Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Republicans are out of gas

- by New Deal democrat

{regular economic blogging will continue tomorrow. Here's something to ponder on a Sunday}

 I finally found a video I've wanted to share for a long time. Those of you under age 40 have probably never seen this 1980 political ad, but it is a classic. Titled "The democrats are out of gas," it featured a Tip O'Neill look-alike, and ended with the tag-line "Vote Republican. For a Change":


 I'm old enough to recall seeing this ad. It was devastatingly effective at the time. Literally, it blamed the democrats for the second Oil crisis and gas lines of 1979, and argued that republicans would heed the warnings spoken of in the ad.

 But that's not what was so effective. The ad was aimed at voters who had typically voted for democrats in the past. It suggested that they try "voting republican for a change" because the New Deal coalition was "out of gas." It was out of ideas and kept on coming up with more and more of the same old solutions, for which you can read, "more taxes, more inflation, more regulations, and more racial quotas."

 Not only did Ronald Reagan win the presidential election in 1980, but the republicans became the majority party in the Senate for only the second time in 50 years.

 Now 32 years later, it is the republicans who are "out of gas." Their coalition of Wall Street and the Bible Belt has no new solutions, just more shredding of the safety net and more giveaways to the already wealthy. In other words, more of what got us into the worst economic downturn in 70 years in the first place. Along with a puritanical invasion of personal privacy to boot.

Now it is those who have typically voted republican since 1980 who ought to try voting for democrats for a change. You certainly can't say that GOP solutions haven't been given a fair shot, especially under George W. Bush. And in case you are wondering which party has the better economic record, here is a graph of real GDP per 8 year presidencies since 1932 (democrats in blue, republicans in red, one term presidencies and Obama's first 3 years in black):


 In case it isn't clear, here's the order:
  1. FDR's New Deal - by a long shot!
  2. Kennedy-Johnson
  3. Clinton
  4. Reagan

 The worst are:
  1. George W. Bush
  2. Truman
  3. Eisenhower

At very least it cannot be argued that democrats have been worse for the economy than republicans.

From Bonddad:

There are a few points that I find particularly illustrative.

1.) Despite talking about the deficit and spending, no Republican candidate save Ron Paul has put forward a plan that would solve the problem.  In fact, all of the plans would make the problem worse.  

According to a new analysis from the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, none of them would. At least not through the next decade. In fact, compared to what the fiscal watchdog calls a realistic budget baseline (that is, if the government continues on the track it’s on today) all of the GOP candidates, save for Ron Paul, would make matters worse.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would make things far, far worse. Mitt Romney’s tax and spending plan wouldn’t bend the debt curve very much one way or the other. But, according to CRFB, if he doesn’t find a way to pay for his latest plan to cut tax rates by 20 percent Romney would significantly increase deficits and the debt as well.  

Except for Paul, each of the candidates has the same problem. They have enthusiastically promised to cut taxes in very specific ways—sometimes by vast amounts. But when it comes to offsetting spending reductions or cuts in tax breaks, they mostly offer little more than platitudes.

The degree of harm caused by all their plans indicates that they have absolutely no desire to even come close to fixing the problem. 

2.)  "Obamacare" was modeled on the Massachusetts plan, which was based on a conservative idea put forth by (I believe) the Heritage Foundation (or a similar conservative think tank).  This was Romney's crowning achievement as governor.  And yet, all the candidates are calling for a repeal of this plan, even though it's based on their ideas and concepts.  This is, simply put, madness.  The only reason the Republicans are calling for repeal is because "the other guy did it."   

3.)  The debt ceiling debate illustrated how recalcitrant the Republicans have become.  Boehner and Obama worked out a compromise that (If I recall correctly) was roughly $4 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in tax increases.  This was voted down by the Republican Freshman caucus, despite the fact it was a tremendous win.  And, the fact the debate almost led to a shut-down of the government was mind-numbing in its stupidity.

4.) The complete rejection of data: Here's the data point that I can't shake:  only 6% of scientists are Republicans.  That number is simply stunning and indicates that there is a serious problem. And by serious, I mean one side has gone off the rails.

One side has no idea what they're doing and make it up as they go along.  They have no concept of what's involved with leading and are pretty clueless about the economy has a whole.

And then there's the Republicans, who, simply put, are crazy.