Oh!pinion Rotating Header Image

Today’s jobless aren’t the only ones paying
for decades of greed-is-good misleadership

No GOPT he economic meltdown brought to us by decades of Republican trickle-down economic policies and deregulation has left millions out of work, their savings trashed, their homes in jeopardy or in foreclosure, their financial well-being shattered.

Many of those devastated low-income and middle-income Americans have children whose present is severely damaged and whose future will be greatly diminished.

Dr. Peggy Drexler discusses the dimensions of what presidents Reagan, Bush 41, to a lesser extent, Clinton, Bush 43 and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan have wrought in a HuffPo blog post, Parents and Poverty: This Recession Can Hurt for a Generation.

.

It will be years before we’ll know how fear and uncertainty are shaping the futures of children caught in the crossfire of changed lives and anxious parents. A Brookings Institution report “Families of Recession — Unemployed Parents & Their Children” sees cause for concern. Children pushed into poverty by a recession, the report says, are three times more likely to be poor themselves than those who managed to stay more affluent. “In short, “say the authors, “the conditions of today will give rise to the next generation of poor Americans.”

A big part of that is the impact of poverty on education — children of families that are driven into poverty by the recession are 15 percent less likely to finish high school and 20 percent less likely to finish college than the non-poor.

.

For years, and with increasing intensity during George W. Bush’s presidency, Republicans in Congress repeated how crucial it was to reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax. Republicans said doing that would make our economy flourish, creating jobs aplenty and ushering in an era of unprecedented prosperity for all.

Republicans got their way on capital gains, along with lots of other things that turned out to be bad for the economy and the country.

Yet for all their capital gains tax talk, Republicans seldom if ever mentioned the human capital so vital to America’s future. Republicans didn’t mention that because they care little about human capital, whether it’s today’s or tomorrow’s.

Republicans do care about corporate executives and trustees. Republicans care about wealthy investors and the financial industry that serves them. After all, those are the people who fund their campaigns, pay for attack ads against their opponents and keep conservative think tanks and broadcast media churning out propaganda 24/7/365.

If you aren’t among Republicans’ favored few, you and your children are of no concern to them. Republican conservatives and their tea party and libertarian surrogates are economic Darwinists who believe in survival of the fittest.

Heads we win, tails you lose: Poverty and joblessness are proof of being unfit in conservative Republicans’ eyes. That’s how they see it even if they and their rich backers are responsible for your lack of a job and your poverty.

Survival of the greediest and most selfish — that’s what Republican politics and family values are really all about.

Those, unfortunately, are Republican family values, but they’re not American family values.

.

22 Comments

  1. Tom Harper says:

    But there are still way too many cumbersome regulations that are strangling the economy and stifling innovation. We can put America back to work by eliminating the EPA and the National Labor Relations Board, as well as lowering taxes for the job creators 🙂

    Seriously though, too many millions of middle- and lower-income voters have been brainwashed into voting against their own interests. This was how Reagan got elected, and I haven’t seen any improvement in the Democrats’ messaging/communicating ability since then.

  2. Dave Dubya says:

    For the radical Right, the value of children drops after they are born. From then on only corporate persons matter.

  3. S.W. Anderson says:

    Remember, Tom, those folks voting against their own interests might become rich themselves someday. Uncle Lester’s invention, a transistor radio built into a toilet paper roll holder, might finally catch on with the public. Especially since he updated it to receive Satellite radio. Someone in the clan might win the lottery. You never know.

    Dave, sort of. If children of the unwashed masses can be herded into corporate franchise charter schools where unnecessary topics like slavery and a century of segregation can be omitted, and there’s a profit to be made, conservatives are OK with it. Otherwise, public schools, dens of union-protected, underproductive, Democratic-voting teachers that they are, must go.

  4. “… when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan—and thus championed ‘ending Medicare as we know it’—while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.”

    Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast: “How Obama Can Really Hurt the GOP: Focus on Its Radical Economic Plan

  5. Why do you insist on claiming to know the motivation of Republicans? Based on the above, you clearly have no idea what they/we care or do not care about.

