The GOP reaction to the economic stimulus bill now passed by Congress has been bizarre. They are behaving as if the country did not resoundingly reject the economic policies of the last eight years. Lets not forget that President Obama’s victory was substantial. It was much larger than Bush’s alleged win over Kerry and the Democrats in Congress gained additional seats in the House and are one election cycle from having a filibuster proof majority in the U.S. Senate. Not one republican in the House voted for stimulating the American economy through tax cuts and spending. So under the usual republican logic by not voting to support tax cuts did they in essence support a tax increase?
It seems the republican party is clinging to a misguided belief that America is a center right nation. A notion that simply is not true. But facts and truth has never stopped some Republicans from repeating the same talking points over and over and over again. For instance, the talking points for the past couple of weeks have been: (1) refer to the stimulus bill as a spending bill, (2) blame Congressional Democrats (who keep winning elections) but not the new President, and (3) just say tax cuts over and over and over again. Not sure how good a tax cut is for one without a job.
During the course of the stimulus debate President Obama repeatedly pointed out that the point of the bill was to stimulate the economy through some government spending. Spending economists of all political persuasions agree is necessary to jump start the economy. The idea that the government should do nothing, as the President pointed out, is a philosophy in which the new administration simply does not agree. Congressional republicans have put themselves in the difficult position of hoping the economy does not get better.
What is the Republican obsession with tax cuts. How do they expect to pay for their previous President’s war? Republicans in California are so afraid to raise taxes, although its the right thing to do, because they are afraid of fringe anti-tax groups. California is the biggest state in the union and has consistent budget problems, despite laying off teachers, underfunding education, roads, and cuts in spending, because the state does not bring in enough money. The sales tax is lower than New York or even D.C. It’s ability to assess property taxes on perhaps the best real estate in the country is inhibited by voter approved initiatives. Another indication of why every issue should not be up to popular referendum. Additionally, the state gave billions away to Enron during the fraudulent energy crisis. Billions the state will never see again. Figures ironically enough not too far off of the consistent budget deficits.
The future of the Republican party does not seem very bright given its current economic philosophy of no government intervention in the economy. Especially when the opposite model has been the most successful economic model in the United States. The result is an old and aging party preaching old ideas and no one is listening except those in the ever so shrinking choir.