Bizarro Bush: The next president should Do the Opposite
by riseupeconomics, Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:41:56 AM EST
"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." --Jerry Seinfeld to George Costanza on Seinfeld.
If George W. Bush is the worst president in American history, then all the next president has to do to be successful is The Opposite.
What is the Opposite of Bush? In foreign policy, it would be ending the Iraq War and the policy of pre-emptive warfare. With energy policy, it would be moving away from oil and developing solar, wind, and biodiesel. In civil liberties, it would be ending torture and electronic eavesdropping, and restoring habeas corpus.
But what about the economy, stupid? Bush's major economic policy was The Bush Tax Cuts, which went overwhelmingly to the wealthy in a continuation of the trickle-down economics of President Reagan.
The Opposite of Bush would be Rise Up Economics (www.riseupeconomics.org): tax cuts and tax credits for the poor and middle class, while making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share.
It's amazing to me that the law of the land throughout the Reagan/Bush/Cheney years has been to promote the economic well-being of the wealthiest Americans first and foremost, with the crazy notion that doing so will eventually help the rest of us.
We know what happened when the wealthy and corporations got their windfalls from Reaganomics: they used the money to create more wealth for themselves, moving factories to the third world, buying other companies, consolidating and cutting jobs. The rich got richer; we got trickled on.
The same thing has happened with the Bush Tax Cuts: they went to the folks at Enron and WorldCom, the private equity guys, the hedge fund managers, the sub-prime mortgage thieves. The rich have gotten richer. Again.
And yet there has been no serious call by the Democrats or anyone else to make drastic changes, no coherent plan to set a new course in the Opposite direction. Oh yes, both Obama and Hillary want to let the Bush Tax cuts on the top tax bracket expire. They both talk about some middle class tax cuts.
But if the Republicans could make supply-side economics their bread and butter ideology and brand themselves as the party that will cut your taxes, why can't the Democrats stake a claim to a serious policy of demand-side, aggressive tax cuts and tax credits for working people and the poor? Why do we get middle of the road, lukewarm policy proposals that are too bland to capture the public's imagination, that leave most voters unclear exactly what the Democrats would do for them?
Why not a dramatic, in-your-face push to reverse the massive redistribution of wealth upwards into the hands of the wealthy that has occurred under the Republican presidents? Wouldn't it be fair to make those who have gained the most from Bush/Reaganomics finally have to pay their debt to society and pay their fair share? Shouldn't that money go directly to the working people and the poor who have suffered the most from Republican rule?
There is no coherent economic policy by either Democratic candidate. They pay lip service to "green jobs" programs and training, but do you really believe they will put enough funding and clout behind it to make it effective on the massive scale needed to make a difference? And they now say they will "renegotiate" NAFTA (that was a laugher). I guess those lost manufacturing jobs will just start rolling back in, huh?
I worry that the money from letting the Bush Tax cuts expire will be lost in a bureaucratic new health care reform plan that lets the health insurance companies continue to make money hand over fist. It will probably require all of us to buy their putrid products instead of eliminating them.
Then in four years the public will have another decision to make. Do they give four more years to a Democrat who gave them nothing but a shitty health care plan, or to a Republican who will cut their taxes?
Where's the vision?