Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Did the GOP's strategy backfire?

Well, it looks like after holding the economy hostage and getting "98%" of what they wanted--what John Boehner, in particular, wanted--Republicans are now feeling the wrath of the people:
Latest numbers on GOP approval ratings

I'm surprised if this is a surprise to the GOP.  Everyone, except for bureaucrats in Washington, are saying the American public really cares little about the debt ceiling debate or the downgrade, and more about what our government is doing about the situation with our jobs, which is to say...nothing.  And instead of addressing jobs along with the debt ceiling debate, the government decided to hurt people who are already hurting, by slashing what they deem "entitlement" programs, in order to get a deal to raise the debt ceiling.  And ironically, the two don't even go together.

Republicans have decided that when the vehicle known as the US economy is stalled and is completely out of gas, to not spend another dime on it.  So rather than give it a little gas to make it go, they're abandoning it at the side of the road, and who the hell cares if it's vandalized?

You can't run a car without fuel.  You can't run a government without revenue.  If too many of your citizens aren't working, they can't afford to pay hefty taxes when they need money for basic survival.  Once again, we come to very basic economic principles, like that stalled car.  The economy is stalled, not because we're spending too much money, but because we're not bringing in enough money.  Ask any small business owner what keeps their business going...it's not that they've cut spending on the products they sell or by turning off a few lights, it's that they're doing well when they're actually selling product, in other words, making income.

Of course, voodoo economics, "trickle down" economics, fictional Randian economics, etc., are based on the principle that the little people owe the big shots their lives, the pittance the big shots allow them to earn, their firstborn (as slaves)...whatever it takes to make the big shots happy, at whatever the cost to the little guy, whether or not he can actually afford it.  It's not based on math, science or anything that makes much sense in this world...but it's certainly presented as a cure-all for modern problems...so much, the entire Tea Party base of the House worked feverishly to sell this deal with the devil...and succeeded at it so well, the majority of Washington bought it, hook, line and sinker.  Probably added a little sugar and a cherry on top, too, just to make it palatable enough.

The truth is, though, it wasn't palatable to the masses, not even with the sugar or the cherry on top.  Instead, it was a bitter pill, and a message engraved in stone, "YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT."  Nowhere was there any attempt to crack down on anything that plagues the majority of today's underpaid, overwhelmed citizens.  The GOP didn't even want to bother stopping tax loopholes on private planes and yachts to millionaires to generate a teeny-tiny bit of revenue, even though neither of these items would affect any poor or middle class Americans.  No, raising the tiniest bit of revenue was "too much" to ask of those doing obscenely well.

You reap what you sow.  People are angry.  And what did the GOP do after pushing through a vote to dismantle everything good about the US and not doing a damn thing to fix all of the bad stuff?

Congress went on a five week vacation.  A paid vacation.

In times of austerity, when you're cutting down everything people need in a massive deforestation of the social safety net...you take a paid vacation, for over a month...but you don't cut spending on that, right?

Let's hope this disapproval rating is a wake-up call to the GOP to start creating jobs, rather than screwing around with the American social safety net.  Maybe if they at least cracked down on outsourcing, if they simply cut out the hefty tax cuts companies get for buying foreign workers on H-1b visas or shipping jobs overseas, they might not make their puppet masters very happy, but wow, what job growth we'd have here in the US!  But no, I'm guessing that would require admitting to the facade of "job creators" would cause the job creators to actually create jobs here in the US, rather than pocketing money and buying more luxuries, and that might make them mad.

And then they wouldn't be willing to pay for those candidates anymore.  Which would mean the candidates' days of taxpayer-supported perks (not to mention high-paying jobs where one doesn't have to listen to his/her constituents anymore) would be long over.

If this was a strategy, it doesn't seem like a very good one.  But then, maybe there's a clue to how it works in "Atlas Shrugged" or "trickle-down" economics.  A fictional happy ending is as good as a real happy ending, right?  Just like basing a country's entire economy on the fictional is working so well for all of us already.