Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Are Congressional Republicans myopic? Or just really bad at math?

Last week, the national Republican Party unveiled their Pledge to America. If you watched the brilliant Jon Stewart piece on this, you know that the much-ballyhoo’d Pledge is the Same Old Sh– from the Grand Old Party (AKA, the Party of No Ideas): tax cuts for the rich (AKA, trickle down economics); elimination of “Obamacare” (AKA, pay-your-own-way health savings accounts); traditional values (AKA, we hope everyone has forgotten those gay sex scandals); control spending (AKA, we hope everyone has forgotten our deficit-spending binge under Bush II); reduce government (AKA, we hope everyone has forgotten those earmarks and bail-outs we voted for); support the troupes; stand by our friends; tort reform; yada, yada, yada.

There was much comparison in the media of the Pledge to America and the Contract with America, Newt Gingrich’s document from the early 1990s when the Republicans took control of Congress. As Stewart so aptly pointed out, the Pledge to America is “not even a sequel [to the Contract with America], it’s a shot-by-shot remake.” He proceed to show clips of long-term Congressional Republicans like House Minority Leader John Boehner (above, courtesy of NPR) spouting the same ideas in 1994 – 2004 as they outlined last week in the Pledge.

The grand finale was Boehner 2010 side-by-side with Boehner of the past saying exactly the same words with the same emphasis and pacing. (How’s that for living up to your stereotype of the Party of No Ideas?)

Fast forward one week…

Pundits are now analyzing and commenting on the content of the Pledge to America, and more data are being released about the dismal state of the economy. (“Drat, we thought we could get by with soundbites!” Boehner is overheard saying in Southern Ohio tanning spa.)

– The Economic Policy Institute released a report that says the Republicans’ job creation plan (AKA, give more money to the rich) would result in the loss of 1.1 million jobs. (I guess they are the only ones who have not heard that giving money to the rich is the least effective way to stimulate the economy and jobs and that trickle down economics doesn’t work.)

– The 2010 Census data revealed that the gap between rich and poor is widening (duh), and that poverty has increased in most states. (So, why have Republicans vote against extension of unemployment repeatedly? Why are they holding extension of the middle class tax cuts hostage? Why did they try to block Obama’s jobs bill? Why do they want to eliminate the public safety nets of healthcare reform and Social Security? Why? Because all of these things are unfriendly to the corportists. They represent the multinational corporations of America– not the people.)

Robert Reich said on NPR that the middle class can’t go any deeper into debt and can’t work longer hours. They’re doing everything they can to survive.

And besides all of this, their plan just doesn’t add up. They want to repeal healthcare reform and make all of the Bush II’s tax cuts (especially those for the ultra rich) permanent PLUS cut government and cut the deficit.

George Bush I called trickle down economics “voodoo economics” when he ran against Ronald Reagan for president. What the Republicans are proposing with the Pledge to America is “voodoo math”. Healthcare reform and sunsetting Bush II’s tax cuts on the richest Americans save us BILLIONS of dollars. If Congressional Republicans are allowed to accomplish these two goals, the US economy will be hurt even more. Also, decreasing the size of government means eliminating government jobs. On the NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, one commentator said that even if the Republicans take government spending back to Reagan era levels + cut more, we would still be no where near a balanced budget.

The bottom line is: the Pledge to American is a hoax. Don’t buy the lie.

3 comments on “Are Congressional Republicans myopic? Or just really bad at math?

  1. Jim Baird
    September 30, 2010

    >I;m no apologist or fan of the Repubs, but let's get one thing straight: the whole idea of "saving us billions" by increasing taxes is complete nonsense when you understand the mechanics of the monetary system. The Federal government niether "has" nor "doesn't have" money; it creates it by spending, and destrys it by taxing. The only purpose of taxation is to remove purchasing power from the economy in order to prevent inflation, NOT to "raise revenue" – and the fact that almost 20% are un- or under-employed tells us that the last things we should be doing right now is raising taxes on anyone. In fact, we should be cutting them more, starting with the highly regressive payroll tax.For more in depth information on the modern monetary system and the policy possibilities it allows, go to http://moslereconomics.com.


  2. Pamela
    September 30, 2010

    >I am not suggesting raising taxes. I am suggesting the sunset of welfare to the richest 0.1% of US citizens. Thirty years of corporate tax cuts and welfare for the rich (AKA trickle down economics) has not worked, so why continue with these costly, failed policies? Check out Paul Krugman from the NY Times and Robert Reich.


  3. Jim Hannley
    September 30, 2010

    >Mr. Baird. Indeed taxes do raise revenue for the Federal, State and Local Governments. The very high concentration of wealth in the hands of individuals actually does remove it from circulation and usually winds up in speculative markets leading to bubbles. Your assertion that the "purpose of taxation is to remove purchasing power…" as a control of inflation is really erroneous. In fact the US Treasury in concert with the Federal Reserve does control inflation by setting the Federal Funds Rate (Federal Reserve) and buy issuing and buying back Treasury Bonds (Treasury). This is called "monetary policy". Perhaps more salient to the economy, is "fiscal policy" which is set by the White House and acted upon by Congress.


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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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