Tag Archives: Republicans
“I know we’ve come along way.
We’re changing day to day.
But tell me, where do the children play?”
(Where do the children play? – Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam – 1970)
Much has been made this election cycle about the future of our children and grandchildren, mostly by the newly fiscally responsible Republicans that are suddenly and inexplicably against debt and deficits. Great! It is certainly encouraging that the Party of “Deficits Don’t Matter!” has finally seen the light.
Just don’t ask them why they didn’t do something about deficits and debt when they held power. That is “looking at the past and besides, the Democrats made us do it.”
In 1980, I briefly considered a vote for Ronald Reagan for President because he promised (!) to balance the Federal budget. I blame it on an LSD flashback from the Sixties. Of course, Reagan never came close to balancing the budget and, in fact, tripled the National Debt. The truth is, a Republican president has never even proposed a balanced Federal budget since Ike. Let me think, that is, let’s see, um, ………………………. a long damned time.
Debt and deficits have been hashed and rehashed ad nauseam, so we’ll not do it again here. When the “other side” rails against the “highest deficits and debt in history” feel free to remind them that while the deficit is approaching 10% of the GDP in 2010, it reached 30% during World War II. The debt shortly after the War was at 130% of GDP, far above the current level of less than 90%.
It is completely reasonable to remind people of those facts, given that the country is in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression – an economic collapse that was not ended until the War was well underway. Unemployment reached 25% during the Depression. It topped out around 10% during the Great Recession.
The point is that we are not destroying the future for our children and grandchildren. Without TARP and the Stimulus Bill, the economy would have likely slid into another depression, and that would have left a horrible disaster for our heirs.
So, where do the children play? Well, if we want to truly focus on an answer to that question, we would do well to consider the state of our schools, environment and our place in the world. Bumper stickers slogans are handy for those in the bumper sticker industry, but they do little to address the problems of the nation. We need to take faux emotion out of the equation and use real-world facts and figures.
William Stephenson Clark
(Thread photo is the author’s grandson, Eli.)
Well, at long last, the Republican Party of No! has delivered their master plan to fix all that ails America. The newly minted “Pledge to America” (not to be confused with the Contract on America) promises that all will be okay if we just elect a majority from the GOP.
The Republicans, after exhaustive research, have determined that our problems are all the fault of the Democrats. Taxes are too high (despite being the lowest that they have been in over fifty years) and spending is too high, also. The solutions are simple – make the Bush tax cuts permanent and freeze spending at 2008 levels.
Now, Republicans and Tea Baggers have been telling us for two years now that debt and deficits are the reasons for the Great Recession, so you would expect that their plan takes a huge bite out of spending and deficits.
If you did, you would be wrong. The grand plan from the Republicans would save an astounding $100 billion per year, before the tax cuts kicked in. Taking the tax program into consideration continues annual deficits for the foreseeable future and adds nearly $4 trillion to the debt over the next decade.
The Republicans should be congratulated – in two years they have taken a scalpel to the budget and come up with areas to be cut totaling $100 billion. Of course, they can’t tell us where they are going to cut, but we should trust them, right? After all, they did a bang up job the last time around.
The GOP has assured us that they will not be cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense or veterans benefits. They are going to freeze Congressional expenses. Great!
The GOP also plans to save America by repealing HCR and replace it with something that they have yet to develop. Whatever it is, you can be assured that it is going to be as good as all their other great plans they have come up with over the years.
So, breathe easy, it’s all okay now, the Republicans will soon be in charge once again. So far, they haven’t announced any plans to start a war with anyone that isn’t a threat to the US, but they have plenty of time to drum up a case for going to war with Iran.
Don’t you feel better now?
William Stephenson Clark
Unless Sam Brownback gets caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, he will Kansas’ next Governor, and all of us may come to regret it. Sam makes no bones about his “faith” and he has every intention of imposing that philosophy on the rest of Kansas.
Sam doesn’t believe in abortion – under any circumstances. That’s right. No abortions, no exceptions. That means no abortions even in cases of rape, incest, the viability of the fetus, the health or even the life of the mother. Let that sink in for a moment – even if a fourteen year old gets raped and is impregnated, Sam doesn’t want her to have the option of having an abortion. Even if the prospective mother is likely to die if she carries the fetus to term, Sam doesn’t want her to have the option of having an abortion. The same goes for cases where there is no signs of life from the fetus or if it is severely deformed or even brain-dead.
Sam also believes in the so-called “Fair Tax.” I used the term “so-called” because it is anything but fair. Under the “Fair Tax” program, lower-income people would see an immediate increase in tax rates of a monumental proportion. One of the numbers I have seen tossed about is 22%, that is, everyone would pay that tax rate with no deductions. Pretty good deal, right? Then, of course, the higher income tax payers would see a reduction in rates as much as 13% points, from about 35% to the previously mentioned 22%.
Sam has a lot of great ideas for Kansas – eliminating corporate taxes and drastically reducing regulations, especially those that affect the environment. “Protecting families” is another of Sam’s pet projects. Presumably that means taking what few rights they have away from gays and lesbians. Sam also says that he is going to create jobs for Kansans. Why he hasn’t done that yet is a mystery, never to be solved.
So, just when you think that Kansas could not be any worse off, along comes Sam.
Thank God for I-70.
William Stephenson Clark
One would think that Americans would remember the mess that Barack Obama inherited from the Republicans, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Given the average American’s attention span, perhaps that should not be surprising, but traumatic events usually remain in the forefront for more than just two years. Apparently, GOP-driven bad news has the life expectancy of tsetse fly.
Just two years ago, the global economy teetered on the brink of depression, led by a historic collapse of the American financial marketplace. During the Bush years, the National Debt doubled and job growth was stagnant. We were involved in two wars, neither of which was truly winnable and America’s future was ominously bleak.
Two long years down the road, the same band of characters claim that they have all the answers to solve all of America’s problems – it’s all very simple – more tax cuts and, ah, reduce spending.
In a GOP-tinted world, the answer to most any question is “cut taxes.” Times are good – cut taxes. Times are bad – cut taxes. Behind in the fourth quarter – cut taxes.
Cutting spending is a bit more of a difficult task. It all sounds very good, but the bloom wears off the rose very quickly when it comes down to actually making spending reductions. Military spending – too many bad guys out there. Earmarks – just cut your’s, not mine. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – not a chance.
Life can be rather frustrating, but nothing is more frustrating than trying to get a rational, straight answer out of a Republican candidate. Create jobs – sure, how are you going to do it now when you didn’t for years? Secure the borders – why didn’t you do that ten years ago? Defeat terror (sic) – what did Iraq have to do with terrorists? Protect families – huh? Is that code for banning abortion?
So, we stand at the crossroads once again, on the verge of handing power back to the very folks that led us down this road just a few short years ago. The struggles of the Bush years are now a distant, foggy memory. America seems to have chosen to forget the lessons of the past and is ready to give it another try.
When will we ever learn?
(Thread photo by the author – appropriate apologies have been delivered to the elephats of Sedgwick County Zoo.)
William Stephenson Clark
The thread title is a reference to another blog, where Democrats and progressives are not allowed to mention the name of the President that “served” from 2001 to 2009. Frequently, we are not even allowed to mention the years between 2001 and 2009, as if those pages have been wiped from history.
History, however, has a funny way of refusing to cleanse its self of unpleasantries. These days, in particular, the flow of information is so instantaneous and pervasive that there isn’t much that flies under the radar.
They say, “history is written by the victors” (Winston Churchill) but history is now written as it happens.
In my not so humble opinion, President XXXX, will go down in history as one of the most bumbling incompetents ever. The years between 2001 and 2009 will be viewed as a disaster for America, a disaster that President Barack Obama is valiantly trying to overcome.
