Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our National Politics Says We Can't Fix Anything, We Can Only Tear Down

I know, this is an old picture with the original 16. But who among them
had a positive vision, other than "Obama and Clinton were the worst ever?"

The GOP candidates have been a nasty bunch from the beginning of this extended, distended presidential campaign. Their main message other than how much their Democratic rivals suck has been, essentially, we can't do anything positive to move our country forward. Here's a sample of GOP ideas:
  • Obamacare is a disaster and we need a free-market approach to healthcare. Trouble is, GOPers, Obamacare is a market-based approach to healthcare, and none of you has proposed a plan that moves us to better, more broadly available, less expensive healthcare for America.
  • We can't do anything about gun violence. In fact, what we need is more guns and more ammo. Can't do anything is not a strategy.
  • The financial sector nearly crashed the world in 2007-2008. Solution? Deregulate! (Who buys that but the rich?)
  • Our infrastructure is crumbling, and everybody knows it. We're in a period most economists identify as secular stagnation, which means we're stuck in a rut we can't get out of. So, here's a solution: Do nothing because infrastructure costs money. Instead, let's cut taxes!
  • We're in a broadly recognized period of growing income and wealth inequality. The GOP solution? Do nothing about minimum wage -- except repeal minimum wage laws -- and nothing about gender income gaps. Do nothing to counter stagnant incomes whatsoever. Wage increases are bad for business!
  • There's a global movement to counter climate change and global warming. GOP policy? Deny, deny, deny. (Denial is not a strategy, oops, I guess it is!)
  • We have roiled the Middle East and North Africa. Solution? Don't negotiate (e.g. Iran) but instead carpet-bomb while insisting that Muslims are bad, bad, bad. They hate us for our freedom? No, they hate us for our bombs.
  • Work for a breakthrough towards a Palestinian-Israeli settlement? No, it's Bibi now, Bibi forever.
  • Progress in sustainable energy? No, progress in oil and coal. (You're really being left in the dust here.)
  • What to do with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? Reform it, meaning tear it down, cut it, nibble, nibble, nibble. Eliminating programs that work is not progress. It's a way to justify tax cuts.
  • Tax cuts made modest sense in the age of Reagan (but not with the massive spending Reagan undertook, duh...), but they were insane in W.'s age of war, war, war -- unpaid for, as we know. So, more tax cuts because plutocracy rocks? This tax-cuts-forever nonsense is just that. (And an excuse to cut "programs we can't afford anymore" except more defense spending for carpet-bombing.)
Turn all these negative policy non-prescriptions into something that moves the country forward in a positive way, and you've got Bernie Sanders. Yes, progressivism in the age of stagnation is a prescription for, er, fighting stagnation. More of that and less conservatism charged by isolationism, nativism, racism, and fear of the "other."

In other words, more Yes, We Can and less Hell, No, We Won't. We've been through this movie already, Now it's time for positive progress.

PS. Yes, I'll take Hillary if I can't have Bernie. We can only move so fast, I suppose.

These two are not antithetical, as you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment