Maybe We Should Ask Republicans What They Mean When They Talk About Economic Growth

Marco Rubio is the latest “rising star” in a dying party to espouse the empty and pointless rhetoric of American conservativism.  The text of his response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech is here.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

Understanding what conservatives have in mind when they talk about America’s future and economic growth requires holding their rhetoric accountable to the facts.

The simple fact is we have lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more wealth in the hands of job creators than at any other time in recent history.  If GOP rhetoric were anywhere near the truth, we should be awash in new jobs and prosperity.  But we are not.

Rubio claims that large government and taxes that promise to help the middle class has “failed every time it has been tried.” Well, that is true if you forget mid-century America or turn a blind eye to the strength of European countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Germany.

Republicans like to say President Obama is anti-private sector, but the Obama administration overall accommodates the private sector quite well.  Obama went out of his way to remind us that the private sector is the key to prosperity.  In today’s political wars, however, the messenger is more important than the message.  Again, perhaps it is time to look at facts, not rhetoric.

We currently have the tax cuts, less government, and fewer regulations.  The wealthiest — the job creators — have seen their wealth increase by over 60% in the last decade.  So…keep asking…where are the jobs?  Where is the prosperity?  Where is the answer to these questions?

A classic worth repeating...because it is so true.

A classic worth repeating…because it is so true.

Rubio also says our financial problems begin with a country that spends too much, spends a trillion more than it takes in.  While that certainly is a problem, it is hard to see why this isn’t a funding problem.  We cut taxes with the idea that wealth would trickle down.  The increased overall prosperity would bring in increased revenues, the argument went, and that would cover the lower tax rates.  But as we see, that does not happen.

Moreover, Republicans — by giving even more cuts and subsidies, adding Medicare prescriptions benefits, and a few ill-advised wars — added to our financial unmet financial burdens.  Let’s not forget doing absolutely nothing to address the core issues behind the banking crisis that put us here in the first place and thus added even more to our deficits.

Yes…it is all the fault of government too big, isn’t it?  Hardly.  It is a mismanaged government finance policy that erroneously puts the blame on government generally.  Simply put, if you manage government to fail, it will likely fail.  It can’t be any more plain than that.

GINI Coefficients By State and YearHowever, when Rubio argued that annual GDP growth at 4% would be a big part of helping balancing our books…he was right!  That’s why notable experts like Paul Krugman make the case for government stimulus to push economic growth.  It will be much easier to pay down the cost of this stimulus — and more — if we have ten years of growth versus doing nothing, as we are doing now, and let things remain stagnate.

(But Krugman, and others like him, is an expert.  He’s intelligent and informed.  He has spent his career understanding economics.  So he must be wrong.)

Anyway…this is all so tiresome.  What is it that Republicans want that we don’t have right now?  Are they really concerned about jobs or just growth?  And who are they anyway?  Millions of people vote GOP in this country as if those votes serve their interests.  Why?

I ask this because we should ask what exactly do conservatives have in mind when they talk about growth and prosperity.  The rank and file Republican voter certainly doesn’t understand this question.  If it simply is growth, especially for the wealthiest, Republicans have that and lots of it.  If they are talking about middle class growth and prosperity then things are not so clear.

Rubio served up a rambling list of tired complaints and clichéd promises that simply do not fit the facts of conservative principles.  They are intentionally misleading the public and misrepresenting their true objectives.  It is hard to understand how an informed and intelligent person could see things otherwise.  Show us some progress on the conservative agenda first, then may you have an argument that the less-is-more approach is a winning one.

If Rubio is a rising star representing the future of the Republican Party, there isn’t much to excite people expecting a more moderate and sensible GOP.  We have heard all of this before.  (We haven’t forgotten the 2012 elections already, have we?)

Alas, this is looking more and more like class warfare to me.  The conservative elite are pushing for more by demanding that the rest live with less…and pay for the privilege.  Conservatives have focused on dismantling government for nearly 30 years now.  It is the “Starve the Beast” argument and, unfortunately, it is winning and most Americans are losing.

How do conservatives address this fact?  How does their rhetoric square with reality?  It is time to ask more about what does a prospering America really look like in the ideal GOP world.


3 thoughts on “Maybe We Should Ask Republicans What They Mean When They Talk About Economic Growth

  1. Pingback: Economics Affects Democracy « A Little Tour in Yellow

  2. Pingback: It is Anti-Intellectual | A Little Tour in Yellow

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