Vail Daily letter: There’s a word for this … stuff |

Vail Daily letter: There’s a word for this … stuff

Jim Cameron Vail, CO,

After reading Karl Berger’s rant on the Obama administration (“A failed presidency”), I began wondering how this administration differs from prior administrations — particularly Republican administrations. Neoconservative complaints range from specifics about Obama to Congress to government in general. Here is the list as I understand it: Our government is inefficient, corrupt, and our congressional representatives are beholden to those who donate the most money to their campaigns. Obama and Congress are usurping our personal freedoms. Obama is running up huge federal deficits and is a socialist or closet communist. Obama’s economic policy is flawed and the bailouts and stimulus package are a disaster. Our children and their children for generations to come will be paying off Obama’s and congress’ excessive spending. Obama is intent on raising taxes. Obama is apologizing to the world for past American atrocities. He is weak in foreign policy and is not taking necessary actions to make America safe (a Cheney favorite). Then there are the more personal attacks. Obama is an egomaniac. How dare he spend taxpayer money to have a date with his wife in New York City. He spends time running of to foreign lands trying to bring a future Olympics to the city of Chicago instead of spending time on health-care reform which he is urgently trying to ram down people’s throats. What’s the rush? So, what does history tell us? Democracy was recognized centuries ago as the most inefficient form of government. In the modern era, political theoreticians such as Thomas Hobbs and John Locke made such assertions more than a century before our Constitution was written and signed. Our own particular brand of democracy, a republic in which each of the individual states have their own powers, is considered the worst of the worst in regards to inefficiency. What is the most efficient? A monarchy or a benevolent dictatorship. No need for public expression of ideas or opinions in those forms of government. No need for votes, either. It’s ironic that neocons criticize the inefficiency of our government when that is the price to pay for the personal freedoms that form of government provides them to express dissent, be heard and ultimately results in policies, laws and public expenditures in which no one gets everything they want but everyone gets something they want. Democracy is an exercise in slow, deliberate, tedious and totally inefficient government. In 1887 Lord Acton made the statement that “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Some element of all governments on earth are corrupt. It is democracy itself and our tripartite powers between the executive branch, Congress and the Supreme Court that makes the United States among the governments least corrupt. Corruption in our government does not appear to be party specific. Since neocons wrap themselves in family values, the same cannot be said for hypocrisy. Neocons quickly forget or ignore that Obama inherited the dirty diaper left by the Bush administration not only in terms of the economy but two wars only one of which had legitimacy. Under Bush’s watch the housing market collapsed, the sub-prime and credit crises emerged, oil prices surged and the value of the dollar plunged. Bush bailed out AIG at a cost of $85 billion and took over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. How convenient for the neocons to lay these events at Obama’s feet.Every neocon’s favorite president is Ronald Reagan, the president who introduced us to supply side economics, aka “trickle down economics.” The primary theorem of supply side economics, developed by Arthur Laffer, is that marginal tax reductions, particularly for the highest income earners will invigorate the economy and trickle down to lower income classes in the form of job growth and private sector capital investment. Reagan provided us with eight years of supply side economics, and Bush provided with us with eight more years. So, how did they do? Reagan inherited a national deficit of $700 billion and left with a national deficit of $3 trillion during a time of relative good economic times. True to his belief in supply side economics, Reagan cut taxes — primarily for the rich — and his cuts in federal spending were limited to non-military programs such as medicaid, food stamps, federal education programs and the EPA. He reduced regulatory oversight of institutions which lead to the savings & loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Median average income fell during the Reagan administration, a testament to his policies favoring the rich. Bush took office with a national deficit of $5.6 trillion and left with a deficit of $11.3 trillion. This increase in national debt does not include the cost of the Afghan or Iraq wars, as these were conveniently funded “off budget.” The Obama administration has included the cost of these wars in their budget projections, which inflates Obama’s figures relative to Bush. So which president is being honest with public here? Bush’s $1.3 trillion tax cut was one of the largest in U.S. history and reduces marginal taxes far beyond what Reagan had done. Bush’s rationale was that surpluses (which he inherited from Clinton) did not belong to government and should be returned to taxpayers. So much for saving for a rainy day, or how about a huge recession? Like Reagan, Bush’s term in office led to a reduction in median household income and a rise in the poverty rate. Unemployment grew by 2.8 million jobs in 2008 alone. The Dow Jones Industrial Average upon Bush’s inauguration stood at 10,587. It was 7,949 when he left. Over his eight years in office, the average annual increase in GDP grew by 2.5 percent, one of the lowest on record during expansionary times dating back to 1949. So, for all you neocons out there, where were your voices during the Reagan years? Where were your cries of outrage as your conservative hero Reagan decreased taxes for the rich and rang up the national debt? Where were your cries of anger when Bush did the same thing? Are all of you incredibly rich? Bush’s tax cuts included a phase out of the inheritance tax. Many believe that a wealth tax between generations is unfair. You know what you get without it? A very small, elite aristocracy. If you are middle or lower class, sorry, you are not invited to this party. But who knows, maybe you will be liable for your parents’ debts when they pass on. Neocons worry that welfare payments that might allow a person shelter and food would be a disincentive for them to find work. Imagine the incentive for an adult offspring inheriting many millions of dollars. What is there incentive to find “work.” Well, maybe inheriting the family business will be their life’s work. No need to start at the bottom. Better to have Mum’s and Dadum’s business insert them at the top. Where were your voices when the Bush administration conducted perhaps the greatest assault on our constitutional and personal rights with unilateral power to wire tap and generally snoop into our lives? Who spoke up then? Liberals. And who is now screaming about government endangering their personal freedoms? Neocons. And for what? Glenn Beck’s teary eyed statements that Obama hates white people or is on some mission to create a socialist state or will take away our guns (I own seven)? Please!I have learned some things from the neocons. They will quietly acquiesce to non-conservative policies and behaviors as long as they are being promoted or enacted by one of their own. Not true if from the opposite party. There is a word for this. Jim Cameron Avon

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