I am going to attempt to demonstrate in this blog that Republicans have not been, at least in my lifetime, the Party of fiscal responsibility. This has a substantial affect on our finances and our lives. To some degree, Dems in Congress have in times-past been kinda spendy and porky. But it seems inarguable to me that Republicans in Congress and in the White House do not have fiscal integrity (or the peoples’ best interests at heart). In general, Republican politicians talk a good game, but when it comes to fiscal responsibility and integrity, they tend to cut taxes and increase spending. It has resulted in over $21,000,000,000,000 of debt. Red state Trump backers need to know that the GOP is not the party of the working class and that it cannot go on unchecked.
There are many quotes about fiscal responsibility, integrity, and proper economic principles out there, and they show chicanery, class conflict, and the power of the lobbyists. These are the stock-in-trade and the modus operandi of the modern Republican Party (the GOP). Once upon a time, the Dems “taxed and spent” and the GOP was fiscally responsible, but those days are long gone. Now, the GOP is the party of the crazy (Trump), the wealthy (Mitch McConnell), “dog-whistle” issues such as race and class bias (“blue lives matter”), and war (starting with the elder Bush and taken to a whole new level by his son W). Wealthy donors and their favorite ruling (Citizens United) have turned the GOP from the alleged Party of fiscal responsibility into a morally and economically bankrupt farce. Not a day goes by that Trump doesn’t show how embarrassing the Party has become.
These are just my opinions, but I have some back-up in the form of quotes about fiscal responsibility and integrity. I think it is inarguable that if a political party claims to be fiscally responsible as a mantra and consistently fails to uphold that virtue, then we can assertively stamp “HYPOCRITICAL” on that behavior.
“In short, it is political decisions, not invisible hands, that dictate the functioning of the market. And from trade policy designed for the benefit of capital and rich nations to the rapid deregulation and growth of the financial sector, these political decisions have disproportionately rewarded economic elites at everyone else’s expense.” ~ Jake Johnson
I should point out from FactCheck.org that Brooks Jackson believes that “All we can do here is point to the correct figures for how much debt has piled up on Obama’s watch, and note that there is ample blame to go around. When the partisan deceptions on each side are disregarded, the plain fact remains that the debt has increased, for many years, under both Democratic and Republican presidents. And it is currently increasing rapidly, reaching historically high levels, while partisans continue to struggle over what to do about it.” Fair enough.
I want to stress that two historical facts are particularly notable. One, Clinton’s terms saw a decrease in the deficit and an actual surplus. What does George W. Bush do? Enact a tax cut, start two wars, and create an expensive Medicare program for seniors. Secondly, after Bush’s terms, Obama was saddled with the biggest financial disaster in generations, and thus, Congress and he had to act boldly to prevent an all-out economic catastrophe. That is an example of why some commentators believe that this country’s crony capitalistic system is essentially socialism for the rich and free enterprise for everyone else.
Robert Reich signals that perhaps, even though we are chest-deep in the swamp that Trump has only filled with mosquitos and gators, perhaps this period of absurdity and over-the-top reactionary politics is going to bring out the liberals and sway some moderates in the midterm Congressional election. He writes in Saving Capitalism: “It is likely that in coming years the major fault line in American politics will shift from Democrat versus Republican to anti-establishment versus establishment — that is, to the middle class, working class, and poor who see the game as rigged (versus the executive of large corporations, the inhabitants of Wall Street, and the billionaires who do the rigging).”
Here is the first quote, with a source (Politico):
No two ways about it: Louisiana is a failed state, Robert Mann, a Louisiana State University professor and New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist, wrote recently. A special session of the State Legislature, called specifically to deal with a budget crisis caused by a lack of tax revenue, failed to do so, and legislators adjourned on Monday. No one is sure what will happen next. If legislators can’t agree on tax increases, cuts to education and medical care will likely follow.
