The United States has been in decline since 1981.
That was when Ronald Reagan’s charismatic personality took over the country. Reagan was the all-time, All-American, schoolboy President. The gosh-golly-gee whiz President came to power overwhelmed by the more sophisticated long-range plans of the Corporatists. They saw his gullibility and his charm as an opening to turn the clock back 70 years. And they did.
Since 1981, the steady assault on the Middle Class American has been led by the propaganda machine of the Right Wing. Led by the oil-patch Texas billionaires, Corporatists always one careful step from Fascism, they used Reagan’s name and the fanaticism of Fundamentalist Christianity to promote “God, Guns, and Smaller Government.” The Right used Reagan’s popularity to introduce the big lie.
That lie, so popular among the American ignorati, is the foolish, “Emperor Has No Clothes” notion that we can have it all…low taxes and a Great Society. The fact is that low taxes and high spending never has, and never will build the economy. Successive Republican governments have simply borrowed more and more money.
The American people are ourselves to blame. The majority of Americans never have caught on, never understood the practical joke played on them by the Republicans. Half of us continue to vote to reduce our wages while CEOs earn an astonishing 380 times the income of the average worker.
We as a people have less and less savings and more debt because we buy into the divide-and-conquer idea of the Right that our neighbor may have a greater pension or a higher wage than we. The Republican governors of 30 states understand this. They know that if they can make Americans believe that “right-to-work” is somehow synonymous with more and better jobs, they can eliminate unions and deal with workers one at a time. And that, my friends, is and will always be an unfair fight.
Karl Rove and the Right Wing of the Republican Party want you to fight against that school teacher or highway patrol officer who may get a publicly known pension. These Republicans, sponsored by ALEC, the political arm of Fortune 500 corporations, know that if they can make average Americans fight against each other, they can reduce everyone’s wages. Wages are the biggest cost a corporation has. Why do you think so many jobs, millions of jobs, went to Asia? Cheap labor means greater corporate profits.
How We Got to 2013.
What is our biggest problem as an economy? There is no question that it is our national debt. Since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected, our economy has grown as our population has grown…sometimes rapidly and sometimes not at all. But one thing that has continued to grow rapidly over all Republican Administrations since 1981 is the national debt. And that is the crux of our current economic problem in 2013. The national debt is serious and if left to grow, will ruin the country. But we can fix it.
We have always had debt. We had debt after the War of 1812 and the Civil War. After World War I, our national debt was about 35% of GDP. After the Stock Market crash of 1929 and subsequent early years of the Great Depression, it was 44% of GDP.
World War II really created a huge economic hole, 122% of GDP, but the American People bought Savings Bonds and taxes were raised and an expanding economy grew us out of it. By 1965, when we were in the Viet Nam War, it was 47% of GDP and by 1979 we had brought our national debt down to 33% of GDP, or approximately $909 billion. Still a lot of money, but manageable.
If we had been able to contain the debt in 1980, we would have been able to have paid it off completely by 2010 at $30 billion a year, hardly a blip on a country with 2012 GDP of about $15 trillion. But that did not happen.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan’s economic advisors introduced “supply side” economics. One of the ideas that they brought with them was that the government could simply reduce taxes and the government could be reduced in size to commensurately stay in balance. Reagan cut the top rate to 50% from 74% and everyone’s taxes were scaled down from there. (Taxes are never reduced on the rich alone, or they would never pass.) Then he dropped the top rate to 28%. But that was too much of a disaster, so the top rate was finally set—after big revenue losses–at 35%. Deficits went through the roof and through the first layer of clouds.
The debt tripled from $900 billion in 1980 to $2.6 trillion by 1988. Under the first Bush it continued to rise dramatically, to $4 trillion or 64% of GDP. The deficit was finally getting some people’s attention. Ross Perot ran in 1992 as a third party candidate for President to point out that if we did not change our ways, both in debt and in international trade, we would be in grave economic peril within only a few short years.
Bill Clinton listened. And his first act was to raise taxes back to a modestly sensible rate, 39.6% over the votes of every single Republican in Congress. Higher taxes and the prospect of lower deficits helped to put the economy back on track. The result was that, after his first term, he was able to start cutting into the deficits and the last three years of his presidency, the budget was balanced…with the aid of an antagonistic Republican Congress. They were most agreeable to cutting programs under the Clinton Administration.
By the time Clinton left office, the national debt, while it had grown in the first four years before Clinton could bring it down, was now 57% of GDP and $5.6 trillion. With a government in balance and surpluses ahead as far as the eye could see. The national debt was under control.
The Disastrous Legacy of Bush and Cheney
When George W. Bush signed on, from the very first day he was inserted into the presidency by the Supreme Court, his idea was to cut taxes. But not everyone in his administration agreed. The Secretary of the Treasury and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan talked of using the surplus to make Social Security solvent for 75 years at least.
But that was not the plan of Bush-Cheney. Their plan, it is now known, was war on Iraq. It was a grand military strategy for oil and enrichment of their friends. The rich, or the elites were their constituents—those whom George W. Bush referred to as “the ‘haves and the have-mores.’ Some people call you the elites, I call you my base.” But he wasn’t really joking.
So, from Bush’s own mouth we heard the Neo-Conservative message that has continued to this day. Never raise taxes. No matter what happens—floods, wars, prescription drug plans for pharmaceutical companies—spend money wildly but do not raise taxes.
In July of 2000, the famous National Debt Clock in Manhattan was shut down. After three years of surpluses under President Clinton, those running the clock felt that we had won our battle over deficits.
The national debt was $5.6 trillion.
Then George W. Bush and Dick Cheney decided to cut taxes. The first tax cuts came within 6 months of their taking office. Then, in September 2001, the terrorists attacked. But that did not deter Bush-Cheney. They absorbed the huge costs to the country of the reaction in daily life, in transportation security, in homeland security and a war Afghanistan. And then wanted—more tax cuts for the rich.
But Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, former head of industrial giant, ALCOA Corporation said that we could not afford another tax cut, especially knowing…as he did…that Bush-Cheney were planning a war on Iraq. But when he was firm in his intention not to cut taxes further at that time, he was fired. And so taxes were cut again in 2003, as we began another war, the disastrous Iraq War. At this point the debt really began to take off, reaching $6.5 trillion by mid-2003.
Then the Bush-Cheney Right Wing economics, the so-called “Neo-Con” economics really began to take hold. Fed Chairman Greenspan, under pressure, cut the interest rate 12 times between 2001-2004. The dollar began a serious decline against other world currencies.
At about this time, American seniors began to complain that they simply could not afford the high cost of prescription drugs. They were traveling by the busload to Canada and Mexico to buy reasonably priced drugs to stay alive. To solve the problem without losing his support among the pharmaceutical industry, Bush created the Medicare Part-D plan for prescription drugs. It did nothing to lower prices. It simply subsidized some of the cost, which was passed on to the public. The price: $60 billion annually passed on, added to the debt of the American People.
Then there was the Iraq War, and the debt rose to $7.4 trillion (66% of GDP) and by the end of their term, December of 2008, it was $8.8 trillion. Over $3 trillion had been added since 2001. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Using anti-regulatory Republicans at the SEC to allow their Wall Street friends to run wild, they crashed the economy—coincidentally perhaps at exactly the time President Barack Obama took over. The final Bush budget, left for President Obama to cope with not only 20 million people out of work in the 9 previous months but a deficit in 2009 of $1.4 trillion!
Then the Repulican Senate began its four-year filibuster of any jobs programs which assured a deficit of over $1 trillion a year in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and raised the national debt from $11 trillion by the end of 2009 to over $15 trillion by the end of 2012. By the end of four years, Americans looking back universally said in polls that George W. Bush and Richard Cheney were the worst President and Vice Presidents in the history of the United States. Herbert Hoover, the brand-name for economic disaster for a generation, had been surpassed and finally raised several points in the country’s estimation.
In addition, a large segment of the world’s population now saw Bush and Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as clearly defined war criminals and would ask for their extradition to the Hague for crimes against humanity, particularly their torture of innocent Iraqis and a preemptive war which had clearly come about by exaggerated claims that were later proved to be false.
The years 2009-2012 saw four years of Republican obstruction, with the Repulican minority in the Senate holding up any restorative economic programs with over 380 filibusters, an all-time record for obstruction. As a result, the national debt, now greater than $15 trillion is variously interpreted to be between 80% and 90% of GDP. This is clearly the real danger zone based on previous experience and studies of other countries.
There is very clear evidence that a large number, perhaps as many as 150,000 very wealthy Americans are intent upon crashing the government, bringing it down, bankrupting it and making it unable to perform for the vast number of citizens. Large industrialists, like the Koch Brothers, the largest private oil company in the world and owners of chemical and paper and other interests, multi-billionaires, have given huge amounts of money in an effort to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social services.
The language used is, of course, the opposite. These billionaires are not concerned about paying too much in taxes, they say, despite the fact that their biggest supporters are the Republicans in Congress who are the most adamant about no new taxes, no tax loopholes closed, and are those who push the strongest for cutting taxes and government.
Candidate Mitt Romney, in an unguarded moment, spoke to this group in terms that they understand. He spoke of the 47% of Americans who are just lazy and do not want to work. He never mentioned the tens o millions of homes foreclosed on by fraud or the 15 million laid off by Wall Street speculation.
Then there is Governor Scott Walker, who told multi-billionaire campaign donor Diane Hendricks on videotape, seen everywhere, that he would do his best to “divide and conquer” the workforce in Wisconsin in pursuit of Hendricks’ request for a Right-to-Work law to drive down wages.
Money and Power
When people have accumulated so much money that they cannot spend it in several lifetimes, life ceases to be about money, about making a living. For some of those people, life becomes a quest to do good for others. Charitable enterprises. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. House the homeless. Educate the masses. Or cure disease.
For others, wealth turns life into a quest for power–total political control of others’ lives. If one is afraid of the return of Communism, then it becomes a battle to eliminate even the appearance of Socialists in society. And since Socialism is an idea, a political philosophy, it is a small step—with political power—to try to stifle it.
The same can be true of fear of Liberalism, or Populism, or even a religious belief that does not coincide with the beliefs of those in power. Political power is about control of society. And when you are a billionaire, it is difficult not to see life from a great height, not across the kitchen table or on the street corner. One person’s Democracy, the average person’s Democracy, can be seen by one whose entire life and family and staff is devoted to his or her whims and wants…as chaos. The Middle Class is not in chaos. It is not Socialist to want the retirement annuity that you paid for over a lifetime of work.
While many people still feel that George W Bush was actually appointed President by the Supreme Court, he was not. He was elected by having one more vote than his opponent. In a close election, it was Karl Rove’s idea of “50 plus 1” that proved the margin of victory. In this case, it was not one vote more than his opposition. It was one Supreme Court vote more. All he needed, and got, was a Republican interpretation of the law by one Supreme Court justice more than his opponent. This political scheme won the Presidency for George W. Bush.
So what is that plan? In Rove’s society, each political party would create a list of those from whom it wants support. In the case of the Republicans it is the oil companies, tobacco companies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and others who want more profits and less taxes. The top half a dozen corporations, like EXXON, and GE, make tens of billions of dollars a year, and using their lobbyists to relentlessly advocate for lower taxes, actually pay no taxes at all.
What does that mean? It means that the biggest stockholders of these corporations make billions of dollars every year and spend it to make more for themselves. They don’t make it and use it to make life better for Americans. They use it to elect Republicans who will support them in their quest for no taxes.
They do this by spending huge amounts of money, hundreds of millions of dollars a year persuading certain voters that the huge spending of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was really not that much at all, and that the huge deficits that they left President Obama, and the 15 million unemployed…are somehow his fault…not theirs. And now, suddenly, the people who spent like drunks at a convention, want to cut government, and in particular, cut services that people not only need, but have paid for already.
The method of choice is to hire people like Rush Limbaugh to tell the “Big Lie” to the masses of under-educated Americans, especially in areas where hatreds can easily be stirred up. The idea is to use the natural anti-government, racist, insecurities of the poorly educated to vote against their own best interests.
Often, when you ask a Southerner why they would vote for someone who would try to remove their only source of income after they retire, Social Security, they will say that they do not “trust’ the President. They will accuse him of being a “foreigner,” not born in this country, or of being a “Muslim.” None of those things are true, but even if they were…have no bearing on whether or not they should vote for him (really for their best intrests) over his opponent.
Propaganda in these areas is very strong because the ownership of media outlets and the delivery of messages is controlled by the Right Wing. When people like the mluti-billionaire Koch Brothers control the message no truth can get through. Their father Fred Koch started the huge, wasteful, propaganda campaign of Joe McCarthy and the “Red Scare” of the 1950s, with his John Birch Society. Now his sons are trying to destroy the entire Middle Class.
The list of organizations that they fund is legion. Here is a representative sample. The Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Hudson Institute, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Reason Foundation, the Federalist Society, the Mercatus Center, National Center for Policy Analysis, the American Enterprise Institute and the George C Marshall Institute…as well as the original money behind the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a Right Wing organization designed to promote corporate causes in the state legislatures of all 50 states.
The Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, which many people feel is one of the worst decisions handed down by the Supreme Court, perhaps only exceeded by the Dred Scott decision, has allowed people like the Koch Brothers to spend unlimited amounts of money to elect their own personal legislators into many districts. Using the Tea Party, which they also fund, they have carried out primary campaigns against even Republican legislators whom they felt were not Conservative enough.
The rich Right Wing and the giant corporations that they own…all U.S. global corporations are owned by fewer than 5,000 individuals, trusts or financial groups. Even if you take the top .1%, which–if you consider wage earners only–is about 8,000 people, the average income is over $1,000,000 per year. And more astounding, their assets are an aggregate $45 trillion dollars. It is also estimated by the Tax Policy Foundation that their assets in 2020 will be over $80 trillion, everything else being equal.
In a study done of Fortune 500 corporations some years ago, over 450 had at least one stockholder who held more than 5% of stock and fewer than 5 stockholders who held at least 28% of the stock. That means that control of those corporations is in the hands of…at most…2500 people. Of the next 500 major corporations, the numbers…because those smaller companies have more founders still in management…are even higher, more concentrated wealth.
That is economic power. A relative handful of powerful families that have wealth three times that of the entire national debt. Remember, these people pay, on average, less than 19% in personal income taxes. With $45 trillion accumulated assets, they could pay down the entire national debt tomorrow and still have $30 trillion in assets—and growing.
Holding power is expensive.
When rules on ownership were relaxed in 1997, the Right Wing bought up most of AM radio. Although radio network ownership is deliberately obscure, it is known that Clear Channel at one time had over 1200 stations on which Rush Limbaugh was on the air for 3 hours each day. He was the main attraction in over 150 markets. Not because he was universally popular but because Clear Channel made small stations an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Basically Rush was free programming for 3 hours a day. (Later Clear Channel would do the same thing with Dr. Laura Schlesinger, long thought to be a psychologist, but as it turned out, she was a physiologist and a certified marriage counselor.
So, the technique worked. The Texas-based Right Wing management of Clear Channel could send out its propaganda, using Limbaugh, who was only too happy to participate for an estimated $200 million dollars over ten years and then a renewal for $40 million dollars a year to spew lies about anything the Republican Party wanted him to say.
At one point, in the late 1900s and early 2000s that you could not drive from Kansas to the Coast or Pittsburg to Houston without hearing Rush Limbaugh several hours a day en route. At first, he was paid to deliver Right Wing propaganda for the Conservatives. Later, after the hick towns had made him nationally known, he became a staple for the Right Wing loonies in any metro area of less than half a million population. And some with more.
