Republicans in the Land of Oz

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CommonDreams.org

Republicans in the Land of Oz

Holy cow, Auntie Em.  Stockman and Greenspan committing heresy on the same day.  What's going on?

Well, basically, the Republicans have boxed themselves in.  For all but true believers like Stockman and Greenspan, cutting taxes was never really about supply side economics, it was a stealth way to gut and cut government -- to shrink it until they could "drown it in a bathtub."

They needed a stealth approach for two reasons.

First, while people supported the general notion of tax cuts, they didn't like most of the specifics, when it came to cutting services to fund those cuts. When Newt Gingrich laid out his Contract on America, complete with hits, and then began to implement it, they lost support. And Bush ran into a buzz saw when he tried to cut Social Security.

The other reason was they couldn't be honest about their real motives.

The whole stealth gut and cut strategy was a clever plan:  Demonize government as wasteful, cut away at government programs until they were eviscerated (thereby proving they didn't work and we couldn't afford them), pretend that the magic markets would solve all problems by pure serendipity.  But the more successful they were, the closer they came to the day when they would reap the harvest of the failure their policies were bound to create.

And now that day is here.

Unfettered markets were a tragic and complete disaster. Tax cuts reduced revenue. Deregulation hurt ordinary citizens, but were a bonanza for the wealthy and powerful.

And once that happened it was bound to become obvious what their real agenda was -- to fashion a country for the wealthy, by the wealthy and of the wealthy -- for the corporations, by the corporations and of the corporations.

And so it has.

And now the Republicans are being hoisted on their own petard.  Even the Scarecrow can see the folly of arguments that say deficits are somehow bad when it means adding a mere $33 billion to help the unemployed, but irrelevant when it means wracking up an astounding $2.3 trillion in deficits to extend the tax cuts for the rich.

Reality is immune to Fox propaganda, and impervious to mindless bluster from talk show radio. It doesn't matter how many times Republicans click their ruby red tax cutting slippers and wish supply side were so -- thirty plus years of evidence shows it's a fantasy, and a dangerous one at that.

The man behind the curtain has been exposed, and he ain't no wizard.

And now, if the Democrats are smart, possessed of an ounce of integrity and a gram of courage, they will take on this treacherous set of myths that is destroying our country, and engage in a genuine national dialog about the role of government, the need to regulate, and the importance of honesty, transparency and limited money in holding this debate.

But don't bet on it.

The cynics suggest politics is nothing more than a Kabuki dance or some modified version of good cop-bad cop in which each party plays its role, while representing the same corporate fat cats at the expense of the people.

I used to think they were paranoid.  But as Sherlock Holmes used to say, "strip away all that is not possible, and what you are left with will be the answer, no matter how implausible."

I'm down to three possibilities: 1) the cynics are right; 2) the Democrats really are as stupid as they act; or 3) they are as cowardly as that damn Lion.

John Atcheson

John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and Book One of a Trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on Climateprogess.org.

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