Boehner, Right Wing Root for the Economic Apocalypse
John Boehner and the Republican Party have now made their vision for America’s future perfectly clear. To achieve the long standing goals of the far right wing of their party, they now appear to be rooting for an economic apocalypse that will cripple the federal government, shred the social safety net, and lead to fundamental changes in life as we know it in America for decades to come. That, of course, would be Grover Norquist’s most devout wish come true. Grover Norquist is the powerful anti-tax zealot who proclaimed that he would like to shrink government down to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub. Mr. Boehner and Eric Cantor seem inclined to oblige him.
It is not a question of whether or not the deficit needs to be addressed. Everyone with any sense agrees that the deficit must be seriously addressed and that a long term solution has to be crafted. There is, however, disagreement among reasonable people over just how it should be done — and when. But in the midst of all this, the more unreasonable Republicans have fired up the fear machine and proclaimed that the deficit must be fixed this year, if not sooner, and that they will not permit increased revenue to be a part of any solution. To hear them tell it, we are growing broke tomorrow and the country is being taxed to death as it is.
But, according to the recent Congressional Budget Office’s Long-Term Budget Outlook, the Republican tale on taxes is flat out untrue. The non-partisan CBO finds that during the past 40 years, total federal revenues have fluctuated between about 15 percent and 21 percent of GDP. It has have averaged 18 percent. That is what is was for George W’s last year in office.
In Obama’s time in office, the federal tax revenues have been less than 15 percent of GDP in 2009 and 2010. And the CBO expects revenues to remain near 15 percent of GDP for 2011. Taxes are actually significantly lower than historical norms.
But still, the Republicans have sworn that they will not pass a budget that increases revenue. They say the problem can only be fixed by slashing budgets, services, and safety nets. They say that will grow the economy.
But the non-partisan CBO says that cutting back on spending too quickly would probably have negative consequences: “Making such changes while economic activity and employment remain well below their potential levels would probably slow the economic recovery.” Translation: no growth and no jobs.
The targets that the Republicans are aiming their bloody budget axe at include Medicare, CHIPS, and Medicaid.
But consider this: according to the CIA World Factbook, the United States currently ranks No. 50 in the world for life expectancy at birth. The CIA describes life expectancy at birth as “a measure of overall quality of life in a country.”
And we are 50th.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States currently ranks No. 46 in the world in infant mortality.
Greece, New Caledonia, Cuba and the Czech Republic all beat us.
But the Republicans clearly seem to believe that Americans are getting too much health care as it is. So they are planning deep cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIPS.
You do have to give them credit for one thing. Politically, it’s brilliant. They will be taking actions they know will stunt economic growth and kill off jobs while they will be spending millions in anonymous corporate donations on TV ads blaming it all on Obama — and it will all come to a head just before next November’s election. It’s almost enough to make you root for the Apocalypse yourself. The big one.