They’re At It Again: The GOP is Demanding Biden Shoot Santa Claus
There's a Democrat in the White House, so, predictably, Republicans are screaming that President Biden must shoot Santa: "No good things for Americans when a Democrat is in charge!"
This morning on CNN, Republican Senator Pat Toomey argued that Biden should get no stimulus out of Congress — none — even as the economic recovery stalls, almost a million people a week are newly filing for unemployment, and American children are going to bed hungry.
(Toomey is the same slippery senator who argued in 2017 that the GOP should ignore Democratic objections to Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut for billionaires, as Tapper pointed out on his CNN show.)
Republicans and "conservatives" are playing the same game they did when Barack Obama started his presidency in 2009: shrink the size of the recovery by gutting stimulus funds so people will become cynical about the promises of a Democratic president. Block any Democratic attempts to truly help the people.
From Larry Summers to Mitt Romney to Pat Toomey, these billionaire-compliant trolls insist they're worried about the size of the national debt and the possibility of inflation. What they're really worried about is that Democrats will put the country back together and thus win big in the 2022 and 2024 elections…and raise taxes on the uber-rich to pay for it.
Cynicism is a poison that kills democracies. But Republicans have fought hard against the efforts of every Democratic president since 1992 because cynicism is the GOP's friend.
When Americans don't believe government can help them, they're less likely to participate in elections and Republicans are more likely to win. When Democrats can deliver benefits to Americans, however, they consistently win elections.
The GOP learned this lesson in the New Deal era from 1932 until 1980, when they repeatedly lost elections with their austerity politics, and therefore put their "Two Santa Clauses" program into place as both a political and a governing strategy, starting with the Reagan Revolution in 1981 (as I document here.)
That strategy is simple:
- Be the borrow-and-spend "Tax Cut Santa" and spend borrowed money like crazy to stimulate the economy when a Republican is president, thus running up the national debt as fast as possible.
- When a Democrat comes into the White House, scream about the national debt and block that Democrat from being a Santa for working-class people.
Prior to the Reagan Revolution, when Democratic presidents passed Social Security, unemployment insurance, child labor laws, the right to unionize, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Pell and other grants for free college, and other programs that benefit the people, they were wildly popular and consistently beat Republicans at the polls.
Because the governing philosophy of Republicans is that none of these programs should exist and that all the efforts of government should be directed toward converting the commons to private profit and cutting billionaire's taxes, they do everything they can to sabotage any Democratic efforts to improve the lives of Americans.
The GOP demanded that Bill Clinton abandon his efforts to provide all Americans with high-quality, inexpensive healthcare; they were so successful in their propaganda campaign that Clinton himself embraced the bizarre ideas of "ending welfare as we know it," and even proclaimed that "the era of big government is over."
If Republicans were actually worried about the size of the national debt, they wouldn't have jacked up spending, passed multiple massive tax cuts from Reagan to Bush to Trump, and wouldn't have started two multi-trillion-dollar foreign wars without even incorporating them into the federal budget.
What they really fear — rightly — is that a Democratic president will make life better for Americans and such success will translate into Democratic victories at the polls in 2022 and 2024.
The real Republican strategy here is to suppress the recovery money, just like they did with Obama, so the recovery will slow down, people will be dissatisfied, and they'll vote for a Republican president in 2024.
Nobody in the press is talking about it, sadly, but this entire "conversation" about debt and inflation is really all about Republican efforts to sabotage Joe Biden in the first weeks of his presidency so they can take back Congress and the White House.
Originally posted on thomhartmann.medium.com.