The 2012 election is a crucial one for progressives. This is our tipping point; if we don’t make our mark now, we risk becoming a historical asterisk. We have allowed the right wing to pretty much run the show for the last 32 years, and it’s time to take the country back. I’m not talking about marching and singing and playing political theater. I’m talking about opening our eyes and seeing the real problem with our politics and getting rid of it.
Whether you like it or not, the economy will always be the number one issue, regardless of the year. But the Republican Party still touts economic policies which were proven wrong many years ago, like supply-side economics, which is often called “trickle-down.” Unless we’re comparing the economy to molasses, a lot more should have “trickled down” to us by now, don’t you think? It has been 32 years, after all.
And need I mention our tax policy? The Republican Party actually touts the virtues of low taxes, even as they scream and carry on about the budget deficit. Yet, they won’t even agree to common-sense budget cuts, because, apparently, billionaires and millionaires are somehow hurting, financially, regardless of actual statistics which show the opposite occurring.
This country has plenty of money. We’re still the richest single country, by far. But under 32 years of neocon Republican guidance, our government can’t pay its bills, because they operate under the theory that, if you starve the government of money, it can’t spend any. They’ve even gone so far as to refuse to create jobs, which would create more taxpayers, and increase revenues without necessarily raising tax rates. In other words, they don’t want to raise taxes on the rich, but they also won’t create jobs and taxpayers. Yet, they whine about the deficit?
If that’s not basic incompetence, what is?
Please check out These charts and enter reality; it will blow your mind. In 1980, Reagan and the right wing claimed the debt was growing out of control, despite the fact that it was actually at its lowest point as a percent of GDP since before the Great Depression. In the first 193 years of our democratic republic’s existence, even with a number of wars, recessions and depressions, we only managed to accumulate $998 billion in debt, in total. But in 8 years, Reagan tripled the size of the debt, and in 4 more after that, Bush, Sr. doubled it again. In 12 years with neocon Republicans at the helm, more than $5 trillion in debt was added. Democrat Bill Clinton forced the Republicans in Congress to help him balance the budget, and they even created a surplus. When Clinton left in 2001, the federal government was scheduled to run surpluses for at least the next ten years, according to the CBO, and trim the then-$6 trillion to about $4.5 trillion in that time.
Unfortunately, the same Republicans who claim they helped Clinton balance the budget then helped Bush blow it up again. When Bush Junior was appointed president by the Supreme Court, he immediately enacted the least necessary tax cuts in the history of the republic, and appointed cronies and crooks to fail to oversee the financial system, resulting in immediate return to record deficit spending, even before the economic collapse he caused, by ignoring warnings given to him as early as 2003.
Even under the rosiest of perspectives for Republicans, they are responsible for at least 75% of the current national debt. Obama and the Democrats tried to kill the Bush tax cuts twice, and Republicans have blocked them, so it’s unfair and inaccurate to blame them for much of the deficit at all. Look at what was handed to him when he took office, for starters. Even the current deficit can’t be laid entirely at his doorstep. Last year alone, while the overall deficit was $1.2 trillion (40% lower than the deficit handed to him when he took office), more than $454 billion of that figure went to pay interest on the debt, with more than $420 billion of that going to interest on just portion of the debt that can be tied to Republican excesses. (HERE is that number) In all, out of $16 trillion in debt, more than $13 trillion of it can be laid at the feet of the party and the ideology currently whining about the deficit and refusing to do anything about it until the black guy is out of the White House. (But check their record; they won’t do anything about it even then).
And let’s make something clear; while $16 trillion is a lot of money, we are not BROKE, as the Republican leadership claims. A lot of the wealth that was claimed during the Bush years was phony — there’s no way home values should have ever been as high as they were, and a lot of securities shouldn’t have existed in the first place, but in no way are we broke.
HERE are some numbers to look at. Total household wealth in the United States in 2001 was about $44.4 trillion. At the bubble’s peak, that number went to about $66 trillion. I know it sounds contradictory to many, but a healthy economy does NOT grow wealth by 50% in a half dozen years. That means someone in charge had to know, or at least should have known, there was a problem, and they did nothing about it. At its lowest point during the recession, total household wealth bottomed out at $48.5 trillion. That doesn’t constitute “broke.” In fact, the number is still higher than in 2001, when we were apparently so UNbroke, Republicans were cutting taxes for the rich to the bone. By the end of 2009, household wealth was back up to $54 trillion, which would seem to indicate we were even LESS broke, not more.
Here’s another perspective. As a percentage of GDP, the current debt is just about 100%, although one major reason for that is that GDP shrunk a little for two years. That’s not good, but it’s not unprecedented. After World War II, the debt was 120% of GDP, and in 35 years, we reduced it to about 33% of GDP. We are capable of dealing with such debt, IF we use the money to invest in those things that create more revenue, like building infrastructure. We could borrow and spend another $2 trillion right now to build infrastructure programs, and the resultant tax revenue would actually increase GDP AND increase tax revenues AND reduce the debt, all without necessarily raising tax rates. If we spend money on the right things, we can actually pay that money back and start paying down the debt in a much shorter time than if we simply cut spending. Where do Republicans think government spending goes, anyway? They seem to think it disappears like magic, but it doesn’t; it goes into pockets and bank accounts, and eventually gets invested and spent.
To put it mildly, Republicans are not to be trusted with the economy. Every major economic problem in this country for the last century can be traced to the GOP. When the economy tanks, their solution is to do nothing, which always makes the situation worse. They keep proposing the same economic policies they’ve pushed since the 1920s, which have been proven detrimental time and time again. They’re always on about an “unregulated free market,” which would be a recipe for disaster, if it wasn’t pure fantasy. Unregulated free markets are what keep drug kingpins in business.
Why are we forced to listen to these people? Why are they allowed to have a forum that is at least equal to everyone else, and why doesn’t anyone call them on their rhetoric? Journalists, do your job! The next time a Republican tells you that cutting taxes increases revenue, make him show you actual, hard proof of such a thing. Then, use the statistics in this post to prove that Republican is wrong.
The proof that the current Republican Party is incompetent is right in front of you, if you’d bother to look. They’ve been running certain states for years, and touting what a paradise those red states are. According to the narrative, red states are full of moral, peaceful and God-fearing people, while blue states are full of heathenous retches who kill babies and coddle terrorists.
You know, Democrats.
Ever bothered to look at the relative safety, security and economic stability of red states versus blue states? Compare red states with blue states, and you are left with a road map of right wing Republican incompetence.
Note; in the statistics below, I left Washington, DC out of the mix on purpose. It’s not a state, and the city is largely run by Congress. Plus, a large portion of its population for most of the day is transient, which tends to skew per capita figures to a very great degree.
I’ve provided links so you can check my work.
Let’s start this with some basic economics.
Here’s a list of the ten states with the highest median incomes: 1. New Hampshire, 2. Connecticut 3. Maryland 4. New Jersey 5. Alaska 6. Virginia 7. Hawaii 8. Massachusetts, 9. Colorado 10. Washington.
Notice something about the above? Except for Alaska, whose numbers are skewed because of their largely socialized economy, (yes, Caribou Barbie, I said your state is socialist), and the purplish Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire, ALL are bright BLUE.
Just as interesting are the BOTTOM ten states; 50. Mississippi 49. Arkansas 48 West Virginia, 47. Tennessee 46. Kentucky 45. Louisiana, 44. Alabama 43. Montana 42. South Carolina 41. North Carolina.
Notice something about that list? Yeah, Except for West Virginia, which can be a bit purple, all if the above states are reliably RED.
The above statistics have been pretty much static for the last 40 years; the groupings haven’t changed much. And the poverty levels back that up.
The ten states with the highest populations living below the poverty line are: 1. Mississippi, 21.6%, 2. Louisiana, 19.4%, 3. New Mexico, 19.3%, 4. Arkansas, 17.9%, 5. West Virginia, 17.9%, 6. Kentucky, 17.4%, 7. Texas, 16.6%, 8. Alabama, 16.1%, 9. South Carolina, 15.7%, 10. Oklahoma, 15.3%. Yep, Republican-led states have far more poor than Democratic-led states.
