For those who observe, report, and comment on how America’s dysfunctional politicians impact government and society, it was evident that before too long conservatives would come out swinging and lay blame for the social dysfunction, police brutality against people of color, and the subsequent violent response in Baltimore at the feet of liberals. Obviously, out-of-control police brutality and deliberate contrivance created the violent response in Baltimore; that is another article. However, after Speaker of the House John Boehner blamed “bad schools” and “fifty years of liberal policies” for police violence against inner-city Americans suffering thirty years of anti-government conservative rule, it is necessary to expose Republican lies.
Following closely on Boehner’s heels, Ayn Rand devotee Paul Ryan weighed in on the reason for violence in Baltimore and used it to continue his push to eliminate federal anti-poverty programs. He claims government is preventing hard-working Americans earning poverty wages from achieving the American dream and joining the Koch brothers and Mitt Romney in the one-percenters’ club. The problem with the Republicans’ argument and lies, and there are many, is that statistics continue to prove that conservative anti-government policies over the past thirty-five years have driven income inequality and degraded society and are every bit as responsible for the events in Baltimore as out-of-control police violence against African Americans.
Over the past few years, there have been a preponderance of reports and studies revealing that America is near the bottom of industrialized countries in every category except military spending. It does not matter if it is infrastructure, wages, children living in poverty, the vanishing middle class, or the overall health and welfare of Americans, this pathetic extremely wealthy nation is lagging behind every industrial nation on Earth. Now, according to a recent report on America’s overall health by the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine (IM); “On nearly all indicators of mortality, survival and life expectancy, the United States ranks at or near the bottom among high-income countries.” This is particularly astonishing because America was once the world leader before conservative policies began destroying America.
The report reveals that it is just not that America is near the bottom of industrialized nations in nearly every category, but how “stunningly fast the United States has lost ground” when it was a world leader just thirty-five years ago. Americans old enough to remember will realize that what changed was Ronald Reagan and Republicans convincing Americans that government was their mortal enemy and that cutting it down to size to give the richest Americans the nation’s wealth was the godly path to prosperity. As the NRC and IM report reveal, this nation’s decline began thirty five years ago when Republicans declared war on the federal government and imposed their trickle down scam on America.
A sampling of the report’s findings are that thirty-five years ago, infants born in America had a mortality rate equal to Germany; now American babies die at twice the rate of those in Germany. Also, thirty-five years ago, America was 13th in life expectancy for girls among the 34 recognized industrial societies; today America is 29th out of the same 34 countries. The percentage of American children living in “dire poverty” is second (and climbing) among industrialized nations, and the incarceration rate is three times what it was thirty-five years ago; it is five times that of all other wealthy democracies. Economic researchers at the University of Chicago, MIT, and the University of Southern California conducted exhaustive research to discover why American children are dying at “a rate exponentially higher” than their European counterpart and concluded that like every other category of America’s decline; it is due to “staggering rates of income disparity stemming directly from the 1980’s Era of Ronald Reagan and the beginning of the resurgence of the conservative movement.” Boehner is a liar and he knows he is lying and pushing conservative failures as the solution to violence in Baltimore.
According to a New York Times article reporting on America’s decline, it is conservative policies “over the last four decades that are responsible for the unique failure of government to stop the stagnation of the middle class, increasing poverty, and the precipitous decline in our collective health.” It is not, as some conservative economists are wont to claim, globalization and technological advances that damaged American society, wreaked havoc on the middle class, halted investment in infrastructure and education; it was conservative ideology eliminating government and everything it entails in providing support for Americans.
For thirty-five years and continuing, conservatives (Republicans) pushed the idea that America is a welfare state, assistance to the working poor destroys productivity, and social programs like Social Security and Medicare are destroying the concept of what it means to be American; something Paul Ryan preaches constantly. Despite being responsible for over three decades of decline, Republicans still claim that unfettering big business of tax liability and regulations, while eliminating social programs including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and abolishing anti-poverty programs will allow America to regain its world stature and create monumental wealth for all Americans.
Republicans are running in 2016 on the promise that growing already bloated corporate profits, slashing government programs, eliminating regulations, and cutting taxes for the rich will improve all Americans’ lives. It is Reagan’s promise that has sent the one-time world leader to the bottom and still, John Boehner claims the police-incited violence enraging poor Baltimore residents is due to fifty years of liberal policies.
The most offensive claim by Boehner is his attack on education; particularly since he created the Bush “No Child Left Behind” abomination to hasten the demise of public schools by defunding them into oblivion. Plus, Boehner benefitted from the same education system conservatives want to destroy and one where educators did not have to deal with the severe economic inequities plaguing and adversely affecting a very large segment of the population. His solution is making the system less-equitable by issuing coupons under the guise of “school choice.”
There are many reasons for the violence in Baltimore, and like Ferguson, it is certainly due to unprovoked police violence against people of color. However, it is also because Americans are angry that for the past thirty-five years they have suffered under conservative economic policies that inordinately affect hard-working Americans; especially those in inner cities and people of color. Boehner and Republicans can claim liberal policies are responsible for Americans’ problems, including violence in Baltimore, but report after study after comprehensive research specifically point to Reagan-era anti-government economics and the resurgence of the conservative movement; and they can back up the research with empirical data. The only reasonable conclusion is that as usual, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Republicans in general are liars who share responsibility for the violence in Baltimore with out-of-control police.
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.