The next segment of the 50-plus-1 was the old Confederacy. What better group than the Union-hating, African-American hating remnants of the former Democratic Segregationists, like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms to lead the Republicans back to victory. It is sad that there are so many racists in the South, but there you are. And an African-American President…what could have been better for those who wanted to use racism against the Democrats?
With a solid South, the Republicans were able to almost literally put up a puppet President. They were able to squeeze into the Presidency, one George W. Bush, a failed businessman with a genial personality and a pseudo-Texas attitude, a carefully adopted good-old-boy persona (right out of Andover, Yale, and the Harvard Business School—(although Harvard would like to bury that embarrassing fact.)
Bush embarrassed the country in multiple ways, but worse, his stupidity now affected all Americans. The result of his ineptitude was a social and economic catastrophe. Using his father’s name and Presidency, he became titular head of a new baseball team, sold his stock for a reputed $21 million and let political backers buy him the governorship of Texas. There he continued to take the state to the bottom in almost every category, income, employment, health care and education. Still, with the propaganda machine and $60 million in a campaign fund even before he said yes, he went on to run for President.
With Dick Cheney appointed Vice President by the oilmen, Bush followed instructions. He pushed for war with Iraq. He cut taxes twice. He created a government so lax in financial controls that Donald Rumsfeld, in a moment of amazing candor—actually said to reporters that the Defense Department had “lost’ $2.3 trillion—trillion—dollars that could not be accounted for.
The tens of millions of words about the Iraq war have done it justice. No need to discuss it except to say that all the young men and women who went to Iraq, once there, did their duty, followed orders and did their best to protect the soldier next to them, as soldiers have done from time immemorial.
Meanwhile, at home, the quest for power continued. In his second campaign. In 2004, Bush and Cheney’s people hired a bunch of Right Wing, all-war-all-the-time ex-military called the Swift Boaters to smear John Kerry’s incredible Viet Nam war record.
Kerry, after serving 16 months on a destroyer in the Philippines, volunteered for one of the most dangerous jobs of the Viet Nam War. Patrol Craft Fasts (PCFs) or “Swift Boats” were 50-foot, lightly armed aluminum boats whose job was to interdict and engage with the Viet Cong up the rivers of Viet Nam. Their job was also to insert and eject SEAL teams from combat actions against enemy insurgents.
Then Lt. John Kerry participated in 48 such mission along the Mekong River under constant enemy fire. Kerry, remember, could have simply stayed in San Diego, gone home and said that he had served his country well in the Pacific…even before risking his life acting as a target for North Vietnamese machine guns 48 times.
Power is all important to Neocon Republicans. Look at the value of politics to Donald Rumsfeld. He left politics and, using his contacts at the FDA, negotiated a government deal for Baxter Laboratories with the regulators. His reward—reportedly $100 million dollars.
Dick Cheney left the government after having been Secretary of Defense under the first President Bush. He joined Halliburton Corporation and his contacts with government netted Halliburton over $350 million in government contracts before he became Vice President, earning him a reported $44 million for his efforts. His personal war against Iraq later netted Halliburton another $12.5 billion.
The Bush-Cheney years were about political power. The new Conservatives or Neo-Conservatives or “Neocons” for short were a more militant form of Conservatism. Cut taxes for the rich, and to hell with the people, because…the people have lost their political power. The Neocon Republicans owned the media and the message.
In an interview with famous war correspondent, Martha Raddatz, Vice President, Cheney was asked what he thought of the American people’s recent majority feeling that the Iraq War was not worth it. And Cheney replied with one word, “…So?” In other words, it no longer matters what the American people think. We Republicans finally control government and the media and the message. We own America.
So this was the outcome. Republicans gerrymandered into House seats that they cannot lose. Senators of Right Wing states with huge campaign funds provided by corporations and billionaires. They demean the opposition. They lie to the hicks, using their media ownership.
And if a foreign leader displeases you, start a war. Lie about their intentions and your motives and invade. What can the mass of the people do. Just like the Germans of the 1930s, no truth ever reaches their ears. Shock and awe. Legislate from crisis to crisis. It is an old Fascist trick.
After the first small bombing of the World Trade Towers that happened in 1993, almost simultaneously with his taking office, President Clinton hired Richard Clarke, a Republican, to be the focal point of all information on terrorist activity. Clarke, by 2000, was worried about attacks on U.S. soil by followers of Osama Bin Laden and said so.
Clarke was dismissed by the Bush White House as overly cautious. This was a group of military “experts” who, on the very evening of 9/11, had been scheduled to hold a defense policy speech not on the perils of terrorism, but, of all things, on the urgency of the repeatedly failed “star wars” anti-missile defense system. Apparently, no one told them that the Cold War was over.
And so what happened? Who was actually behind 9/11? We know for sure that Bin Laden was behind it. But much remains obscure. All we know is that eight years later and an additional $7 trillion in debt, the Bush-Cheney Administration used its leverage from an attack on U.S. soil to launch two wars and create a diversion—deliberate or not—from their creation of $12 trillion in new debt.
The Cheney Neocons used the excuse of potential terrorist attacks to consolidate political power, and to abuse it. They pushed through legislation that would eventually see Americans spied upon by government and even some—as incredible as it seems–arrested and tortured without due process. Even our library records and video store rentals were open to scrutiny without our knowledge.
The jamming through of the Patriot Act, using the pressure of security threats was the worst abuse of American civil rights since the McCarthy era or perhaps even since World War II. Not only did we suffer these losses of our civil rights but we were billed for them. Bush and Cheney started two wars and not only did not raise taxes or sell bonds to pay for them. We American citizens essentially borrowed the money for the wars from China.
Then came the economic meltdown. In October of 2008, the market began to fall and the unemployment numbers reached over 700,000 per month by January of 2009. In coming years, the unemployment numbers would cost the government over $350 billion annually in lost revenue from both unemployed workers and closed businesses.
Another $350 billion per year would be added as a result of welfare, unemployment, Medicaid and food stamp costs as more people lost incomes, savings, homes and slipped further into poverty.
When you ask yourself…how could our government have been so stupid, you must ask the other question…were they stupid or are they very, very smart? If they are not stupid men Cheney and his cohorts, then the only conclusion is that they are very greedy, very evil men. The only conclusion other than stupidity is illegality, theft, fraud of the worst possible kind on the American people.
Wall Street, with no regulators to stop them took $7.5 trillion of wealth from the average American and left them in growing poverty and joblessness. Now they demand that the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the impoverished and the unemployed should pay the bill, reduce the debt for the borrowing of the Bush-Cheney administration that went to their friends in the oil industry and military contractors—and to the bankers on Wall Street.
The Neo-conservatives have now morphed into what we could call Neo-Fascists. In other words, Republicans are now a political party, not beholden to the people but to huge industrial and financial interests– and the military. This is a group that wishes to take complete control, to align themselves with the total power of the state over the People.
Already, they have taken over 30 states, governorships, state legislatures, using the financial power of ALEC, the political arm of major corporations. They have used the economic crisis that they created to persuade the average working man and woman that they do not deserve better pay. They would have us believe that we should be happy to have the “right-to-work” for any pay at all.
Republican governors and legislatures are restricting the vote from those who might protest. They are redistricting House of Representative territories so that only Republicans can be elected to the House. They are changing laws in favor of Fundamentalist Christians (American Taliban, they are called) against abortion and contraception, and in favor of the gun manufacturers in proliferating guns in schools and churches and automatic weapons everywhere. They are trying to stamp out the environmental movement completely…seeking to let American taxpayers clean up their toxic messes, while they collect huge salaries and profits.
The governor of Michigan took over the control of the city of St. Joseph, throwing out the elected representatives. The new city manager then took away part of a public park fronting on Lake Michigan and gave it to a private group, including their elected local member of the House of Representatives, Fred Upton, the heir to the Whirlpool fortune. Having taken the land from the people, the group then used it to create an upscale golf course community.
