The 2016 Republican Platform, the social solutions would legitimize the indefensible act of bullying of women, blacks, the LGBTQ, and Muslims. Modern Republican behavior reflects bullying too, and their reliance on it. After the Orlando massacre of June 20, 2016, Republican Senate leaders bullied the minority by shouting them down to avoid a discussion of gun control. And to describe their mode of operations as “Rebirth of Constitutional Government,” as per one of the headings in the platform is particularly laughable given their refusal to do their constitutional duty regarding the SCOTUS nominee. In fact, all of the headings and subheadings in this platform are belied by the actions of some of the high profile Republican office holders over the last eight years. Though the platform is written to give the impression their plans are meant to benefit everyone, it’s hard to believe their ultimate actions would be designed to aid the lower and middle classes, when so many Republican-led states have been forced into bankruptcy and their assets sold off by policies of the very politicians given responsibility for the safety of all citizens.
Modern Republican economic protocols are depressing. Their rhetoric tells us some fairy tale about the benefits that will trickle down to benefit everyone in every class. In fact, almost every Republican action in this century and the latter half of the last one has been aimed at strengthening corporations and enriching billionaires. And the most damning thing about Republican, neoliberal economics is that they bring the whole country closer and closer to bankruptcy. The Cambridge English dictionary defines neoliberal as “supporting a large amount of freedom for markets, with little government control or spending, and low taxes.” Merriam-Webster online and Dictionary.com it only relates to liberals. However, as liberals don’t buy that philosophy, it’s a commonplace misconception. The latter two online sources also define Keynesian (see proper definition below) with wording more appropriate to neoliberal. It just sounds like someone is trying to confuse the issue.
Of the rise of neoliberalism, which goes back to the 1930s, Susan George, wrote in a paper to the Conference on Economic Sovereignty in a Globalising World, Bangkok, in 1999: “In 1945 or 1950, if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today’s standard neo-liberal [sic] toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage [. . . ] or sent off to the insane asylum.
At least in the Western countries, at that time, everyone was a Keynesian, a social democrat or a social-Christian democrat or some shade of Marxist. The idea that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given much less rather than more social protection–such ideas were utterly foreign to the spirit of the time..”
As late as 1956, Republicans supported workers and unions. Politifact said the meme about what they fought for in that election cycle was generally true. Even President Reagan once said that freedom could not survive without collective bargaining. It’s sad to see how far they’ve strayed.”
The stock market crash of 1929, which sparked the Great Depression happened late in the term of Republican President Calvin Coolidge a “pro-business conservative who favored tax cuts and limited government spending.” The next president Republican Herbert Hoover didn’t take The Depression seriously at first, and then made it worse by continuing to ignore it and foisting responsibility on states rather than investing any of the federal government’s resources to balance the economy.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal put people back to work, and supported the middle and lower classes. By the time I came into the world, white people and a few others had reclaimed confidence in their own economic situation, and were buying homes and investing in the economy as consumers.
As lifestyles became more about excess, the economy began to drop. President JimmyCarter used the zero-based budgeting to reign in government spending. His conservative administrative methods began a slow rise in the economy; it wasn’t fast enough.
In the late 20th Century, Republican Ronald Reagan used his party’s supply-side tactics which gave a moderate increase in employment, but increased homelessness to a point that we saw more living openly in the streets, shockingly reminiscent of the Great Depression. In his two terms, as President, Reagan cut the budgets of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (by 40%), the Department of Commerce (by 32%), the Department of Agriculture (by 24%), the Department of Education (by 19%) When Reagan took office in 1981, the federal debt was down to $994 billion and had grown to $2.9 trillion by the time his second term ended in 1989.
His deregulation, continued by his successors, allowed banks and Wall Street to scam and connive, again weakening the middle class, and worsening the situation in the lowest classes. In my lifetime, Republicans have consistently tried to diddle the middle class while screaming at the evils of Communism. Yet, an article on Quora.com said, though it’s only one of two reasons, “Communism is usually a response by the poor and oppressed when poverty and oppression reach a breaking point.” In other words, the distribution of wealth has been used by the wealthy (in the case of Russia, the Czars’ family) against the lower class, to the point where the middle class no longer functions as a buffer between the upper and lower classes.” Still, the Republicans gouge the middle class.
Democrat Bill Clinton is credited by Forbes as having the best record on the economy of all the presidents from Nixon to Bush “Clinton’s two terms in office (1993-2001) were marked by strong numbers for gross domestic product (GDP) and employment growth and especially for deficit reduction. His overall ranking puts him first among the ten postwar presidents ahead of Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy, and Reagan, who were tightly grouped behind the 42nd president . . . .”
Though generalizations are limiting, it’s reasonable to state that from the mid-Twentieth Century to date, the Republican party has tanked the economy and Democrats pulled it out of jeopardy. Yet the Republican party continues its rape of the federal and local economies.
The rise of neoliberalism, in terms of public opinion, a Gallup Poll published around the time of the Forbes article (7-20-2004) indicated “that Americans rank John F. Kennedy slightly ahead of FDR, and both of them ahead of Reagan.” While it may be a preference of the majority for Progressive philosophy, more likely, the majority of citizens define a booming economy as one in which more people are buoyed by it.
Today it is more than the economy that’s at stake. However, the Republican nominee has chosen to lay out few specific plans ― let alone a practical course of action for the economy. A sane candidate would feel hampered by a party platform that does not address many practical issues. However, it is designed to vilify while simultaneously appearing to alleviate the fears of those they’re trying to scare. For example, like the Republican’s North Carolina bathroom law, which was touted as protection from transgender “predators” in public bathrooms. However, the true purpose, stated in the second part, was to prevent local governments from raising the minimum wage or pass laws to increase safety for minors in the workplace. As they’d hoped, that part went virtually unnoticed until it was too late.
In the presidential race, the Republican nominee has effectively vomited out his own lack of platform, and done his little monkey dance to distract from the Democratic nominee who has articulated specific plans that would add to President Obama’s improvements in jobs and the economy. (The economy has added more than nine million jobs, and the jobless rate has dropped to below the historical median.”). One would hope that the more public tantrums he forced on us, the less likely we would have to worry about the Republican platform. However, the reality is, we’re stuck with something significantly worse than what was promised.
1 https://prod-static-ngop-pbl.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL-ben_1468872234.pdf, http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/neoliberal
2 “Keynesian economists often argue that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes which require active policy responses by the public sector, in particular, monetary policy actions by the central bank and fiscal policy actions by the government, in order to stabilize output over the business cycle.” Quoted in Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynesian_economics) from Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-063085-3.
3 A Short History of Neo-liberalism: Twenty Years of Elite Economics and Emerging Opportunities for Structural Change by Susan George, Conference on Economic Sovereignty in a Globalising World Bangkok, 24-26 March 1999. http://www.globalexchange.org/resources/econ101/neoliberalismhis
7Veronique de Rugy, “President Reagan, Champion Budget-Cutter,” American Institute for Public Policy Research website, June 9, 2004.
- Photo Credits
Republican logo: http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0881985.html
Calvin Coolidge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_Coolidge
Herbert Hoover: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Hoover
Debt chart: https://www.quora.com/What-factors-political-social-and-economic-led-to-the-rise-and-spread-of-Communism-in-AsiaHooverville: http://hoovervillehistory.tripod.com/
Pyramid of the Capitalist System: