Dec 15, 2012

Dreams Die Hard

     From Paul Krugman writing for the New York Times:
... Since the 1970s, the Republican Party has fallen increasingly under the influence of radical ideologues, whose goal is nothing less than the elimination of the welfare state — that is, the whole legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society. From the beginning, however, these ideologues have had a big problem: The programs they want to kill are very popular. Americans may nod their heads when you attack big government in the abstract, but they strongly support Social Security, Medicare, and even Medicaid. So what’s a radical to do? 
The answer, for a long time, has involved two strategies. One is “starve the beast,” the idea of using tax cuts to reduce government revenue, then using the resulting lack of funds to force cuts in popular social programs. Whenever you see some Republican politician piously denouncing federal red ink, always remember that, for decades, the G.O.P. has seen budget deficits as a feature, not a bug.
Arguably more important in conservative thinking, however, was the notion that the G.O.P. could exploit other sources of strength — white resentment, working-class dislike of social change, tough talk on national security — to build overwhelming political dominance, at which point the dismantling of the welfare state could proceed freely....
O.K., you see the problem: Democrats didn’t go along with the program, and refused to give up. Worse, from the Republican point of view, all of their party’s sources of strength have turned into weaknesses. Democratic dominance among Hispanics has overshadowed Republican dominance among southern whites; women’s rights have trumped the politics of abortion and antigay sentiment; and guess who finally did get Osama bin Laden. 
And look at where we are now in terms of the welfare state: far from killing it, Republicans now have to watch as Mr. Obama implements the biggest expansion of social insurance since the creation of Medicare.
So Republicans have suffered more than an election defeat, they’ve seen the collapse of a decades-long project. And with their grandiose goals now out of reach, they literally have no idea what they want — hence their inability to make specific demands [in the fiscal cliff negotiations].
It’s a dangerous situation. The G.O.P. is lost and rudderless, bitter and angry, but it still controls the House and, therefore, retains the ability to do a lot of harm, as it lashes out in the death throes of the conservative dream. 

5 comments:

Max Abilify said...

Paul Krugman or Jack Klugman? Not exactly a student of history. The Republican Party was proclaimed dead, ancient history after the Goldwater debacle in 1964. Nixon (!) was elected handily in 1968. The elephant obituary was again published after Watergate and Nixon's resignation, only to have the country suffer through the double-digit inflation of Jimmy Carter. Reagan was elected in 1980, then Bush I in 1988. After Obama's huge victory in 2008 with a filibuster-proof Senate and a huge House majority, it was again all over for the Republicans, only to have them take the House and halve their Senate deficit in 2010. I hardly see the 2012 election as a huge mandate for the Democratic left. A handful of middle-of-the-road Republicans could have won three or four more of November's Senate contests. The NYT has obviously determined that the Republicans can do no better than a senior citizen, gazillionaire, Mormon candidate next time around. I wouldn't bet on that. The pendulum swings in both directions.

Anonymous said...

Since the 1970s, the Democrat Party has fallen increasingly under the influence of radical ideologues, whose goal is nothing less than the growth of the welfare state —

Victor Bobier said...

So Mr Anonymous, You'd repeal or cut SS, SSDI, SSI, Medicare and Medicaid/Medi-Cal?

Sounds like BLOOD MONEY to Me...

Oh and SSI was created by Republicans, signed into law in 1972 by President Richard M. Nixon, a Republican, SSI is Supplemental Security Income, not Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance, both of which are self funding as people pay into both through Payroll Taxes and keep both Seniors and Disabled People out of Poverty, so they are not a drain or a cause of the Deficit.

Unlike a bloated Military that spends money like there's no end, on Chefs for 3 and 4 Star Gens/Admirals that could run their own 4 star restaurants, Staff that Rock and Roll stars would envy for 3 and 4 Star Gens/Admirals, Private Jets for those same 3 and 4 Star Gens/Admirals, 234 Golf courses around the world, a couple of which are worth $26 Million(Southern Korea) and $80 Million(Saudi Arabia).

All of these things buried in the Defense budget and possibly others don't have a thing to do with National Defense, Yet You'd advocate Tax Cuts for the Super Rich and slashed throats for Seniors and Disabled People who do not get lavish amounts and literally would do nothing to even get close to balancing the budget, whereas Tax Hikes on the rich back to where they used to be and getting rid of the Oil subsidies and cutting the obscene fat from the Porky Military budget where retired Generals/Admirals have boosted profits by advocating planes like the F35 that are way too expensive at $1.5 Trillion over the next 10 years...

Get real and get informed...

Anonymous said...

Granted military also needs to be cut. The is why the so called "financial cliff" needs to happen. Need to stop kicking the can down the road and start making real cuts, not just reducing the rate of growth.

SSI for children needs to go. If the child is disabled, provide medical care and that's it.

Anonymous said...

Paul Klugman--another left-wing Nobel prize winner, who has no real credibility, something like a certain Nobel peace Prize winner.