While George W. Bush enjoys the dubious distinction of presiding over perhaps the largest negative budget swing in American history — from a surplus of $236 billion in 2000, the year he was elected, to a deficit of $412 billion, or 3.6 percent of GDP, four years later — he could not have accomplished this without the collusion of the conservative-controlled Congress.
Look at the others: Ireland, Portugal, and even Spain. They were not broke or staggering under any great fiscal debt when the meltdown came. They went bust because of a US-type banking crisis, i.e., because the Europeans had to bail out European banks that took our worthless U.S. subprime debt, or behaved as recklessly as our banks did. But that’s not a crisis that comes from Europe’s “socialism.” It comes from the “socialist Europe” taking part in our U.S. capitalist-type scams.
Some people say that the current [fiscal] crisis is unprecedented, but the truth is that there were plenty of precedents, some of them of very recent vintage. Yet these precedents were ignored. And the story of how ‘we’ failed to see this coming has a clear policy implication – namely, that financial market reform should be pressed….
Congressional Republicans sure have a hard time with math. In the most recent House budget, they included massive cuts to the Pell Grant program, which allows millions of students each year to better afford a college education, all in the name of fiscal responsibility. We can’t afford it, they say. It’s a sign of how quickly things change, I guess, that we suddenly can’t afford a $27 billion program when just last December they said a $1,900 billion tax handout to millionaires and corporations wouldn’t be a problem. I’m no mathematician, but those numbers don’t add up. ~ Morris Pearl
Being lectured by the President on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country. ~ John Kerry
As the economically conservative Financial Times of London observed after [George W.] Bush’s second round of tax cuts was passed, “On the management of fiscal policy, the lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.” ~ Eric Alterman
Today, a century after the railroad barons dominated the economy, much of the wealth at the top in the United States – and some of the suffering at the bottom— stems from wealth transfers instead of wealth creation.
No, we will not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor, who have already sacrificed enough in terms of lost jobs, lost wages, lost homes, and lost pensions. Yes, we will demand that millionaires and billionaires and the largest corporations in America contribute to deficit reduction as a matter of shared sacrifice. Yes, we will reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending at the Pentagon. And, no we will not be blackmailed once again by the Republican leadership in Washington, who are threatening to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States government for the first time in our nation’s history unless they get everything they want.
If we assume that the purpose of the economy is to serve and improve the welfare of the entire body of citizens, the U.S. model has clearly been a major failure. It has served a minority, and the majority have not only failed to share in the income gains yielded by the model, they have suffered from reduced benefits, greater job instability and stress, and a diminution of expectations and sense of hope for the future.
The truth is, various forms of manipulating the market are central to the operation of the current corporate-dominated political-economic system, not peripheral to it. They come with the territory, as everyone knows full well when they shift their gaze away from abstract theory to the real world of oil company lobbying, drug company political payoffs, Microsoft anti-competitive maneuvering, Enron corruption, and Andersen accounting complicity.
You voted for Trump. He said he was going to drain the swamp. How do you feel about billionaires coming into Washington and all these Wall Street guys in powerful positions? Is that draining the swamp? He said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid? He made massive cuts in Medicaid. Do you think it is a good idea that his budget includes ending afterschool programs? Doesn’t your kid go to an afterschool program? Well, he’s ending that. What about lunch programs for kids and what about the Women, Infants, and Children program for pregnant women and babies—cut while he gives tax cuts to billionaires. Is that really what you voted for?
“Just days after an alarming study by the Urban Institute found that nearly half of the American public can’t afford basic necessities like food, healthcare, and housing, new Commerce Department data released on Wednesday showed that corporate profits are soaring to new heights thanks in large part to President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cuts. Viewed side-by-side, this contrast between booming profits for corporations and dwindling quality of life for much of the U.S. population provides a striking picture of America’s two-tiered economy, one that has become even more lopsided in favor of the rich since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.” ~ Jake Johnson
View more quotes about fiscal responsibility, capitalism, integrity, and other good values in this site’s WISDOM ARCHIVE