Again, I ask; why are these people telling us how to put people to work and increase tax revenue, when they obviously can’t do it themselves? Republicans are running the poorest states in the country, and they won’t be satisfied until they’ve done the same thing for everyone else.
Let’s go beyond economy. There’s a lot more to the story. For example, they’re always posturing themselves as being “tough on crime.” But how tough are they?
The ten states with the highest violent crime rate are, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics for 2006 via the Census Bureau are 1. South Carolina, 2. Tennessee, 3. Nevada, 4. Florida, 5. Louisiana, 6. Alaska, 7. Delaware, 8. Maryland, 9. New Mexico, 10. Michigan.
Yes, you read that right. The states with the highest violent crime rate are mostly RED, not blue. And if we dig down to the top 15, the only blue states added are Illinois and California, which means ten of the 15 states with the highest violent crime rates in the country are reliably Republican. Also note that New York and New Jersey are NOT on that list, and that bastion of liberalism, Massachusetts, is actually near the bottom.
When you focus just on the murder rate, note that, of the 19 states with rates higher than the US average, 14 are RED states. The states with the highest murder rates in 2009 follow the same pattern; 1. Louisiana, 2. New Mexico, 3. Maryland, 4. Tennessee, 5. Alabama 6. Mississippi 7. Missouri 8. South Carolina 9. Michigan 10. Oklahoma. Eight of the ten states are reliably RED, folks.
And they love the gun in those red states, don’t they? They will swear with their dying breath that the gun protects them. But check out the ten states with the highest firearm death rate ; 1. Alaska, 2. Louisiana, 3. Wyoming, 4. Arizona, 5. Nevada, 6. Mississippi, 7. New Mexico, 8. Arkansas, 9. Alabama, 10. Tennessee.
Just for giggles, check out the states with the LOWEST firearm death rate. I’m only pointing this out to make the people in the red states squirm. 50. Hawaii, 49. Massachusetts, 48. Connecticut, 47. New Jersey, 46. New York, 45. Rhode Island, 44 New Hampshire, 43. Minnesota, 42. Maine, 41. Iowa.
Besides the fact that most of them are BLUE states, they put a lie to the claim that states with the strictest gun laws have the most shooting deaths. That’s simply not true. You have a far greater chance of being shot and killed in Caribou Barbie’s Alaska than in New York or New Jersey. It’s that cognitive dissonance, folks; they can’t help themselves.
Perhaps their cognitive dissonance is because of their lack of education. I know you may find it hard to believe, but despite their efforts to force us to run schools their way, they don’t have a very good track record. (I highlighted one you might appreciate.)
Let’s start with the ten states with the highest graduation rates in 2008: %1. Vermont, 86.6% 2. Wisconsin, 85.6% 3. Minnesota, 85.3% 4. New Jersey, 85.2% 5. Iowa, 83.9% 6. South Dakota, 82.7% 7. North Dakota, 81.9 8. New Hampshire, 80.6 9. Pennsylvania, 79.5% 10. Nebraska, 79.5. Again, 7 out of 10 reliably blue. And Wisconsin, which its current Republican Governor is trying to claim is being ripped off by its teachers, has the second best rate.
But check out the bottom ten. (I’d say “just for fun,” but it’s really not funny; these are the people expected to take over the country later.) Again, you can almost guess who most of them are. 50. Nevada 49. South Carolina, 48. Louisiana, 47. Georgia, 46. Florida 45. New Mexico, 44. Mississippi 43. Alabama 42. Texas 41. Delaware.
Okay, so governments run by Republicans tend to be poorer, have more crime and less successful educational systems. That’s okay, because they’re more moral than those damn liberals, right?
They claim to hold marriage so sacred that gays shouldn’t be allowed to partake of it. But how “sanctified” do they hold marriage, really? The ten states with the highest divorce rates are as follows; 1. Nevada, 2. Arkansas, 3. Alaska, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Wyoming, 6. West Virginia, 7. Alabama, 8. Idaho, 9. Florida, 10. Tennessee.
In fairness, Nevada shouldn’t be on the above list, because tacky people from all over the country get divorced there. But all of the others are reliably red, except West Virginia, which is a bit purplish at times.
What about teen pregnancy? Surely, if “abstinence-only” education is the key, their girls must be chaste and virtuous, right? Well, you tell me. Here are the ten states with the highest rates of teen pregnancy; 1. Nevada, 2. Arizona, 3. Mississippi, 4. New Mexico, 5. Texas, 6. Florida, 7. California, 8. Georgia, 9. North Carolina, 10. Arkansas. Once again, except for California, all of these states are pretty reliably red.
What about health care? It’s hard to find a Republican lawmaker who doesn’t want to kill “Obamacare.” While it might seem logical that the states with the most uninsured would be most in favor of creating a national health insurance system, since when are Republicans logical?
By now, I’m sure you can almost guess which states have the HIGHEST number of uninsured citizens in 2006-2007, before health insurance reform. 50. Texas (24.8%) 49. New Mexico (22.7%) 48. Florida (20.7%) 47. Louisiana (20.2%) 46. Mississippi (19.8%) 45. Arizona (19.6%) 44. California (18.5%) 42 (T) Oklahoma and Nevada (18.4%) 41. Arkansas (17.5%).
Now, check out the states with the LOWEST proportion of uninsured:
1. Massachusetts (7.9%) 2. Hawaii (8.2%) 3. Wisconsin (8.5%) 4. Minnesota (8.8%) 5. Maine (9.1%) 6. Connecticut (9.4%) 7. Rhode Island (9.7%) 8. Pennsylvania (9.8%) 9. Iowa (9.9%) 10. Vermont (10.7%)
By the way, the two states with the smallest proportion of uninsured also have something akin to the health care plan being proposed by Congress. Coincidence? And in Massachusetts, the number of uninsured was intolerable to Mitt Romney, which is why he gladly signed Romneycare.
Yes, Willard, you did.
But the greatest sign of Republican incompetence has to do with their hubris in claiming “states’ rights” and “economic independence. They’re always on about “welfare,” they whined about the “stimulus” passed in 2009, and they continue to cry about corporate bailouts, even though they passed most of them long before President Obama came along, and continue to protect them.
Well, the hypocrisy cup runneth over, folks.
Meet the state welfare queens. These are the states that get the most bang for every buck they pay in federal taxes. Next to each state is how much money they get back for every dollar in federal taxes they pay in; 1. New Mexico, $2.03 2. Mississippi, $2.02, 3. Alaska, $1.84, 4. Louisiana, $1.78, 5. West Virginia, $1.76, 6. North Dakota, $1.68, 7. Alabama, $1.66, 8. South Dakota, $1.53, 9. Kentucky, $1.51, 10. Virginia, $1.51.
First off, a case can be made that purple Virginia shouldn’t even be there, because the far northern part is “DC Lite.” But the same could be said of Maryland, and it’s not on that list. Number 11 is Montana, anyway, which is pretty red, so it almost doesn’t matter.
Now, based on Republican logic, the following states should be ones screaming the loudest about those blasted Red State welfare queens. These are the ten states who receive the LEAST federal money; 50. New Jersey, $0.61, 49. Nevada, $0.65, 48. Connecticut, $0.69, 47. New Hampshire, $0.71, 46. Minnesota, $0.72, 45. Illinois, $0.75, 44. Delaware, $0.77, 43. California, $0.78, 42. New York, $0.79, 41. Colorado, $0.81.
Yes, folks, you read that right; Democratic-Party-led states are largely subsidizing Republican-led states. If you live in a red state and you have low taxes, you should be THANKING the people of California, New York and New Jersey and other blue states for being so kind. Next time a Republican complains about California’s fiscal irresponsibility, show them these statistic and tell him to shut up.
Put simply, the current incarnation of the Republican Party consists of hypocrites. But more importantly, their political philosophy is KILLING the country. They have to be purged from the government, which we can’t do if we’re screaming that “both parties are the same,” or some other such nonsense. If you care about this country and the 99%, you’ll set as a priority getting rid of these incompetent people.
That has to be the main objective for progressives for 2012 and beyond; get rid of the right wing, and we can move the country forward. Without doing that, we really can’t.
Read the original article at http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/2012/01/republicanincompetence.html