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The Beast

© Tom Toles

Republicans, who voted against every single bill that Obama came up with to help jumpstart the economy, spent their debate last night attacking Obama for not doing enough about the economy. But their only answer is lower taxes, which ignores the fact that one third of the cost of Obama’s stimulus bill (which they opposed and now attack) was to lower taxes, and the fact that taxes right now are the lowest they have been in 60 years, yet the economy continues to go into the toilet. Oh, they also want decreased regulation, even though it was decreased regulation of banks that triggered the economic collapse in the first place. They also complained about the deficit, even though Republicans have done far more to run up the deficit than Democrats.

Why does anyone listen to them when they trot out their old, tired answers that clearly have not worked? I would love it for some Republican to suggest something new, but they all seem to be part of the Borg collective. As First Read puts it:

The other big loser of the night was a serious, substantive discussion on the economy. After spending the last few weeks criticizing the Obama administration on this subject, not a single GOP presidential candidate offered a convincing plan on how to create jobs. We heard plenty about lower taxes and less regulation. The problem: Taxes are already at their lowest level since the 1950, and that hasn’t really jump-started the economy. Moreover, there was little regulation during the Bush administration, and that didn’t produce a wave of jobs between 2001 and 2009.



  1. Michael wrote:

    David Brooks normally annoys that crap out of me, but his summary of current GOP economic policies is spot on: Republicans have taken a pragmatic policy proposal from 1980 and sanctified it as their core purity test for 2012.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    David Brooks still annoys the crap out of me. In that article he condemns the Republican party for living in the past and the Democrats for not having any new ideas, but then when he tries to make his own proposals, it is an odd mix of equally old proposals (simplify the tax code, lower corporate tax rates) and things that are identical to what the Democrats are trying to promote (immigration reform, education, innovation).

    Brooks gives moderates a bad name. I agree with Michael that his summary of the current GOP economic policies is spot on, but realizing you have a problem is only the first step.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    Yeah, Brooks made a number of claims in that column that were crap (conveniently ignoring the Koch Industries/FreedomWorks controlling the Tea Party, suggesting that Dems’ economic policies are built around solar panels and light rail). Regarding the accusation that the Dems have no ideas, I can understand how that claim gets made with the Obama administration. In my opinion, Obama is the type of politician that people claim they want, but they really don’t. That is, instead of posturing, he spends time actually working toward primary objectives (see Obama & bin Laden vs. Bush and “Mission Accomplished”). Instead of playing political games, he spends most of his time behind the scenes working out deals.

    In short, despite what people say, an important part of a politician’s job is to make a show of things and argue his case before the court of public opinion. Obama, by eschewing these political games and limiting his visibility, opens himself up to the accusation that he’s not actually presenting ideas.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  4. David Freeman wrote:

    Well said, both the original post and Michael’s expansions. I really appreciate the effort you’ve taken to clearly lay out your analysis.

    I’d be interested in what you think of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ budget proposal, . It doesn’t seem to get much press even though the Republicans say Democrats have no ideas.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    The fact that the CPC budget proposal doesn’t get any press at all (and people like David Brooks pretend it doesn’t exist) is just proof that our corporate-owned media is worthless.

    As for my opinion of the CPC proposal, it is surprisingly moderate. I like it a lot from the summary. Worryingly, the full PDF document won’t load for me, so I can’t give it a full read yet.

    About the only think I don’t like about it (so far) is the name: “The People’s Budget”? Seriously? How about “The only budget proposal that will actually do something about the deficit and get our country back on track at the same time”.

    [UPDATE] I was finally able to download the document. It is only 12 pages, so not enough detail, but in general it looks good. If I were going to quibble, I would look a bit harder at some of the things for which they are increasing spending. And if it were up to me, I’d decriminalize all drugs so we would stop spending so much money on prisons.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
  6. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    The CPC budget must be ineffective because it doesn’t destroy programs that Republicans hate.

    You can try to argue against this with “facts” and “logic,” but that only proves how much of an atheist Muslim you are.

    Hi, I’m TenThirtyTwo, and I’ve decided to join the race for Republican presidential candidate.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 5:05 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Not meant to be a factual statement.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Heh! Someone posted that column by David Brooks to Reddit, with the headline “Republican columnist’s ideal candidate sounds exactly like President Obama”. Ain’t it the truth!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink
  9. starluna wrote:

    I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only one who doesn’t care for Brooks. He puts on a show of self-reflection but, as IK and Michael point out, there isn’t much there.

    With that said, I don’t know how fair it is to say that Obama is not getting enough visibility. That might be true on cable TV news (I don’t know because I don’t watch it) but I hear him and his people, as well as discussions about him, all the time on the PBS news shows, NPR, in the newspaper, on the internet, here on this blog, on the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert shows, and on Facebook. And this is with me controlling my news-junkie habit.

    I don’t know what people expect, but I don’t expect nor want to see the President on TV all day every day. But maybe I’m one of the apparent few who prefer my president to actually be getting stuff done.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink
  10. Michael wrote:

    Starluna, I’m completely with you and would much rather have a president who actually spends his time governing. Regarding my previous comment (#3), I was primarily referring to the lack of meaningful visibility on the media sources used by those who make the “Democrats have no ideas” claim. That is, I was referring to ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, etc. For instance, back during the health care debate, Obama could have taken a prime-time slot and made the case for reform and confronted the false crap about death panels.

    I recently came across the notion of rational ignorance in relation to public choice theory and find it interesting. For most people, the cost of becoming informed exceeds the perceived benefits. Hence, the majority of people in the U.S. do not look for multiple news sources and believe the crap that their infotainment source tells them. So when Fox and CNN report that Rep. Moron (R-Idiotville) says that the Dems have no ideas, the viewer doesn’t take the time to look for and read the People’s Budget.

    IK, I’m with you on the budget name. Any title that starts with “The People’s …” is just a bad idea. Too reminiscent of the types of titles chosen in Communist nations (e.g., “The People’s Republic of China”).

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  11. starluna wrote:

    Michael – I will have to look up rational ignorance. I had no idea that someone had put a term to it.

    Friday, June 17, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink