Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Republican Freak Show, A View From the Left

America’s looming freak show: How GOP control in 2015 will terrorize a nation – with no political repercussion -

The title is another example of the civility and interest in understanding that The Party (D) shows to those who have differing views.

So what is it that TP has it's panties all in a bunch over relative to the tepid and powerless political opposition they face? BO is just going to keep on ruling by executive order even if they lose the Senate, and while it might mean that BO can't get a completely obvious far lefty on the SCOTUS like a Sotomayor or Vader Ginsburg, lord knows it is difficult enough to for even a conservative president to find a conservative judge -- see Breyer. No doubt BO can get one plenty lefty through a slightly R Senate.

Well, this paragraph has something close to at least what the left sees as factual in it.

The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion in growth. It showed the nation the incompetence of House GOP leadership. It exposed the civil war in the Senate. The country saw that the party was craven, dysfunctional, agenda-free and not merely incapable of governing, but uninterested in it. After the shutdown, the share of voters identifying themselves as Republican dropped to 25 percent in Gallup polling, the lowest level in 25 years, and polls showed Democrats might have a shot at taking back the House.

So how did delaying and possibly preventing a tiny bit of government spending cost the country $24 Billion in growth? First of all, $24 Billion in a $17 Trillion economy is .014%, so they must have a DAMNED accurate way of measuring something as complicated as the US economy to know that the shutdown "cost" us $24B in growth. They don't say HOW this tiny effect was supposedly conjured by the shutdown, but it is an article of faith for TP that money spent by the government is magically "multiplied" by a factor of 2, 4 or even more, so that is probably the imagined cause of this terrible .014% effect to the fevered lefty brain.

After dealing with the only "fact" in the article, we get back to hyperbole, the staple of TP ... the shutdown "exposed" Republicans as "craven, dysfunctional, agenda-free and not merely incapable of governing, but uninterested in it". See in the TP universe, they did .014% damage to the economy, so this is a factually justified and a highly civil criticism -- we know that because TP is always civil!
In case TP would like to consider more facts (doubtful), the House passed a budget with all the money to do everything outside of BOcare -- which they said was not ready. The Constitution gives the House the power of the purse -- they are the ones that provide funding, and not funding everything the President wants is exactly what "separation of powers" means.  Harry Reid and BO would not allow that budget to pass the Senate, and took the position that they would not negotiate unless they got a "clean bill", meaning one that had all the funding for BOcare that they wanted. These facts are well covered by Thomas Sowell, linked here.

The core difference here is a difference in world view. TP assumes that "government is great, government is good, we thank it for our daily bread" -- the government is central to TP life, and the idea that it can be flawed and even counterproductive to economic and other forms of human well being is simply not accounted for in their model. Total Federal, State and local government spending in the US is now around 40% of GDP  a question that nobody who pledges allegiance to TP will ever answer is "how much is enough"? In their model, since government is only good, there are no barriers at all to any figure up to 100% -- they simply can't conceive of there being a downside to government spending.

This view means that they simply can't imagine people not being thrilled by everything about a new government program like BOcare.
But a year later, Republicans are in no danger of losing the House and have a better than even chance to take back the Senate. Even at the time, it was clear that a feckless, frenetic media — which immediately went on to treat Obamacare web site glitches as just as catastrophic as the GOP’s shutdown debacle— would let the party off the hook. Yet so have voters. The Republican base is more than content to have its leaders do nothing but block and sabotage Obama. And the Democratic base still disproportionately sits out the midterms, which lets the obstructionists dominate the agenda.
Millions of people losing their existing insurance and being forced to pay vastly higher rates had nothing to do with a turn in the Democrats popularity in the minds of TP believers -- all merely a result of a "feckless, frenetic media". It certainly couldn't be that Republicans declared BOcare to not be ready for prime time -- and it turned out that it wasn't. Nah, in the TP universe, people ought to still be stewing over an imagined .014% reduced growth in the economy rather than concerned over paying $25K for insurance rather than previously paying $10K as in one case I know of where one of the couple had a stroke in late summer and then the policy they had was cancelled because it "didn't meet BOcare standards", so they needed to find a new policy in the midst of dealing with recovery from a stroke. Yes, they and millions like them (few as bad we hope)  have no reason to be concerned about BOcare outside of media influence, and should still be fuming over a .014% reduced economic growth.

The discussion this country needs to have is about the perpetually increasing percentage of our economy that is consumed by the government, and what sort of limits (if any) might be rationally considered. Reading articles like this doesn't present much hope for that very much needed discussion ever being had.
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