START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Where's "The Revolution"?


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, Americans, congress, constitution, corruption, dishonesty, economy, elections, Govtfearmongering, financial, healthcare, housing, lies, media, military, obama, politics, propaganda, republicans, socialsecurity, SupremeCourt )

Kit
- 554 days ago - truth-out.org
Wall Street once again is engaged in reckless financial games, the Congressional Republicans are still behaving like tantrum-prone children who can't get their way and are willing to take the economy and government down with them-->



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Comments

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 9:16 am
Occupy Wall Street, October, 2011. (Photo: junia.mortimer)


So here we are in the Spring of 2013, nearly five months after Barack Obama's re-election and the Senate added new liberal members, and not much has changed. And it doesn't look like anything major will change.

Wall Street once again is engaged in reckless financial games, the Congressional Republicans are still behaving like tantrum-prone children who can't get their way and are willing to take the economy and government down with them, the global climate is creating weather havoc everywhere while carbon emissions are essentially unchecked, the Israelis and Palestinians are locked in stasis, even the mildest gun regulation bills face little chance for success when pitted against the NRA, Europe continues to force "austerity" on the backs of the middle-class while the wealthy continue their essentially free ride, the GOP leadership's post-election "autopsy" urges a change in tone as they try to expand the base but Republican office-holders and candidates can't seem to stop themselves from continuing to behave like ignorant, arrogant louts. And so on, etc. etc. Rinse and repeat.

It seems an appropriate time for a good, old-fashioned sum-up of historical context and analysis as to how we got to this scary place and how things potentially could change. See what you think:

EARLIER "REVOLUTIONARY" FERMENT

Back in "The Sixties" (roughly the late-1950s to the early-1970s) we rebellious young activists shared a key belief: The foundations on which the ruling elites and institutions rested were so obviously rotten, corrupt and immoral that our "revolution" -- our worldwide revolution from Chicago to Prague to Mexico to Paris -- would topple the "Establishment" in favor of a more just, peaceful, equitable system of governance and economy and politics.

What we naive radicals hadn't factored-in to our ambitious vision was the tenacious reserve strength of the ongoing financial and political "system," and its willingness to use any means necessary to push back at the major changes taking place and being proposed -- including the use of force against those with the temerity to try to alter the "system" in major ways. These physical attacks included deadly force; see the Kent State and Chicago Black Panther slaughters.

Some major victories did come our way:

1) A key mainstay of that youth revolt was the immoral and badly-run war in Vietnam, born from neo-imperialist impulses and American ignorance of the complex geopolitical realities of Southeast Asia. It took many years, but finally the U.S. was forced to withdraw from Vietnam.

2) As for domestic politics, many of the radical proposals of "The Sixties" made their way into the mainstream body politic -- Medicare, Medicaid, Voting Rights Act, equal rights for women, etc. -- adding on to the populist breakthroughs of the New Deal reforms from the 1930s: Social Security and more regulation of the greedy forces of rapacious finance and corporate power.


THE RIGHTWING BACKLASH

But, in nation after nation in the 1970s and '80s, the well-financed plutocratic forces in control of the levers of power fomented a mighty backlash to stop "the revolution" (really little more than relatively mild reforms) from gaining any more political traction and social momentum. For an introduction to how corporate America planned to dominate and derail democratic reforms, see the famous rightwing "Lewis Powell Memo."

In the U.S., corporate/media titans set about buying up newspapers, radio and TV networks, cable channels, think-tanks and the like, and used them to shape and influence public opinion, especially among the usual rightwing sectors: the less-educated, the fearful-of-rapid-change conservatives, the easily-led religious fundamentalists, the regional anti-federal government forces ensconced primarily in the South, Midwest and Mountain states.

That those HardRight forces re-conquered much political territory over those intervening years can be readily seen. Despite the lessons supposedly learned from the Vietnam debacle, new wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were launched with little political opposition, mainstream media questioning, or persistent, ongoing public protest. These wars were connected to the massive amounts of money to be made from the control of natural resources such as oil and gas and precious metals, and to a hegemonic desire to reshape the geopolitical power structure of the Middle East.

THE DEADLY IRAQ CON

A decade ago, ten million protestors filled boulevards across the globe in an unprecedented, one-off, worldwide demonstration, trying to prevent the launching of the U.S./U.K. war against Iraq. It was obvious that innumerable governmental lies were being told, and deceptions employed, to get that catastrophe started. Those who objected were brushed aside as unpatriotic, hippie nay-sayers.

(Then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft told Congress that those who question the policies and tactics of the Administration's "war on terror" were giving aid and comfort to the enemy: "Your tactics only aid terrorists -- for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies…")

Those who paid attention at the time (and who read the Downing Street Memos from England) were convinced by the evidence that the launching of the invasion of Iraq was based on fraud, deceit and outright lies. Ten years after the war was launched, it's even more clear now that a disastrous, immoral con was pulled on the American and British people by their rulers.

As the Iraqis demonstrated, "Shock and Awe" doesn't work if the local population refuses to go into shock and is not in awe of your technological superiority. The Occupation of Iraq that followed and the widespread use of torture by the U.S. and its allies -- helped lead to the Arab Spring of our own day. The so-called "victories" of those rebellions are yet another example of progressive movements defanged and diluted of their democratic power by the ruling elites.


DOMESTIC RIGHTIST DOMINATION

During the eight years of the CheneyBush era, regulatory laws were watered-down or eliminated to permit air-and-water polluters to re-write or ignore environmental regulations, and the forces of greed were permitted to manipulate the financial system for unchecked gain. The predictable result was the 2007-09 financial meltdown created by unregulated Wall Street manipulators, which led to a disastrous recession in the American and global economies. In the U.S. and elsewhere, there was top-down-enforced austerity after years of stagnation of middle-class dreams, as wages have been flat for decades, while the wealthy reap untold profits.

The RightWing, feeling its oats during all this revanchement, decided to try to take it all. The Republican right-wing believed that with liberalism and the Democrats dazed and confused, momentum was on their side. Their attitude: "Let's just quit our namby-pamby approach and simply repeal all of the Great Society and New Deal reforms in favor of a return to the Gilded Age of the late-19th Century, when for all intents and purposes freedom-from-restraints ruled triumphant over all financial and economic actions, with little or no governmental oversight." Greed, they were assured, would once again be enshrined as the nation's guiding light ("In Gold We Trust"). The rightist M.O.: If anyone gets in our way, ignore them or cut them down -- impeach Clinton, stymie Obama, make sure the government can't function, spend down the treasury to the point where there's precious little money for popular safety-net programs (but always enough for war-making and defense contractors).


POLITICAL REALITY IN 2013

So here we are in 2013, with both the more liberal Democrats, and the more reactionary Republicans locked in mortal combat, like two dueling tarantulas twisted into a death embrace. The GOP continues its stranglehold on legislative progress. Not much gets done -- at least on the federal level. The public loses faith in government -- which pleases Conservatives, as such pox-on-both-their-houses feelings gives Republicans more hope, since a lot more Democrats get disillusioned and drop out of political activism.

The GOP, in control of most of the state legislatures, is moving all sorts of reactionary, crackpot laws onto the books. Of course, it is no small irony that conservative forces, who want to get "big government" off the backs of the citizenry, feel quite comfortable dictating what citizens can and should do with their own bodies and in their own bedrooms. Recent studies demonstrate how authoritarian impulses rule so much of conservative ideology, especially when allied with religious fundamentalism.


TIMIDITY/CONFUSION OF THE LEFT

While one could point hopefully to the shrinking base of the Republican Party and the post-2012 election intra-party philosophical civil war, the Democrats still haven't figured out how to successfully engage the brazen, street-fighting tactics of the Republican HardRight and consequently are losing battle after battle. And yet, despite deserved criticisms of some of President Obama's policies, it's pretty amazing that he's been able to get a few potentially important laws passed that at least keep key liberal social/political/economic issues alive.

Obama should be leading the charge for major change, but his standard M.O. is to nibble around the edges of power but hardly ever to confront the "System" frontally; a centrist-pragmatist, he seems content to take baby steps and to give away much of his political capital in search of the illusionary oasis of bipartisanship. The progressive banner is proudly held up by the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson, Paul Krugman, Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow and innumerable bloggers, but they tend to be pretty much marginalized outside the corridors of power.


THE 'OBJECTIVE CONDITIONS'

What can be done? At the very least, the Liberal/Left, now scattered, must become a united, active force. At first, it seemed likely that the Occupy movement might be that political generator. But that exciting development faded away fairly quickly. Most liberals, it seems, can engage their political passions only in brief spurts, but tend to forget that revolution, even a social revolution, needs infrastructure, money and great patience -- years, decades, of hard, slogging work. The Right has spent decades building and putting their infrastructure in place; they can simply outspend, out-organize, outwait whatever the disheveled Left can throw at them -- and they also, by and large, have the forces of police control behind them.

It took several years for the radicals/progressives of the '60s to cobble together the various organizations and factions (anti-war, pro-democracy, civil rights, women's lib) to create The Movement. Finally, they had a counter-weight to the rightwing, and could mobilize quickly and powerfully when called upon to do so.

As was true in the '60s and now in our own time, the objective conditions for "revolution" would appear to exist in America, and elsewhere across the globe. Unrestricted capitalism has created too many problems, seismic cracks are appearing in institution after institution, the populace in country after country is angry and looking for intelligent direction as governments continue in throe to corporate power and the obscenely wealthy who pull the strings.


WHY ISN'T IT HAPPENING?

If I'm correct that the objective conditions seem to exist for radical organizing and social revolution, why isn't it happening? Especially in this country. Are Americans lazy? cowardly? terrified? bored? too exhausted trying to keep their economic heads above water? frightened of their potential power? worried that revolutions always eat their children? All of the above?

I don't know the answer(s). It may take a singular event or unforeseen catastrophe to get us to the tipping point. It certainly will take a new generation of leaders to prepare the soil and sow the seeds of social revolution.

It may be that these new, presumably younger leaders won't develop until some charismatic, courageous leaders join them from the traditional pool of elected officials, willing to risk their current positions of power and the perks that go with them -- in the service of sweeping social/political/economic initiatives. In other words, the momentum generated by the progressive forces of the New Deal/Great Society must find a way of merging with the growing energies of a pissed-off electorate and a somewhat radicalized citizenry.

We activists of "The Sixties" Movement didn't get everything we hoped for, but we got enough to start the ball rolling as we altered the parameters of power and greatly influenced several decades of political and social discourse. We need that new Movement ASAP. Organize. Organize! ORGANIZE!
***

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers | News Analysis | Truthout|

Support courageous reporting and commentary by making a tax-deductible contribution to Truthout!
 

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 9:23 am

From my own perspective, one problem is that we have too many small, well intended organizations all with the same goals. One strong organization, not allied with any party, just working with clear defined objectives to get to work for the people could probably be more effective. Most important, we need jobs, that will actually heal our economic woes more quickly with far better outcomes than any singular budget proposal. I also think that may social issues are being used to distract people from the political nonsense in DC.

