Republican Ideas

Republicans say they are the party of ideas. Murdoch minions, Fox News, Tabloids, or Talk radio usually are strong Trump proponents. It would be good if we could have a discussion of these Republican "ideas", but it is unlikely because, with Republican (corporate) support, media has become more concentrated. So it no longer tells an honest story. Without good information there is no democracy. Be skeptical because you are usually NOT getting good information from US corporate, mainstream media. The press, like academia, labor unions, civil service, have all been intimidated or bought out by the plutocracy. Similarly, Election integrity is doubtful. Americans are not upset. Why ? Because media never questions the mechanism. Anyone that speaks out is marginalized.

Here are some Republican ideas:

cutting taxes will lead to increased revenue. Except it never has. Supply siders (Bush Sr called it Voodoo economics when it was first proposed ) A country that goes into serious debt for the benefit of a wealthy elite is a banana republic.

Our problems will be solved by economic growth. No. The planet is being ravaged by overpopulation, pollution, over consuming commercial interests and it is being changed irreversibly in the process. The economic tide does NOT lift all boats. As a result of Republican always regressive policies, it only lifted the yachts. We should adjust our economic activity to allow for the continued habitability of the planet.

The private sector is always better functioning than the public sector. No it's not. Decades of experience with healthcare demonstrates the failure of privatization. Other countries do it better and cheaper in the public sector. Cuba is rated 39th in healthcare, the US is 37th. Not much difference between 37 and 39 until you compare the budgets. Cuba spends a small fraction of the US's budget to get almost as good a result. Privatization allowed new companies like Blackwater to go to the 'market' (i.e. government trough) and feed bountifully... all while building up a praetorian guard. Privatization efforts for schools has not made improvements. See Diane Ravitch's book "Reign of Error".

The private market will take care of shortcomings in healthcare delivery. While most countries of the world have health care for all, Americans don't. It was always a bad idea to tie health care coverage to employment. Job change, sickness, or financial stress can mean the loss of health insurance, and can frequently lead to bankruptcy. PBS recently compared Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Britain, and French health care systems and noted that they all have universal coverage and are much more cost effective than the US model.   Privatization assures that US healthcare will continue to cost at least twice as much as any other country.

Deregulation makes the market work better. Except it caused a carnival of corporate corruption, and that was followed by market collapse. The financial sector has grown until it was able to consolidate media, downsize it, and run it right into the ground. Journalism has deteriorated until it is now more informative to read the foreign press. Enron was only the beginning. The banking industry made ninja loans (no income verification, no job verification, and no asset verification) which were known to be bad, then they bundled them up, rated them AAA, and sold them overseas. Insurance companies like AIG insured these loans. No question there has been systematic fraud. Then taxpayers bailed them out. Using the proceeds the banks then lobbied Congress to avoid any regulation. The banks are even larger and more concentrated now, so it will likely happen again.

Even student loans were targets for predatory lenders. Because the financial sector ran rampant, the real part of the economy did not return the go-go interest rates, and real production moved offshore leaving behind armies of unemployed or under-employed. The corrupt companies that enable all this fraud, were too big to fail and have been rewarded with almost unlimited amounts of taxpayer dollars. The obscene CEO salaries and bonuses are likely payoffs to look the other way at corruption. A Republican success story: socialism for the rich.

Extreme income distribution is not a problem. Markets, government, democracy, and the general welfare are not in good condition when there is extreme income disparity. Markets don't work well because demand is anemic and economic stagnation can result. Democracy does not work if government is gamed by wealthy interests. Government is itself dysfunctional when well funded lobbyists determine its direction. The graduated income tax and the inheritance tax are partial antidotes, but a strong social safety net can also make for a more civilized culture. Scandinavian countries are better off than we are in many respects. Their people are in control of their government. No doubt their strong unions were helpful in maintaining strong social programs that include generous sick leave, universal health care, . The US is one of the most hostile countries for unions and our social programs show the result.

The 'free' market is compatible with democracy. Look around. China, a communist totalitarian country, has a vibrant capitalist economy. Many of the worst dictators, like Pinochet, were free market advocates. There doesn't seem to be much disagreement. The US is run by and for well funded corporate interests, the Congress is money driven, and the people have very little to say about it. Actually, Income inequality is at the root of many of our problems.

We cannot afford Social Security because it is broke   No it's not. This, like healthcare coverage, is a moral issue. We CAN afford to take care of our elderly, sick, and disabled. We should not compromise on that. As an added benefit, SS like unemployment compensation mitigates the impact of an economic downturn. Don't let the privatizers scam these programs. Be thankful Republicans did not get their wish to privatize (loot) Social Security.

We need smaller government. Making government smaller can also made it a lot less capable. Although an unusual high level of incompetence contributed, you saw this in New Orleans after Katrina.  While Bush rhetoric was about 'freedom' and 'democracy', the bill of rights shrinks but government surveillance programs expanded dramatically. We now have no fourth amendment rights. The government listens in to anyone's phone calls in complicity with our phone companies. Watch what you say. The most successful economies are mixed. Striking a proper balance between public and private is important, particularly because the public sector has been downsized so much in the last few years. One of our problems is our plutocracy now controls government.

