Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Republican Party - So Far Right It's Wrong For America

Given the trillions of dollars in tax cuts President Bush and Republicans gave the nation over eight years the economy should be racing and we should be at near full employment, if tax cuts are the most stimulative approach to vibrant economy growth, as Republicans claim as they perpetually bash Obama's economic programs. Unfortunately, the reality we find around us in America today does not match Republican promises of yesterday.

As Center for American Progress Senior Fellows Christian Weller and John Halpin noted in 2006, the outcome of the 2001 tax cuts was "the weakest employment growth in decades." Republican tax cuts in 2004 didn't fare much better, with resulting job creation well below historical averages. When Bush's White House proposed more tax cuts in 2003, Republicans promised that it would add 5.5 million new jobs between June 2003 and the end of 2004. But "by the end of 2004, there were only 2.6 million more jobs than in June 2003." And, remember President Bush's February 2008 promise that his $168 billion tax cut/rebate economic stimulus plan would stave off economic recession and job losses? Wrong again! All these broken Republican promises stem from a broken understanding of how the world really works.

Martin Feldstein wrote in the Wall Street Journal that of course the tax cut stimulus didn't work:

Here are the facts. Tax rebates of $78 billion arrived in the second quarter of the year. The government's recent GDP figures show that the level of consumer outlays only rose by an extra $12 billion, or 15% of the lost revenue. The rest went into savings, including the pay down of debt. . .

. . .Although press stories emphasizing that the rebates induced additional consumer spending were technically correct, they missed the important point that the spending rise was very small in comparison to the size of the tax rebates. . .

The small rise in spending in response to these tax rebates is similar to what previous studies of one-time tax cuts found. It also corresponds to what both basic economic theory and common experience imply. Although someone who receives a permanent annual salary increase of $1,000 typically would increase his annual spending by an almost equally large amount, a $1,000 rise in wealth caused by a share price increase or a tax rebate would raise spending only gradually over a number of years.

As Paul Krugman has pointed out, the belief that Bush's tax cuts successfully stimulated the economy is a form of GOP mythology. CAP's Michael Ettlinger and John Irons wrote in September 2008, "Economic growth as measured by real U.S. gross domestic product was stronger following the tax increases of 1993 than in the two "supply-side eras" that followed Reagan's 1981 tax cuts and Bush's 2001 tax cuts. Indeed, employment growth was much stronger post-1993 under Pres. Clinton than post-2001 under Bush. The average annual employment growth was 2.5 percent after 1993 and just 0.6 percent after 2001.

Last week the Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released the news that 13.7 million people are unemployed, pushing the "headline" unemployment rate to 8.9 percent. That "8.9% headline rate" substantially under reports the actual number of unemployed workers because it does not include the millions of discouraged American workers who want to work, but who have simply given up looking for work for any number of reasons. That uncounted number of discouraged American workers is currently up 70 percent, from the first quarter of 2008. The total number of Americans who are not working, but would be if a jobs were available, or are under-employed in low paying part-time jobs is actually about 22 million, or 15.8 percent, according to a full reading of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
And, BTW, that means 22 million workers, or 15.8 percent of the 154 million person total U.S. workforce potential, plus everyone in their family IS WITHOUT HEALTHCARE. A Families USA survey found that one out of three Americans under 65 were without health insurance at some point during 2007 and 2008. The study found 86.7 million Americans were without insured health at one point during the last two years. The Families USA survey's key findings include:
  • Nearly three out of four uninsured Americans were without health insurance for at least six months.
  • Almost two-thirds were uninsured for nine months or more.
  • Four out of five of the uninsured were in working families.
  • People without health insurance are less likely to have a usual doctor and often go without screenings or preventative care.
With unemployment at its highest levels since the Reagan Administration 15 years ago and more than 600,000 additional workers being thrown out of their jobs every month so far in 2009, with little let up in job losses expected throughout 2009, the number of unemployed worker families losing healthcare insurance will increase substantially.
Despite the reality we see around us today, Pres. Reagan's right-wing Republican "supply-side trickle down" economic mythology that "tax cuts along with full financial system deregulation" work best, continues to be hotly promoted by right-wing conservative Republicans today.

Right-wing conservative Republicans can not and will not recognize the fact that Reagan's "supply-side trickle down" economic model is out dated and doesn't work in today's reality. Neither can right-wing Republicans recognize the fact that their opposition to an optional single-payer healthcare insurance program for all Americans is equally out dated in today's reality.

Today's reality is clear -- The Republican Party is so far right it is wrong for America - wrong for Texas!

McCain: GOP needn't be moderate
Vice Pres.Cheney: In terms of being Republican — I’d go with Rush Limbaugh

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