July 26, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Fixing America: The Republican all style, no substance approach could spell misery for us all
Let’s face it, Republicans are much better at messaging. They’ve had decades of practice in what to say and how to say it to get their message across. To be certain it’s all style and no substance, but Republicans are really good at it. Republicans have a way of framing a solution to a (real or imagined) problem so that the public hears it and believes that it is a common sense approach to an apparently serious problem. But Republicans count on the thought process ending right there. If people do a little more research and consideration of all the facts, a lot of Republican “ideas” start to break down. I’ll give you two examples.
1. VOTER ID LAWS
Republicans say we need a photo ID before we can vote so that we can protect the integrity of our voting system. They make sure to remind you that you need a photo ID for many mundane activities each day including something as basic as buying beer. Framed this way, and without further consideration of all the factors, the average person would agree that this seems like a common sense approach.
Of course, if you look at the effects of requiring photo ID then you realize there are millions of people in this country, mostly minorities, who do not have a photo ID. In these circumstances voter ID laws amount to a poll tax on minorities and the poor. Once you take all the facts into consideration, the idea of a photo ID requirement for voting is not so easily defined as “common sense.”
2. TAX CUTS FOR “JOB CREATORS”
On the surface this sounds like a really good idea. I mean, if they are the job creators and we allow them to keep more of their money then surely that means they will be able to create more jobs, right? But applying just a bit of brain power to this Republican “idea” reveals it to be almost comical. Regardless of whether or not Republicans want to admit it, we all know who they are talking about when they say “job creators.” They are talking about wealthy people.
If these “job creators” are already wealthy doesn’t that imply an excess of money? What I mean is, they have more money then they need and in many cases they have A LOT more money than they need. And I want to be clear, I’m not judging, I’m just stating simple facts. So if the wealthy “job creators” already have excess money does that not imply they already have the money they need to create more jobs, even before we give them a tax cut?
What business wouldn’t create more jobs if they had the money to do so along with the business need to do so? Ah, but we just hit on the key point: the business need. Isn’t that what drives job creation? Why would a business create more jobs if those jobs aren’t needed? The simple answer is: they wouldn’t. So if you give a tax cut to a “job creator” when their business has no need for more jobs, does that not sound like a waste of a tax cut?
Turns out it’s the middle class that drives job creation. It’s the middle class that consumes the products and services that keeps the economy going. Increase the purchasing power of the middle class, and the result is job creation, because now there is a business need to create more jobs.
What I’ve just spelled out is referred to as demand side economics (or even Keynesian economics), and it is the exact opposite of the supply side economics that Republicans have pushed with vigor for over 30 years. But while Republicans have pursued their dream of a pure supply side economy, the reality is that many government policies have still come down on the demand side during economic downturns over the past 30 years. Regardless of whether it was a Republican or Democratic administration, we’ve spent our way out of past recessions. We’ve done so to a degree during the Great Recession (stimulus package) but this is the first recession in modern history (possibly ever) where we have shed public sector jobs (and in a big way).
So at the precise time when we should be injecting a massive dose of demand side stimulus we’ve instead adopted the Republican wet dream of austerity coupled with a free market based economy where the government is hands off.
But after I just explained how jobs are created, does it sound like a good idea to cut taxes for the rich, and pull back on government spending (including cuts to benefits for the poor and middle class) when the economy is still fragile? This is the Republican all style, no substance approach to fixing America, and it could spell economic misery for us all.