Thursday, December 02, 2010


Those Poor Republicans

Republicans in the Senate - all 42 of them - have announced they will filibuster any legislation or other matter that comes to the Senate unless and until there is a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for another two years.  For instance, they won't vote on any proposed strategic arms treaty with Russia until the tax question is settled to their satisfaction.  In the recent election we were led to believe that the voters were dissatisfied with

  1. Escessive partisanship and bickering in Washington
  2. Unemployment and the lousy economy
  3. The out-of-control deficit
  4. The stimulus program, viewed by many as a big failure
  5. Inability of the Democrats to pass a simple, effective health care law that did not continue special favors for big pharma and big insurers
Now we see that the partisanship and bickering are still with us in force.  The economy hasn't improved.  Republicans want to continue the deficit by continuing the Bush tax rates.  The stimulus is now recognized by economists as a successful program that prevented the loss of another million jobs.

Individual Republican Senators are not stupid.  At least, most of them are not stupid.  They know that the economy is the big problem and must be dealt with now, not after the election of 2012 when, they hope, the President will be a Republican.  Why are they putting so much importance on the Bush tax rates?

It must be a Republican article of faith, like the belief in the resurrection of Jesus among Christians, that lowering taxes is always the solution.  If the economy is down, lower taxes.  If there is a smallpox epidemic, lower taxes.  Lowering taxes, especially on the richest taxpayers, will enable these fortunate people to have extra money that they will spend on employing more workers in their factories, donating money to provide free smallpox medication to the populace, and other good works.  In the case of the Christian belief, there is no one alive today who witnessed the resurrection and we don't really know exactly what happened, or if indeed anything happened.  So to the case that lowering taxes, especially on wealthy people, stimulates the economy: it may have happened once but there is no one around who actually saw in happen and can explain in detail how it happened and whether it would happen this time.  There have certainly been times when a lowering of taxes coincided with recovery from a recession.  There have also been times that taxes were lowered when there was no recession, and there have been times when a recession leveled out and became a recovery and there was no simultaneous change in tax rates.  Yet, the theory remains an article of faith among Republicans.

When is the Grand Old Party going to come to its senses and become the hard-nosed and realistic party it once was?  When is the Party going to exchange Sarah Palin for a Dwight Eisenhower or an Earl Warren?

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