Starve The Beast. Do conservative seniors understand the GOP's ultimate plan?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Londoner, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. Londoner

    Londoner Gold Member

    Jul 17, 2010
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    One of the declared goals of Movement Conservatism is to "Starve The Beast". In technical terms this simply means an attack on spending by depriving government of revenue. [Spending is here broadly defined as the New Deal and some Johnson programs -- SS & medicare being the most prominent, but I'm also talking about the whole regulatory and legal apparatus that gave labor a level playing field against capital, and provided poor workers with a measure of security against market downturns, e.g., mechanisms which protected average citizens from financial speculators. The postwar government not only made sure that middle class compensation was tied to economic growth, but they prevented the formation of monopolies over energy, health insurance, food, and media -- and finally, they extended affordable education to the masses through public university funding. These are the things that gave upward mobility to a generation of middle class Americans, many of whom went on to make great contributions to national prosperity, e.g., Ronald Reagan's father was lifted out of poverty by a government work program. Was saving the Reagan family from economic destruction a good investment?]

    Milton Friedman, the father of Starve the Beast, proved to be wrong in his prediction that depriving congress of money would lower spending. For instance, Reagan and Bush made historic cuts to taxes (revenue), but they actually increased spending (mostly on defense, but also bailouts, subsidies, pork, and ol' Medicare D, which was a pharma giveaway disguised as aid to seniors).

    When "Starve the Best" failed, the following consensus emerged in the Grover Norquist wing of the Republican Party: an epic financial crisis accompanied by extreme debt is the only thing powerful enough to create the political conditions to get rid of unions and social spending. Norquist was very frank in his supposition that people simply will not tolerate benefits to public employees, and aid to the unemployed, and medicare to seniors if you place the entire middle class on the Titanic. Meaning: the folks with jobs will -- if things get bad enough -- kick the jobless out of the lifeboat. [Sorry Grandma. Enjoy the cold North Atlantic waters!]

    Here is my question. Do seniors and working class conservatives understand how this economic disaster is going to be used politically? Do the Tea Party seniors who screamed "keep your government hands off my medicare" know that the wealthiest Americans are getting ready to kick them out of the lifeboat? Do poor working class catholics -- seduced by the culture war to join the Reagan Revolution -- understand that they have gotten in bed with a movement which is going to kick them out of the lifeboat?

    The policies of Movement Conservatism, centered around providing cheap labor to capital, have replaced the broadly shared prosperity of the postwar years with the narrow concentration of wealth and political power. [Specifically, their policies have unwittingly lead to a "winner take all economy" where the owners of capital (big corporations and their shareholders) have enjoyed historic gains which are not trickling down to the lower classes. Moreover, the higher taxes that used to go toward protecting the solvency of the middle class have been eliminated -- consequently, the middle class now requires debt-financed consumption to make up for their disappearing wages, benefits, and safety nets. This recipe has proven to be a disaster] Regardless, the effect of Movement Conservatism has been to disproportionately bestow the benefits of economic growth upon fewer and fewer people -- people who use their newfound wealth to consolidate power over politics and media, so they can craft legislation and opinion according to their interests.

    Which is to say: do poor working and middle class conservatives understand that they have been duped by the Culture Wars into becoming useful idiots?

    (The movement is about to cast these morons out to sea)
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011

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