven to kill jobs, increase debt and deficits, and make the income gap wider is a valid solution for reducing the income gap that is destroying the middle class and sending more Americans into poverty.
Before the Koch brothers bought control of Congress, Republicans in the House spent the major portion of their time passing legislation to ‘get government out of the way’ for the rich and corporations to get richer; since Republicans have had control of both chambers it has only gotten worse. For example, Republicans attempted to get government out of the way by eliminating overtime pay, blocked Democrats attempt to pass an equal pay for equal work law, obstructed every attempt by President Obama to create jobs, and slashed federal spending that killed jobs. Republicans have also spent the last few months getting government out of the way of the rich getting richer by attempting to pass legislation giving the rich greater tax breaks as part of their failed trickle down scam; a scam that is a historical failure at growing the economy, creating jobs, or reducing the income gap. Either 47 percent of the respondents are too stupid to understand that the Republican anti-government approach to the economy has failed every economic test over the past thirty years, or they know it increases the income gap and foolishly think that if the richest one percent gets richer, their own financial situation will improve. If left on its own, the market will always favor the rich and it is a mystery why more Americans cannot comprehend that simple fact; or that it is the government that prevents the market from sending more Americans into poverty.
What is really curious is that everything President Obama has proposed, or presided over, is responsible for an improving economic picture and ways the government can reduce the income gap a substantial majority of Americans acknowledge is a serious issue that needs addressing. Obviously everything Republicans have proposed under the heading of getting government out of the way such as eliminating overtime pay, keeping the minimum wage at poverty level or abolishing it altogether, and giving more money to the rich is contrary to decreasing income disparity. The good news is that nearly half the population comprehends that only government can address income inequality and in that respect President Obama is, and has been recognized as, a champion for the 99 percent. He has made it easier for workers to organize, badgered Republicans relentlessly to raise the minimum wage, created millions of jobs, reduced the cost of healthcare, and created initiatives to increase funding and jobs in the burgeoning green and renewable energy industry. Conversely, he has held the line against Republican attempts to increase the income gap with more tax cuts for the rich by wielding his veto threat with increasing regularity.
The only reason there is a destructive income gap in America is because for the past thirty years Republicans have been on a crusade to get government out of the way and it has created an environment that is conducive to corporate profits and increased wealth for the richest one percent at the expense of the rest of the population. One has to hand it to Republicans for convincing nearly half of the Bloomberg poll’s respondents that going forward with an economic agenda that enriches the already wealthy at the expense of the rest of the population by eliminating government is the solution to the widening income gap. Republicans understand that at least half of America is stupid and will continue falling for the same failed approach to the economy regardless the disastrous economic consequences, and there is little doubt they will work tirelessly to convince the rest of the population that eliminating government will make them filthy rich. The good news is that half of the population understands that without government protections, the market would crush the economic life out of them. It is a message that President Obama has preached for six years and if Republicans had not been obstructionists, the economy would be doing better than it is and the income gap would be declining, not growing.