It was a promise of unprecedented prosperity – albeit trickle-down for
some – as taxes are cut and would pay for themselves in a growing economy,
without cooking books (or printing money).
“Greed works” was the boast of voodoo economists in a wisecracking mood.
Just get the government out of the way.
It is well-known where it all ended. Reagan’s budget deficits became larger than
the sum of all U.S. deficits before Reaganomics, to be exceeded only by George W. Bush, who
followed Reagan’s script of cutting taxes for the rich and ran up $4 trillion in red ink
during his eight years in office. . .
Today the Republican agenda, as promised by Mitt Romney, is more of the
same: Cutting taxes for top brackets, now 35.9 percent after Bush’s tax cuts
were extended to the end of 2012 as a result of GOP Congressional majority’s
blackmail to derail the extension of unemployment compensation in December 2010
The other part of Romney’s posturing at the Republican national
convention in Tampa, and long before the convention, is balancing the budget
and loving the middle class, on the back of which the balancing would have to
Tax cutting and gutting Medicare, as well as reversing the Roe v. Wade decision
that guaranteed the right of choice for women, is all spelled out in the
Republican convention platform. It was soft pedaled in speeches at the
convention in Tampa in August 2012. Talk was centered on “fixing the economy”.
But not a ward was said how — except by blaming Obama, cutting taxes and
repealing the new Affordable Healthcare law. .
Not a hint of recollection was made at how the U.S. government stepped up in
the last three months of the Bush administration and during Barack Obama’s presidency
to halt the country’s slide into the Great Depression Number 2, by bailing out
the banks and, in Obama’s bold move, rescuing Detroit’s automotive
industry. Let them die, was the advice
of rightwing think tanks that kept sniping at regulations intended to curb the
herd behavior in financial markets that ignited the meltdown in 2008.
Not a hint was made at how the Congressional Republican House majority
obstructed every attempt of the Obama administration to revitalize the economy
by starting to rebuilt America’s rusted infrastructure – and funding it by
diverting the funds from oil industry subsidies. Poor state of the economy
clearly serves the GOP ambition to win the election.
Not a word was heard from speakers about Paul Ryan’s plan – in the
proposed GOP budget – to kill Medicare and replace it with vouchers. And, at
the same time, loud was Paul Ryan’s talk, out of the other side of his mouth,
about restoring Obama’s 700 billion
projected cut in Medicare — the cut to be achieved within “Obamacare” by
phasing out the funneling of Medicare payments through the middlemen private
insurance companies in what is called the “advantage options,” created by the Bush
Speaker after speaker extolled individual self-reliance and freedom –
the parody many evicted, formerly middle-class, families have found under the
bridge in California since the crash in 2008
— the legacy of “the winner takes all” governance that the Romney-Ryan
ticket seeks to revive.
Since the Republicans actually have no plans other than cutting taxes at
the expense of social spending, infrastructure repair, environment protection,
and by gutting Medicare and eventually privatizing Social Security, the
question is: What is their top priority?
That question was answered from the day number one by GOP Senate
minority leader Mitch McConnell: “Make Obama a one-term president”.
Lifting the economy or reducing unemployment can wait.
Hate of Obama in the Republican base has achieved hysterical
proportions. That base had shifted to the Dixie South since the 1970s when the
Republican Party was gradually captured by radical rightwing and acquired the
makings of the Bible belt. .
Right-wing leanings of the Tea Party’s rank and file, part of the white middle class, not only blend
easily with the Republican “Southern strategy,” but also are the key
factor in the ability of Tea Party politicians, boosted by ideologically motivated billionaire
business tycoons, to become the dominant faction of the GOP. The same deep
pockets, with the famously known Koch brothers in the forefront, practically
own the GOP super-PACs.
No one described the Republican mood better than Gideon Rachman in his
Financial Times column of August 23:
“If you want to understand the fear and rage that many Republican voters
direct towards Barack Obama, some of it surely lies in the sense that the
president represents ;the other America; – the non-white America that will eventually form a majority of the
You can hear that anger in the popular slogan ‘I want my country back’….. You can catch traces
of that anger in the racially tinged denunciations of “Obamacare,” which aims to extend
healthcare to 40 million of uninsured Americans.”
And what about Mitt Romney’s credentials?
Insatiable greed was the driving force behind the shadowy Bain Capital
career. The essence of that kind of business is similar to mafia enterprises,
comically explained by the fictional Tony Soprano in an article by Ryan Grim
and Hunter Stewart in Huff Post, May 24:
In the organized crime world, this business practice is known as
“bust-out.” The crime family offers a distressed business a high-interest loan,
and eventually takes control of the company.
Private interest investors, by contrast, buy control of the company by
purchasing the firm’s stock. But, in both cases, investors use their control to
take on more debt, while at the same time, cutting expenses and laying off
Cash from the loans and cost savings are funneled back to the investors.
This continues until the company cannot pay it debt, and files for bankruptcy
to extinguish its debt — but the investors get to keep the gains they have
The tax angle of Romney’s profits is another grab bag. It is explained
in a “Truthdig” article “How Romney’s millions went tax-free overseas” by Joe Conason, Sept. 1. The practice included
misrepresentation of management fees as capital gains – which is unlawful, and
it could be one reason why Mitt Romney is refusing to disclose his income tax
returns prior to year 2010
The New York Times on Sept. 1 reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating whether some of the nation’s
private equity firms — Bain Capital among them – have abused a tax
strategy in order to slice hundreds of millions of dollars from their tax bill.
How can it be that a possible disclosure of tax avoidance is dismissed
as no problem in making a decision to run for the highest office in the country
? Is it recklessness or a thirst for power?
Recklessness would be a perilous character defect for a president in the
Romney has shown some of that trait in his saber-rattling on Iran, and
also in his astounding faux pas pronouncements during visit to the Middle East
several months back.
The words of Marcus Tulius Cicero, the timeless orator in the ancient
Rome come to mind: “Oh tempora, oh mores!” (What times, what customs!).
Romney’s path to the Republican nomination for president had been made
easier by the absence of qualified challengers during the primaries. Worse, the
opponents he faced were simply off the wall creationists and deniers of climate
change from carbon emissions, despite the best scientific evidence.
They prefer to blame a left-wing conspiracy for the “theory” of profound
change in weather patterns that devastated the country with unprecedented high
temperatures, droughts, and forest fires in the last two years. Mitt Romney
himself moved up the ladder by juggling his multiple faces on climate change
and social issues.
Potential Republican challengers in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower,
Nelson Rockefeller or Mitt Romney’s own father, the former governor of
Michigan, know better than become entangled in a party dominated by the
neo-cons and “Teavangelicals”.
It may be recalled that no other than Barry Goldwater, the icon of
normal, traditional American conservatives was so dismayed by the highjacking
of the Grand Old Party by radical rightwing in the1990s that he addressed new
establishment Republicans by saying: “Do not associate my name with anything
you do. You are extremists, and you have hurt the Republican party…..” (ref.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
As the keynote speaker at the Democratic national convention on Sept. 5, Bill Clinton pointed
out that “the Republicans want to fire President Barack Obama for failing to
finish cleaning up the total (economic) mess of their own making.”
Boris Danik is a
retired Ukrainian-American living in North Caldwell, New Jersey.