Two particularly disturbing attributes of today’s Republican Party are its flagrant, brazen hypocrisy and shameless pandering to their rich “base.” Republicans seem to be borrowing a script from the Vietnam era: “We have to destroy the country in order to save it.”
- Regarding the Obama stimulus program, Republicans behave like arsonists who set the building ablaze and then deride the fire department for wasting water.
- Regarding fiscal remedies to the current high unemployment rate, Republicans are quick to claim enduring high unemployment proves Keynesian stimulus “doesn’t work,” (based on a one-shot stimulus totaling 4.6% of 1 year GDP, enough to stop the bleeding but not cure the patient), but ignore the fact that their employment cure-all, the Bush tax cuts in effect for the past decade, didn’t produce many jobs during the Bush II administration and have failed to reduce unemployment during the Obama administration.
- Regarding income taxes, Republicans claimed to cut taxes “across the board” in the interests of fairness, yet the richest taxpayers saw their top tax rate plummet from 70% to 28% (a 60% reduction), while the poorest taxpayers saw their rate increase from 14% to 15% during the Reagan administration. And to add insult to injury, Reagan raised payroll taxes, borne primarily by the non-rich, from 9.3% (employer/employee contribution) to 15%, a 61% increase.
- Regarding personal taxes, Republicans howl that the rich are overtaxed and bear a disproportionate share of the tax burden, yet according to the IRS, the top 400 income earners pay an effective federal tax rate of only 16.62%, whereas the average taxpayer pays around 27% (15.3% payroll and 12% income tax).
- Regarding the current dysfunction of Congress, they assert “Government is the problem,” and then toss a spanner in the works to prove their point. But when a natural disaster hits, guess who Republican governors come crying to for help.
- Regarding financial regulation, Republican financial CEOs passionately decry government regulation of the private sector, but when the lack of regulatory supervision creates a financial meltdown, they come hat-in-hand for a government bailout.
- Regarding budget deficits, Republicans (Cheney) said, “Reagan taught us deficits don’t matter” as they piled trillions on to the national debt; now suddenly they wail about a “debt crisis,” and want to pass a balanced budget amendment with a no-tax-rate-increase proviso.
- Regarding generational equity, Republicans profess deep concern about the welfare of future generations, yet showed no reluctance in burdening our kids with a huge national debt during Republican administrations, and putting our kids’ education in jeopardy in the name of ‘fiscal responsibility,’ once they were no longer in power.
- Regarding the war in Afghanistan, Republicans went to war to kill or capture bin Laden and his top lieutenants, yet when they had the chance to do so at Tora Bora, they let them get away (lest their ‘long war’ be shortened), and when the Democrats finally did kill bin Laden, captured and killed many of the top leaders, Republicans insisted that the war continue anyway.
- Regarding the war in Iraq, Republicans went to war to destroy Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” and when none were found, Republicans decided we had to remain “downrange” for another 8 years (and counting) to bring democracy to the freedom-loving people of Iraq.
- Regarding the Constitution, Republicans claim to venerate it, yet Republicans passed the Patriot Acts essentially gutting the Bill of Rights, and by abusing Senate rules regarding filibusters, undermine the Constitutional principle of majority rule.
- Regarding the distribution of the fruits of economic growth, Republicans claim their policies produce a rising tide that lifts all boats, yet are unmoved by the reality of the incontrovertible results of their policies over the better part of three decades, namely, the rich get fabulously richer, the poor get desperately poorer, and the middle class marks time, keeping the American Dream alive by taking on destabilizing amounts of debt.
- When Democrats cite this inequality of income distribution, Republicans are quick to deprecate them for engaging in “class warfare,” oblivious to Warren Buffet’s quip: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
To liberals: How many more such instances can you think of?
To the Republicans in the group, how do you defend such lack of principled behavior?
Equally disturbing is the Democrats’ inability to effectively expose Republican hypocrisy and to persuade non-wealthy voters that in voting Republican they are voting against their own interests.