How did we go from the relative peace and prosperity that was handed to President XXXX by President Clinton, to the full-blown train wreck that was handed to President Obama?
Unlike some, I do not blame 9/11 on XXXX, although he could obviously have paid more attention to the terrorism issue that he was warned about by President Clinton. The initial invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent defeat of the Taliban was necessary in light of the attacks by al Qaeda. After that, the train ran off the tracks.
The list of bad, horrible, disgusting and truly idiotic decisions that were made beginning in 2002 are well known, and there is no need for me to rehash them at this point. You know them all too well.
Despite all the evidence, there are still some that say that history will vindicate President XXXX and there are even some that say that he was a great President.
Hopefully, those folks are getting the mental health treatments that they obviously so desperately need.
My thought is that President XXXX is an American tragedy.
What are your thoughts?
(I am temporarily implementing a new rule for Pop Blog. Please limit profanity to a single curse word per sentence.)
William Stephenson Clark
They say that any boy can grow up to be President of the United States. Forty three have. (One is counted twice, serving non-consecutive terms.) We have yet to elect a woman as our leader, but that will come, despite the good old boy network. In 2008, we did manage to elect the first black man as our president, forty years after Robert F. Kennedy made that prediction.
President Barack Obama inherited the biggest mess at his inauguration that any president has since FDR was first elected. The list of challenges facing the new president was long and difficult. It makes you wonder why anyone would have wanted the job.
There is no doubt that being elected President is no easy task, but it pales in comparison to actually doing the job, one that has been made even more difficult for Obama with a completely united opposition. To the detractors of the President, I have often asked this question:
“What you would have done, starting January 20, 2009, without using the words ‘I wouldn’t have?'”
It’s easy to be an armchair President and list everything that has been done and then righteously claim “I wouldn’t have done that!” It’s a damned sight harder to make reasonable proposals and hold them up for scrutiny.
Contrary to the Republican mantra, Democrats are not in lock-step with Obama. There are many issues where we disagree and many lines of criticism. There are many things Democrats wish he had done and yes, some that we wish he hadn’t done.
It is ironic, perhaps, that some of the most damning criticism coming from the Left regarding President Obama is that he hasn’t been liberal enough!
“What would you have done?”
Easy question to ask, much more difficult to answer, yet it begs an answer from the detractors of our President.
I have my list, what is on yours?
William Stephenson Clark
This is quite the tricky subject. Employment is a lagging indicator of the health of the economy. Most all other economic indicators return to normal before the employment statistics do. It’s pretty simple, employers do not invest in hiring until they are sure that their investment will pay off.
Further, it has been my experience, that some employers find that they can make do with smaller staffs, even after the economy recovers.
So, more than two full years after the Great Recession began, millions of American workers are still actively looking for work. Many more, especially older workers, have simply given up. Charitable organizations around the country have seen their resources go beyond the breaking point.
In the past month, Senate Republicans have blocked efforts to extend unemployment benefits once again. Personally, that is the ultimate act of hypocrisy. And this is why……………
On one hand, there are those on the Right that say “there are jobs out there” and extending unemployment benefits is a deincentification for the unemployed to look for work. Yet, those same people on the Right also blame President Obama for not creating jobs!
Which is it?
Are there jobs out there? Very few, and most are quite low paying jobs. Did President Obama do enough to create jobs? Probably not. This Great Recession is unprecedented, far deeper than most could have imagined. The answers to all the questions do not come easily.
You know that times are bad when illegal immigrants are going back to Mexico to find work. Maybe NAFTA is finally working.
While there are some signs, however weak, that the economy is improving, there are also signs of a “double-dip” recession. Nationwide, housing prices have increased for the first time in forever, but the Consumer Confidence index has dropped dramatically.
I would like to think that I am intelligent enough to know some answers, but realistically, there are no answers.
Time will heal this wound, but time has a way of taking it’s sweet time.
William Stephenson Clark