Governor Snyder of Michigan has since taken over the management of the city of Detroit. Only one vote was necessary. The one vote he received that was more than his opponent. That is Karl Rove politics. And the eventual result is this form of Neo-Fascism. Total political control that brooks no opposition, no dissent, no concern for anyone but their hand-picked political allies. It is about power and privilege.
Our current society is not a benign one. The Democratic Party has been attacked repeatedly, even in the House and Senate, with the childish and deliberately abusive game of calling them “Democrat” Senators rather than “Democratic” Senators.
That is nothing. The real problem is far more dangerous. The commentary of people like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Michele Malkin, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck do their best to stir up violent reactions and outright civil unrest. It has gone from insults to outright calls for violent action.
After Bill O’Reilly called a doctor in Kansas a “baby killer” for legally performing abortions, the doctor was murdered by a Right Wing madman. When Representative Gabby Giffords tried to bring Democratic and Republican voters together, a Right Wing madman shot her and killed a popular Republican judge and several other people who were mere bystanders.
But by far the most obvious and reckless of the Right Wing attacks was by a crazed gunman who walked into the headquarters of the Democratic Party in Arkansas in August of 2008 and shot the Chairman of the Democratic Party dead.
The number of Right Wing hate groups, who literally call themselves “Patriot” groups has grown from 149 in 2008, the last year of the Bush Presidency, to 1360 in 2012 and probably a little more already in 2013, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Patriot” groups are another name for racist, KKK-style, armed insurgents. They are no more patriots than any other mob or mafia. These “Patriot” groups are clearly racist thugs and should be treated that way by the law.
These are the kinds of groups that spawn attacks on children and bombings of federal buildings. If the Republicans were truly interested in security, they would stop calling President Obama a Communist, a Socialist and then, incongruously—a Nazi. They would encourage Homeland Security, FBI, and ATW to go out and hunt down these dangerous, armed extremist groups.
But they don’t. They encourage automatic weapons in the hands of crazy people. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a much wished-for war against Iran. And crazy people murdering innocent citizens.
Economics plays a part in all this. Campaign contributions from organizations that want to foment unrest so that they can continue to make huge profits while leaving the cleanup of many toxic sites to the average citizen.
Encouragement from far Right Wing Congressmen like Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Virginia Foxx and Eric Cantor, plus Right Wing nut-job Senators like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Remember that these people, no matter how lunatic their statements, are not stupid. They are very bright and are committed to the Republican goals of corporate America, where they see their future and their enrichment, following the examples of Bush and Cheney.
You see it in people like Senator Jim DeMint who left the Senate suddenly to head up the ultra-right-wing Heritage Foundation. Or another example, Billy Tauzin who, by leading the fight for the $600 billion giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry was given a contract for two million dollars a year upon leaving Congress as head lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry.
The Right Wing is about political power and the energy for their campaign to elevate the rich to the kinds of powerful positions we have mentioned is money. The Republicans help with tax breaks for the rich and in turn the rich contribute to the Republican campaigns. The system works and the rich are becoming richer and more powerful.
Over the last four years, those at the very top of the income scale, the so-called top 1%, those with income of roughly $350,000 or more have continued to make economic advances while those in the rest of the income brackets have actually experienced lower incomes.
From 2009 to 2011, for example, the top 1% earned 121% of the income gains. The reason is that the bottom 99% actually had a reduced income of less than 1%, in other words, minus growth in income of about .4%. Top one percent incomes grew by 11.2%, so they gained all of the increases and then some.
And now the talk is of austerity. The Bush-Cheney Administration drove us into deep, deep debt. Now the giant corporations and their billionaire owners want us to pay the bill. But we won’t. There are better alternative in which those who got the wealth can now begin to pay the bill. And that is what we will discuss next.
Next—The Failure of Conservative Economics—Part VI –The Real Solutions