Bush insisted on weakening the Civil Service...and that allowed him to pack Federal agencies with political minders. They are important to the War on Science because often the science makes the policy look counterproductive. James Hanson, a NASA climate scientist, was censored in Republicans corporate motivated campaign to discredit climate concerns. Trump will be even worse.

Countries that use their resources to benefit their people are  communist enemies. Republicans use the big red scare to strike fear into the people, build up the military, privatize everything, and reward their corporate cronies. Since corporations actually control the media, and most of the government, they can cry "socialism" at any attempt to benefit the public.  See CIA.  

We need to remake the middle east into a democracy. Where, exactly, in the Constitution is there a justification for that. Turns out that none of the pretexts for the Iraq war were valid. How'd that work out ? We needed a new enemy because the Communists were no longer an excuse. Now we have a new Crusade. Their religion is not like ours. But we are certain that our 'faith based' schools are educating much better than their 'faith based' schools. Anyway, we are assured that it will be an endless war. At Nuremberg pre-emptive war was deemed a war crime. Who would have predicted that the US would be guilty of torture, renditions, secret prisons. Although the Bushies were keen to start a war (really a power grab), they couldn't quite find the courage to pay for it. The cost of the war had to come in the form of 'supplementals'.  Rachel Maddow aired a documentary (2014) which made the case that the war in Iraq was really for oil. If you factor in the $4 trillion cost of the war (Sti9glitz estimate), what would be the cost of gasoline at the pump ? How good an idea is "Drill Baby, Drill !" ?

We are not facing a climate crisis. The Republican war on science is really about allowing corporations to dump pollutants into the environment, and about allowing irresponsible plundering of the planet. Religion (and polluters) motivate the Republican the war on science. The message is: it is not cost effective to save the world so why bother. Armageddon is our destiny anyway.  Guy McPherson thinks we have already passed the tipping point and that we have only a few decades left before the planet becomes inhospitable. 

Blame the Victim.  Republicans blame immigrants for many of our problems. It used to be welfare mothers, but with their niggardly welfare program that is now not an issue. Welfare is only for the corporations that are 'too big to fail'. These have always been issues for the right wing. As Steig Larson wrote, the right wing is always racist.

We need a military that is larger than the rest of the world's combined. We pay for a military that is larger than the rest of the world's combined.. That's because the military-industrial complex has taken over and it is, in reality,  a widely dispersed jobs program, and taxpayer-funded security for oil companies. We have troops in 146 countries. Looks a lot like an empire doesn't it ? That's because it is. One of the characteristics of an empire is its ability to tax people in remote places. Because the dollar was the reserve currency, we were able to tax outsiders and they had to hold our debt because of the power of the currency. That may not last long.

The Second Amendment is the most important one of the Bill of Rights. They don't seem to care about the other Amendments like, say, the fourth which is totally gone. Behind the scenes, the armament industry lobbies mightily to be sure that Americans are well furnished with guns. The combination of social insecurity and a heavily armed population is random acts of violence at a rate that far exceeds that in the rest of the world. So police are being militarized and we have a new arms race: the people vs the police.

The President is above the law is truly an insult to the Constitution and a violation of Bush's oath of office.  If he can create the law all by himself simply by writing signing statements, we have a tyrant. A strong man dictator...similar to the ones we have put in place in many countries of the world.

Most of the world had a good opinion of the US when Bush took office. He changed that. Gratuitous wars, secret prisons, renditions, torture, universal surveillance, and Guantanamo lost the moral high ground and made us less safe.

If Republicans don't like government, they shouldn't be in it. They are bad at it.

Should people be excluded from office because of their beliefs ? Yes.

Those who think science is not the best way to determine fact: Religious fundamentalists (aka theocrats), climate deniers who don't think we need to take action to avoid slowly developing catastrophe, or, since exponential population growth is the major cause of the climate problem, advocates of unplanned parenthood.

Those who think saving money is more important than safe infrastructure, that health care for all is not a worthy goal, that extreme income inequality is consistent with a healthy economy or a civilized society.

Those who think that money is speech (money corrupts, speech does not), that corporations are people whose only goal is profit, and that it is ok for corporate interests to control government (aka fascism.)

Those who ignore human rights, ignore Geneva Conventions, make law available only to those who can afford it and stop it at the waters edge (Guantanmo.), secretly implement universal surveillance, ignore privacy rights, cloak government activity in secret, or want to round up the underclass and process them out.

Those who think that international law should not be guidance for us. Globalization requires support of stabilizing global institutions.

Those who think that war is a better way to solve problems than diplomacy. Expanding the world's largest military has not made us safer, it has increased personal insecurity. Those who think more nuclear weapons is a sensible investment.

Any of these would disqualify major Republican candidates.


The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Matt Miller

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