Yes, we do have many social issues to address, if we have jobs, and workers are paid a decent income; then we can focus more directly on social issues.
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 11:57 am
The core to remember to continue the pressure and action to hold the line and occasionally push it forward to protect the people is in this article quote IMO:
"Recent studies demonstrate how authoritarian impulses rule so much of conservative ideology, especially when allied with religious fundamentalism. "
 

Jae A. (323)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 1:23 pm
I think it made it as far as being a series on network tv but beyond that...well I still be watching for it but so far..just more B.S. polically speaking. It is time to have a War on Corporate Control of our government/military/education/health etc. but so far Wall Street has 99% of the Republican politicans and at least half of the Dems. , along with the rightwing judges on the U.S. Supreme Court working for them so that Revolution we keep hearing about..I do believe it isn't going to happen. Unless :-)...we find a way to take the money out of campaigns via corporate 'donations' and stop voting for either the Dem.s or Republicans and go with the Green candidates over all we aren't going to see any progress as a possible revolution, other than those on Tv and in Movies. The only 'revolution ' other than those that's even possible by taking the money away from Corporates...via taxing them,removing their new right to buy any politican they want and less purchasing over all in our daily lives...along with the 'suggestion ' that the article offered...in my opinion.
 

Yvonne White (232)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 1:59 pm
It's sickening to me to see everything we Thought was done in the 70's being torn apart in the 21st century..Women are being attacked more openly than ever, Roe v. Wade is being undone or side-stepped in too many states, rape is a major problem still, etc., etc. and same sex marriage is still not Federally Legal & Binding. War is still legal, with back-door drafts & bull$hit "reasons"..the only Revolution that I see is that Society is more Liberal than Government - so we won't get what we want until Government is reminded Physically that WE are the Change! We've Warned it, Occupied it, elected it, but it still isn't listening! So the next step Will be Historical Re-enactments, French, Russian, etc. Revolution-style.. the Midwest has its pitchforks ready..;)
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 4:11 pm
Thanks Kit. There certainly have been many revolutions in our various human societies and cultures. Some successful, obviously.

A truly large revolution is just beginning with the "baby steps" already out of the way. The revolution of this planet, when the term "survival of the fittest" is currently being tested in planetary wars. Humans against their home , their survival systems, and planet companions is happening. The present & past politics will be way down the line of importance.
 

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 4:27 pm

There is still a lot of talk about American Exceptional-ism. We can be exceptionally smart by cleaning up this country, putting people to work, rebuild our infrastructure, teach the truth about why we must and can get off all fossil fuels, build high speed rapid transit, make real and lasting changes to the core of this country. We have some brilliant scientists, here and other places ready, willing and able to help. We can help by leading the world, teaching and cooperating with other countries to use their own resources to their best advantage.
Idealistic? Probably.

 

Susan T. (20)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 7:43 pm
Good article! We have to keep the pressure up.
 

. (0)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 7:57 pm
There is no revolution . Occupy is a joke.
 

cathie S. (154)
Tuesday March 26, 2013, 11:45 pm
Noted thanks for posting
 

Scott haakon (4)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 1:49 am
REVOLUTION? Get rid of he corporations and big money donors. Make all elections taxpayer paid with no outside money allowed.
 

Scott haakon (4)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 1:50 am
By the way both political groups have their crackpot laws.
 

paul m. (93)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 5:21 am

It's all about money,,,Wall St. has it ,,you don't,, !!
 

Ro H. (0)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 5:32 am
ty
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 7:04 am
Noted. Very interesting article.
 

Craig Pittman (45)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 8:12 am
Super article Kit. And I agree with you that what is need is a way of bringing all the disparate small groups of protestors together into one organization - all the small voices into one great big influential demand for change.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 10:26 am

Yep, we can be some yapping annoyance or one big growling, loud voice. It's up to us.
 

Ben Oscarsito (326)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 10:36 am
I've been waiting for a revolution for a long, looong time...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKYWOwWAguk
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 10:39 am

Talkin' about a revolution - and no one says it better. My thanks to Tracy Chapman and Ben for sharing.

Will the tables turn?
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 3:25 pm
The author doesn't know why we don't have a revolution, but near the end the author brings up leadership. I think, the author hits the nail on the head there. Sure, we have our Sanders and our Maddow and others, but we don't have a JFK, MLK, or RFK. We also don't have a Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, etc. The protest songs united youth worldwide, and people like RFK had charisma, but more importantly, they had guts. Unfortunately, even if we can find leaders with guts, (not just political leaders, but also societal leaders), the establishment will likely kill them off too. What we need is a hierarchy of leaders with guts and followers with guts. And, we need to expect bloodshed. Nothing so precious as freedom was ever won cheaply.
 

Birgit W. (145)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 4:06 pm
Very good article. Thanks
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Wednesday March 27, 2013, 4:12 pm
Great post. Thanks Kit.
 

june t. (66)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 12:51 am
thanks for the article
 

John S. (304)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 4:30 am
Always interesting posts. Not being a republican or democrat I hold both parties equally accountable, but then again, that is what you must do to win at the polls, so maybe we are all culprits.
 

John Gregoire (255)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 5:38 am
Well, a sure way to stop a revolution is to promote the revolutionaries. We now have an administration replete with the frauds and nabobs that caused the economic crisis in the first place.
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 5:52 am

I beg to disagree John (Gregoire). Bush took this country into 2 wars, and cut taxes leaving this country unable to pay for those wars. He also began a concentrated and painfully successful job of removing or privatizing all governmental regulations and agencies. It was Bush that was forced to create the first of two "bail-outs". Obama took office under this "crashed" economy. Show me any administration that does not have it's share of frauds or nabobs, that's just government.

The causes for the crash lie at the door step of Reagan and G W Bush. To function we must have regulations on business, you may have noticed that neither today or in the past has business ever shown an ability to self regulate.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 6:39 am
We do need a revolution - and we need for the apathetic, gutless wonders to get up off the couch, turn off the boob tube, and get with it - if everyone in the USA made a phone call to Congress, do you think they could still ignore us? If everyone in the USA actually learned the facts and bothered to investigate rumors, do you think the Tea Party would still be alive? We can die on our feet or live on our knees - it's up to us.
 

Lois Jordan (56)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 4:20 pm
The article summed it all up very nicely--thank you, Kit.
Jae's right--it's all about Corporate money in politics. We have to have publicly financed campaigns....and shorter campaigns. No more big "donor dinners" where the elite of the elite get to co-mingle and further conspire to steal more out of the pockets of those in the 99%, while "fixing" their own taxes. And, we have to amend the constitution, (MoveToAmend.org) that "Corporations Are Not People."
 

Sandra Patterson (60)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 4:36 pm
noted,than you
 

Dorothy N. (63)
Friday March 29, 2013, 5:29 pm
I don't exactly have time right now to comment, or actually to spend time on here at all, but this elaborates on Kit B.s (as always) apposite response to, which I thought might prove helpful in correcting some of, John Gregroire's misapprehensions.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/29/1197911/-Republicans-ask-CBO-to-rig-tax-cut-numbers


Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 11:53 AM PDT
Republicans ask CBO to rig tax cut numbers

by Jon Perr

Perhaps the greatest myth in the Republican pantheon is the claim that "tax cuts pay for themselves." Sadly, that article of supply-side faith—that tax cuts fuel economic growth so explosive that federal revenue exceeds what otherwise would have been collected—has been painfully debunked by decades of history. Unfortunately, as part of the budget deal just completed by Congress, Republicans quietly ensured that such "dynamic scoring" would become part of future analyses by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). If the GOP succeeds, voodoo economics will henceforth be a feature, not a bug.

That's the word from Politico, which reported that Republicans scored a symbolic victory when "the Senate told the Congressional Budget Office it should give more credit to the economic power of tax cuts." Thanks to the support of six Democratic senators including Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, former Bush OMB chief Rob Portman was able to secure the passage of an amendment asking the CBO to cook the books:

The amendment endorsed a model called "dynamic scoring," which assumes that tax cuts will pay for at least part of their cost by generating more economic activity. The measure by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) called on CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation to include "macroeconomic feedback scoring" in all future estimates of tax legislation.

As James Valvo, policy director at Americans for Prosperity, put it, "This is something that remains important to us."

Important, with good reason. After all, to one degree or another, pretty much every major Republican tax cut scheme from Reagan in 1980, Dole in 1996 and Bush in 2000 to Mitt Romney in 2012 and Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget have claimed that the hemorrhage of revenue for the U.S. Treasury from their massive tax cut windfalls for the wealthy would theoretically be offset by bigger collections from a supposedly surging economy. Without resorting to the sleight of hand that is dynamic scoring, these GOP budgets invariably produce red ink as far as the eye can see. That's why House Republicans last proposed H.R. 3582 (the "Pro-Growth Budgeting Act") to require that the CBO estimates also use dynamic scoring to incorporate "supply-side assumptions about the growth-generating magic of tax cuts into official budget estimates, enabling conservatives to evade the deficit-boosting implications (and various congressional barriers that come along with them) of their pet proposals for reducing the tax burden of 'job creators.'"

Most analysts have encouraged the Congressional Budget Office and other forecasters to steer clear of dynamic scoring for two very compelling reasons. First, there's no consensus on how to model it, making the process ripe for manipulation and political chicanery. As former deputy assistant director for tax policy at the Congressional Budget Office and current fellow at the Tax Policy Center Roberton Williams warned:

"We really don't understand the science well enough to do it right. The assumption built into the model determines, in large part, what comes out of the mode. There's going to be conflict unless there's some agreement on what ought to go in."

But it's not just that "there's a great deal of uncertainty" about "the right way to model things," as TPC's Donald Marron put it. There's also the matter of the historical record: For over 30 years, bogus conservative claims about the revenue-increasing effects of tax cuts have been proven cataclysmically wrong. ...

Starting, it turns out, with Ronald Reagan. As most analysts predicted, Reagan's massive $749 billion supply-side tax cuts in 1981 quickly produced even more massive annual budget deficits. Combined with his rapid increase in defense spending, Reagan delivered not the balanced budgets he promised, but record-setting debt. Even his OMB alchemist David Stockman could not obscure the disaster with his famous "rosy scenarios."

Forced to raise taxes eleven times to avert financial catastrophe, the Gipper nonetheless presided over a tripling of the American national debt to nearly $3 trillion. By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan more than equaled the entire debt burden produced by the previous 200 years of American history. It's no wonder that, three decades after he concluded "the supply-siders have gone too far," former Arthur Laffer acolyte and Reagan budget chief David Stockman lamented:

"[The] debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party's embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."

When George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ambled in the White House in January 2001, they weren't shy about making that same point. As Vice President Dick Cheney famously declared in 2002, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." (Not, that is, unless a Democrat is in the White House.)

Inheriting a federal budget in the black and CBO forecast for a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years, President George W. Bush quickly set about dismantling the progress made under Bill Clinton. In 2001, Bush signed a $1.4 trillion tax cut, followed by another $550 billion round in 2003, the first war-time tax cut in modern American history. (It is more than a little ironic that Paul Ryan at the time called the tax cuts "too small" because he believed the estimated surplus Bush would later eviscerate would be even larger than predicted.) In keeping with Republican orthodoxy that "tax cuts pay for themselves," President Bush confidently proclaimed:

"You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase."

As it turned out, not so much.

Federal revenue did not return to its pre-Bush tax cut level until 2006 (see chart at top). As a share of American GDP, tax revenues peaked in 2000; that is, before the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. ...

(Go to source to see graph)

... Analyses in 2010 by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded, the Bush tax cuts accounted for half of the deficits during his tenure, and if made permanent, over the next decade would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, TARP and the stimulus—combined. By the time he shuffled out of the Oval Office in January 2009, President Bush bequeathed a $3.5 trillion budget and a $1.2 trillion annual deficit to his successor, Barack Obama.

It's worth noting that current conservative economic propagandist and former McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin couldn't make the dynamic scoring alchemy work for the Bush administration:

In 2003, Doug Holtz-Eakin was appointed by Republicans to lead the CBO during the Bush years, and he came under intense pressure to use more dynamic analyses. But studies he commissioned found that dynamic scoring was devilishly complicated and wouldn't lead to drastically different estimates. As he explained in a 2011 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, "it is unlikely to change the bottom line very much over the budget window."

Despite the bitter experience of the Bush years, Mitt Romney made the same GOP shell game part of his tax plan in 2012. As Ezra Klein suggested in "The Dynamic Dodge in Romney's Budget," Mitt's scheme once again resurrected David Stockman's "magic asterisk":

As a matter of theory, stronger economic growth could make Romney's plan work...if Romney really could double or triple the pace of economic growth, it would be much easier to make his numbers add up...

The technical term for the secret sauce that Romney is using in his budget projections is "dynamic scoring." The idea is that tax cuts make the economy grow faster. They make people work harder. They persuade rich people to stop hiding money away. And thus they don't cost as much as a "static analysis" -- one that didn't take into account all these effects -- would suggest.

As it turns out, Romney's 20 percent tax cut plan is basically the same one Bob Dole ran on—and lost on—in 1996. And the architect of that debacle, former Reagan Treasury official Bruce Bartlett, has long since recanted his support for the "dynamic scoring" at the heart of virtually every Republican tax plan. As Bartlett put it last year:

As the budget deficit increasingly inhibits Republicans' tax-cutting, they are planning ahead for tax cuts that they will insist are costless because they will so massively increase growth. But for that approach to work, the C.B.O. and the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress's official budget and tax estimators, need to be forced to play along...

My concern is that the Republican effort is just a smokescreen to incorporate phony-baloney factors into revenue estimates to justify unlimited tax cutting...In other words, it is an issue of credibility. Republicans don't really care about accurate revenue estimates; they just want them to show that tax cuts pay for themselves, so they can pass more of them without constraint.

With Rob Portman's amendment tacked on to the FY13 continuing resolution, Republicans took one step towards making their tax cut smokescreen standard operating procedure.


 

Kit B. (276)
Friday March 29, 2013, 6:08 pm

Thanks Dorothy - well done!
 

Dorothy N. (63)
Friday March 29, 2013, 6:46 pm
Kit, you gave the facts (you always seem to have at your fingertips) on something I'd just happened to have come across a great posting on.

I'll just add this while I'm here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/07/1192261/-Paul-Ryan-must-be-planning-the-mother-of-all-magic-asterisks


Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:49 AM PST
Paul Ryan must be planning the mother of all magic asterisks
by Jed Lewison

...Ryan's budget apparently won't include any additional changes to Medicare over the next ten years, preserving the GOP's pledge to not change the program for people 55 and older. They'll still end Medicare as we know it for everyone else, a decision which almost certainly would lead to exploding costs or service disruptions for the final wave of people to qualify for the current Medicare system, but let's set that aside for the moment and take a look at the implications of taking Medicare changes off the table for achieving a balanced budget within ten years.

Follow below the fold to see how Ryan's plan would mean cutting domestic programs, including Medicaid, by nearly 40 percent—unless he includes a magic asterisk, which he surely will.

According to the Congressional Budget Office's latest forecast, we're projected to run a total of $7 trillion in deficits over the next decade. That represents about 15 percent over overall spending during the time period, which is projected to be $47.2 trillion. So at the top-level, Ryan and the GOP need to propose a budget which would cut an additional 15 percent in spending in order to achieve balance—unless they fake their numbers with magic asterisks that assume faster economic growth (and therefore more revenue) than CBO projects. ...



Thing is, the instant a Republican gets into the White House, I suspect that all social programs, paid into or not, would promptly be slashed to uselessness, if not utterly eliminated, so any long-term projection, accurate or not, only matters to them if it's useful as PR.


Must...stay...off...here...for...,now...
 
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story


Loading Noted By...Please Wait

 


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in US Politics & Gov't

Kit B.

Kit B.
Kit's contributions:
Stories noted recently: 0
Stories submitted: 3517
Front Page stories: 3420




 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.