Republican message

The meaning of the Republican message is in the impacts of their policies. What kind of economic plan advocates lower wages and causes the loss of millions of jobs as it watches the middle class shrink and the income gap sky rocket, at the same time plunging our nation deeper into debt than any other time in its history?

These economic trends were well on the way long before the nightmare of George W. became reality. Yet I hear folks say they like the Republican economic plan! They blindly quote the presidential financial advisors and say, “Prosperity is just around the corner.” How many of us can remember the last prominent political figure, Herbert Hoover, who made that statement just as our country was plunging into a deep depression? What got us out of that depression was investment in community — a huge public investment with public works projects and an effort to bring necessary infrastructure and services, like roads and electricity, to some of the most economically depressed areas of our country.

Recently, I heard an interview with Duane Benson, retiring head of the Minnesota Business Partnership, and a big advocate of the ‘more with less campaign’. He was full of advice for Minnesotans. He addressed the right issues, but his answers were so far off the mark. Among the tired Republican arguments he used was, ‘it’s useless to tax big business because they just pass on the tax to customers,’ and “it’s useless to tax the rich because if you tax them, they leave the state.” But what’s wrong with expecting more from those who have benefited so much from past public policy and investments in community? Why shouldn’t they bear some of the costs of that success and why should they instead pass those costs on to us? And why would they leave a state that has contributed so much to their wealth and progress? Are they that fickle? Would they bite the hand that feeds them?

The Citizens League published a paper you should read. It’s called “Doing the Common Good Better,” in which they describe two scenarios where a Minnesota citizen opens their newspaper five years from now. The citizen sees a different Minnesota in each scenario. There is one where, without public investment, our community is in decline; and in the other, where because things have been done with the public good in mind, our community is are prosperous.

Reading this report made me wonder, now that we’ve have had almost 20 years under the influence of supply-side economic policy, where has it gotten us? “Twenty years older and deeper in debt” most would agree. Infrastructure is falling apart, there’s been a massive loss of living- wage employment and a mass exodus of U.S. manufacturing. ‘Planning’ is determined by market responses, looking only at that which will maximize profits this quarter. The middle and lower class have seen wages stagnant or in decline at the same time that those at the top make off like pirates with no sense of gratitude, obligation or responsibility to the community that helped them amass their great wealth.

“More with less” and “more for a few and less for you” are philosophies devoid of patriotism and community. We are the ones who enabled them to amass wealth off of our labor. I have to scratch my head when I hear anyone, small business owners in particular, say they like Republican economics.

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