  6. S.W. Anderson says:

    L.P., thanks for pointing out an excellent post by Tomasky. He couldn’t be more right. I’ve said all along one of the main things, maybe the main thing, Obama needs to do in this campaign is debunk trickle-down and demonize in the public mind anyone who espouses it. He needs to do that so thoroughly that even radical-conservative true believers are as reluctant to be seen promoting trickle down as Democrats are reluctant to be seen backing tougher gun control or raising pointed questions about military adventures.

    There’s an old saying, HR: Actions speak louder than words.
    Republican politicians and the whole professional right-wing infrastructure of strategists, “operatives,” propagandists and the like have decades of modus operandi revealing their motives and methods. They have 1,001 cover stories for what is at basis a cynical political racket. It’s all about lining their pockets, getting and keeping them in power, and doing those things by dividing the public, scaring the public, union busting, shrinking the middle class, criminalizing poverty, dirty tricks like voter suppression and, most of all, seeing to it their sugar daddies are richly rewarded for financing their election victories.

    Thirty years of pudding makes for lots of timely proof, although those who bother with history can see the same pattern in the 1870’s-1890’s and the 1920’s.

    Are there old-line “cloth-coat” Republicans among the public whose mindset is still stuck in the comparative decency of the Eisenhower years? I’m sure there are. But in reality, today’s GOP bears as much resemblance to the somewhat chastened GOP of the 1950’s as a bubonic plague epidemic has to a cold bug going around.

  7. Jolly Roger says:

    HR, we judge them based on what they DO, as well as what they SAY. We have a pretty good idea of what motivates the present-day Rushpubliscums. Patriotism, economic viability, and social justice aren’t among those things.

  8. Dave Dubya says:

    SW and HR,

    Deeds speak louder than words, in their effects on our country. Words speak louder than deeds in out elections and media. Corporate media is notorious for “fair and balanced” reporting of both parties’ words over their deeds.

    This is all about what Big Money does. It lobbies, writes legislation, bribes and bankrolls both parties. Thanks to the fact that all of the primary national media are corporate media, corporate party No.1 will never be accurately portrayed as an uncompromising, anti-democracy political force for economic elites.

    Unfortunately for democracy, and the majority, corporate party No. 2 is also unable to portray the No. 1 corporate party as an uncompromising, anti-democracy political force for economic elites, without exposing their own similarities in what they also do.

  9. Do you hear yourselves? You agree with ME that actions speak louder, yet you all insist on discussing (what you think are) Republican motives. By all means, talk about Republican actions and we can debate their effects, but stop claiming you know what motivates Republicans.

    You clearly don’t like Republicans, so you will never attribute a positive motive to them. So stick to demonstrable actions that no one can deny. Your arguments will be more convincing.

    1. S.W. Anderson says:

      H.R., it doesn’t take a clairvoyant to understand your motivation for shifting the discussion from what the post talks about to attributing motives and being unfair to Republicans. The fact we have the highest unemployment and poverty rate in decades, and that young people’s lives have been diminished because of both, is mostly and directly attributable to conservative Republicans and their corporate and other wealthy backers.

  10. S.W. Anderson says:

    One party saw to it our auto industry didn’t collapse, taking more than 1 million jobs with it. One party applied the best available remedy to resuscitate a failing economy, one losing 700,000-plus jobs a month. The other party chiseled the stimulus bill down by nearly 25 percent, holding out the possibility two or three Republican senators might vote for it. In the end, the 25 percent was lost and not a single Republican voted for the remedy. Economic data are clear that stimulus, to the extent it was given a chance, reversed the downward spiral, restored some confidence and started things back up. Had the lost 25 percent been applied, the unemployment rate would probably be 1 percent less than it is now.

    We know full well why Republicans, en masse, refused to help with stimulus, fought against unemployment extensions, demanded cuts and freezes in federal hiring and aid to the states, refused stimulus programs and projects in the states they control, and much more. The planned from Obama’s first day to sabotage recovery and thwart him and Democrats’ every effort to get people back to work. They did that for cynical, selfish — evil, IMO — political reasons.

    An honest look at the past decade makes the actions and motives of both major parties clear. One seeks money and power, anything to win, and doesn’t care who gets hurt, how many get hurt, or how badly others get hurt, to get what they want. The other party tries, at least most of the time, to actually govern in the broad public interest.

    Democrats aren’t lily white and 100 percent pure. The system has been jiggered so they have to grub for money where they can get it to remain competitive and not relinquish any hope of doing any good for anyone, or at least be able to stop the worst of what the other side is doing. I’ve read plenty of political history and have been impressed with how few pure and perfect parties and politicians there has ever been.

    On that score, Dave, here’s a tip before we lapse into being fatally cynical about Democrats. If you find yourself in a rowboat with only one oar and you’re rapidly approaching a waterfall, don’t throw away the one oar you’ve got because it’s damaged. Your best bet is to work with it.

  11. “The fact we have the highest unemployment and poverty rate in decades, and that young people’s lives have been diminished because of both, is mostly and directly attributable to conservative Republicans and their corporate and other wealthy backers.”

    Then it should be very easy for you to prove it. I won’t hold my breath.

    1. S.W. Anderson says:

      No, H.R., if you feel so inclined, you prove me wrong.

  12. Demeur says:

    In talking to a republican just yesterday she ranted about the unemployed and the occupy movement trying of course to link the two. And of course the term lazy hippies came into play. How truly egotistical she was as the rant went on until I pointed out that she was not employed and her prospects were not looking good either.

    1. S.W. Anderson says:

      Demeur, that conversation was analogous to discussing the patriotism and sacrifice of military service with Dick “Other Priorities” Cheney or Mitt Romney, who as a young man enjoyed Paris in the missionary position.

  13. Dave Dubya says:

    Since 1980 we’ve had only Republicans and corpo-dems in the White House. We have a Senate that, according to Durbin, bankers “own the place”.

    Liberals have not been in charge for decades. That leaves us with failed conservative corporate polices.

    Yet the radical Right must blame/scapegoat liberals for everything as they actively suppress democracy and unions. THey are not unlike the former Soviets, Chinese Communists, Nazis, dictators and other fascists in their opposition to democracy.

    The proof is everywhere.

  14. Well Dave, if that’s the game we’re playing, we haven’t had a conservative in the White House since Reagan. Conservatives, too, haven’t been in charge for decades, so you can’t blame us either.

  15. S.W. Anderson says:

    Dave is correct, H.R. You’d have us believe the former two-time governor of the red state of Arkansas who later became president is a liberal. That would be the same Bill Clinton who had an epiphany after Democrats got trounced in ’94, and so promptly declared an end to big government and welfare. That would be the same Bill Clinton who set us up for an economy with its manufacturing base gutted, turning millions of $15-25/hour workers into $8-$12/hour workers while leaving others trying to get by on minimum wage in jobs, many only temporary or part time, with no security, no benefits and no future. All of that despite sound warnings from several economic and trade experts that NAFTA and similar arrangements would be a big mistake because of the huge disparity in wages and lack of unionization in Third World countries.

    Since 1980, the U.S. has had 20 years of Republican administrations, three of them, and not quite 12 of Democratic administrations. To make matters worse, Republicans controlled Congress from ’94-2006, giving the GOP total control of the government for nearly six disastrous years.

    What your last comment tells me is that any politician who has half a brain, isn’t a perverse authoritarian with strong chickenhawk tendencies and doesn’t have moss growing on his north side, qualifies as a flaming liberal. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.

    My opinion is that your opinion is nonsense.

  16. I agree. The opinion you fabricated for me is pure nonsense.

    1. Jolly Roger says:

      You need to learn that repeating the chants doesn’t make them any truer for Rushpubliscums than it does when the Hare Krishnas do it. You can lie to yourself all you want to, but don’t expect to sell those lies outside of your fellow non-sentient beings.

  17. Dave Dubya says:

    Ha! The old “Bushes were not conservative” line. This is the hallmark of dupes, fanatics and liars.

    Well somebody passed corporate written trade agreements.

    Somebody cut taxes and regulations.

    Somebody started wars based on lies.

    Somebody wrote the Patriot Act.

    Somebody put in federal prosecutors to chase “voter fraud” phantoms and fired them for not trumping up charges.

    Somebody imprisoned Americans indefinitely without charges or counsel.

    Somebody authorized warrantless surveillance of citizens before saying, ” Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way.”

    Somebody started “faith bassed” initiatives and wrapped themselves in the flag while carrying the cross.

    Somebody is no moderate or liberal.

    1. S.W. Anderson says:

      After writing my previous response, I remembered that Calvin Coolidge is Somebody’s favorite president. That alone qualifies Somebody as an archconservative and very perverse.