WHEN YOU GET CAUGHT BETWEEN GOD AND NEW YORK CITY
Isn't Thirty-Plus Years Enough?
Something's been lurking in the recesses of my brain for some time now, mainly how to counter all this right wing/Tea Party/conservative crap that passes for public policy. So today I'm taking one small step for liberalism and one giant leap for sanity. Let me remind you that I tag the start of the conservative economic and social revolution (in reality, takeover) from 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan. From the end of World War II until 1980, Keynesian Economic theory was pretty much the norm although there were those conservative schools of thought (mainly the Chicago School of Economics) slinking around in the shadows. Reagan, former California Governor and actor that he was, cannot be personally blamed for the onslaught of unfettered Free Market policies nor the culture wars that began under his watch. But what can you say about a President and former union president whose first act was to fire the unionized PATCO members who were on strike? Or how about the symbolic removal of the White House solar panels that Jimmy Carter had installed as a symbol of where we were headed. Iraq.
Many of us during the eight years of the Reagan Administration believed that the new evangelical conservatism and fundamentalist culture wars were a temporary blip in the long arc of progressive liberalism. We were too busy and distracted by our jobs, buying houses, caring for the kids, walking the dog to realize what was up. And what was that? In a nutshell – the wholesale imposition of a fairly radical right wing ideology in virtually all phases of our lives. Recall if you will, the fundamental conservative tenets: 1) Government isn’t the solution. Government is the problem. 2) The Private Sector Can Do It Better and 3) Personal Responsibility and Individual Initiative. With the likes of Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan leading the way, even the Clinton Administration was awash in the new Free Market Economic policies that included the passage of GATT and NAFTA which initiated the tsunami-like exportation of jobs overseas and has resulted in $8.00 an hour wages being considered "good." Can you name one, just one, effort enacted to protect American jobs and industries since then? No? I’m sure there were but I can’t recall any.
With so much misinformation and outright falsehoods floating through the media these days, it’s became nearly impossible to filter out fact from fiction or to get to the bottom of any policy issue (Benghazi excepted. LOL!) and this is no better illustrated when it concerns economic policy. So I propose to do a few fact-based pieces to see just where we’ve come after our thirty-plus years of the conservative economic and social policy experiment. (Yes, I know. The conservatives all complain that it's been the "liberal agenda" that has caused our decline. Don't know about you but I don't consider tax breaks for the rich and big business, skyrocketing college costs, disenfranchising Voter ID legislation, the Hobby Lobby and Citizen's United decisions, etc. etc. exactly liberal initiatives. But that's me.
PS: Article in this morning's Washington Post " Can Conservatives and Liberals Unite to Understand the Wealth Gap? Maybe not" about how a newt formed think tank solicited both liberal and conservatives to accept funds to do research on this question. Among the 70 submission received none were from conservatives. Surprised?