Financial FAQs

Now that Mitt Romney seems to have sewed up the Republican delegates needed for his Presidential candidacy, the war for the Hearts and Minds of Americans begins in earnest. And we can trust that the Lee Atwater—Karl Rove propaganda machine that elected Ronald Reagan and the Bushes will be in full swing.

For starters, we heard Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan congratulate Mitt Romney on his Wisconsin primary win with the assertion that Obama was the divider, not the uniter he had promised to be. And then ‘Mitt’ repeated his assertion that more jobs had been lost during Obama’s tenure that at any time since WWII.

This is classic Rovian tactics. Republicans since Lee Atwater—Rove’s mentor—have always attempted to project their own weaknesses on their opponents—to blame their opponents for their own shortfalls, in other words.

But it is the Republicans who are the classic dividers, of course, in attacking women, immigrant and minority rights with their culture wars. And Bush had the worst job creation record since WWII on his watch—just 5 million jobs created in his 8 years, plus a record deficit and the Great Recession, which caused the loss of a record 8 million jobs. Whereas 3.6 million jobs have been created in just Obama’s first 3+ years.

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Graph: BLS

President Obama is already in full campaign attack mode, as he pointed out how extreme is Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget, “an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism”….In fact, “broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few,” he said.

So it strains credibility that Mitt Romney even has an economic platform to stand on. As we have pointed out in past blogs, Republicans have neither had a good growth or employment record for at least the past 30 years. Why? Because they have consistently taken the wrong side of the economic argument. They have always advocated for the ‘rentiers’, owners of wealth, rather than those that produce it as well as create the demand for those products—the employees, 80 percent of which are wage and salary earners. In so doing, Republicans have demonized all who would oppose their most-vested interests; including labor unions, public education, and even publicly-owned assets and activities that they assert are more efficiently run by private entities.

That just isn’t so, of course. Government regulated Medicare has just a 3 percent administrative overhead, whereas private health care providers have a 25 percent overhead, much of it spent on advertising to sell their products. The record of private armies isn’t better, as Blackwater, Kellogg, Brown and Root, mercenaries, et. al., spent $billions in Iraq that have never been accounted for. And privatized prisons are known for overcharging governments, as well as abusing their prisoners.

The worst Republican propaganda has been with federal debt, as they continue to advocate tax cuts, while asserting that Democrats are responsible for the soaring deficits. But this is again Rovian reasoning, as it was Presidents Reagan and GW Bush who created most of the current deficit with their ‘supply-side’ theory that lower taxes created more wealth for everyone. Well, it certainly helped the 1 percent, but has almost bankrupted the federal government, as the historical deficit chart shows.

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Graph: Wikipedia

Public debt had come down to 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 1970s, and had almost paid off the remaining $1 trillion of WWII debt when Clinton left office in 2000 after 4 years of budget surpluses.

This is while Republicans even today insist in further lowering tax rates. Ryan’s 2013 budget has even upped the ante, with cuts to Medicare and other social programs to pay for the Republican tax cuts that continue to mostly flow to the wealthiest. The Republican recipe for reviving our economy won’t work, in other words.

Harlan Green © 2012