More locally we have, the up and coming conservative Republican Wisconsin Congressman, Paul Ryan. Ryan has problems with the stimulus bill because of it's regressive tax breaks (his words)
Congressman Paul Ryan calls for a fiscally-responsible extension of a popular children's health insurance program, rather than a deeply flawed expansion beyond the program's original intent. Ryan voices his concern with the imposition of permanent tax hikes, a $42 billion spending gimmick, and the crowding out of consumer choice in favor of government-run health care.
And right in our back yard we have Milwaukee County Executive Scott "We don't need no sinking stimulus funds from Washington" Walker, who has basically run Milwaukee County into the ground with his "no more taxes" approach.
To a man, their approach to the proposed changes coming from Washington are the usual talking points from the conservative Republicans.
Government is bad.
Taxes grow the government.
Cut off the funds and Government has to shrink
Less Government, less regulation
Less regulation means greater economic growth.
In the past this has been called The Starve the Beast approach to shrinking the size of government So, instead of badly needed investment in the infrastructure which would create jobs and improve the lives of all tax payers, Republicans want more tax breaks. They are falling back on the Supply Side, Reganomics, Trickle Down, Bush Free Market, take your pick of the labels, that basically tells us to give the money to the rich. The theory is they will spend it wisely and create wealth for all of us.
This mixture of 1800's Calvinism and Milton Friedman Libertarian Free Market Economic theory has dominated Washington thinking ever since Ronald Reagan brought it to popularity in the early 1980's I'm here to tell you, I don't know if Free market Economics works or not, but the last thirty years have taught us that if the Republicans practice it we get the following results. These are the people that brought you, through deregulation,
- Companies that are deemed "to big to fail" and suddenly government bail outs are okay.
- Since the 1980' the erosion of the middle class because of the growing gap between the working man and the executive remuneration. (By the way this is a US phenomenon only)
- Savings and Loan Failures
- Internet Bubble
- Telcom Scandals
- The Virtual Crash of the financial markets resulting from the mortgage markets being mishandled.
- We have health care costs rising at an exponential rate with less people being served
- Higher bankruptcy rates directly related to uninsured catastrophic health costs.
This list merely says one thing to me, if Friedman Free Market Economic Theory works the Republican leadership has lost the directions when they throw out the box it came in.
We are bailing out the American Auto Industry, which got itself into the bind through mismanagement and poor industry practices.
Many of the entities we have bailed out have misused the funds or not used them for what they were intended. (Banks are not making loans, but they are paying bonuses. Same in the Auto Industry.)
So I don't know if Free Market Economic principles work or not. (Somebody once said that socialism didn't fail it was the communists that screwed it up) But I do know the Republicans, and to be fair some Democrats, don't know how it works either.
I know we need jobs and that building roads, bridges and schools will produce things we need and that will serve us for a long time. Financial products that give you slightly better odds than the blackjack table, are not as good as a health care program that takes care of everyone. Taxing people that have more money than they need, makes more sense than stomping on the average guy who is literally in the ditch economically.
We have a way out of this mess that the Republicans and weak minded Democrats allowed us to get into. It is the newer new deal that Obama has proposed. Boehner, Ryan and Walker have had their day and failed. It's time for new idea's or at least old idea's that we are reasonably certain will work.