Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Reagan Revolution

In today’s New York Times, David Stockman, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under conservative rock star Ronald Reagan, lays out the case that the current financial crisis was caused by and is being sustained by Republican economic policies.  Republicans, he argues, have abandoned their traditional fiscal principles in favor of unfunded wars, deficit financing, and ineffective tax cuts for the rich.  He also lays the blame on the banking sector, which uses government guarantees to develop complex non-value-added money making schemes.  All this from a Reagan Republican!

Yet, I’m afraid that the problem is deeper than this.  The GOP has demonstrated time and again that its only goal is to bring down the nation’s first African-American president.  Until very recently, the party of “no” has maintained a solid bloc to vote down any of President Obama’s initiatives.  Compromise – the engine of American democracy – is not in the Republicans’ vocabulary.

Unfortunately, the Democrats are unwitting co-conspirators in all of this.  For example, in Health Care Reform, they took the best approach, single payer, off the table even before negotiations started.  Single payer would have been less expensive and provided citizens with better services, but Republicans (and some Democrats) are too in debt to the insurance lobby to care.

Stockman is right – the onus of the ongoing financial crisis falls in the lap of the GOP.  From Bush’s unfunded wars, to ill-advised tax cuts which have been repeatedly shown to do nothing to help the economy, to a poorly designed bail out that was thrust upon the new president in his first few weeks, to a stimulus package that was watered down with tax cuts, to ongoing obstructionism in the Senate that is geared to garner votes and not help the economy.  Ronald Reagan was a lousy president, but he was patriotic, despite the litany of unethical and illegal actions in which his administration engaged.  Today’s GOP unabashedly puts party ahead of country.  Reagan must be revolving in his grave.   Heaven help America if this party of selfishness and lunacy gains a majority in either house this year.

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