The Collegian
Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Some 'Ole payback for the Grand 'Ole Party

Richmond '11

In the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the conservative base has had the same old knee-jerk reaction as years past: outdated and just plain wrong. John McCain said last week on the stump, in more or less words, "... the quickest way to turn a recession into a depression is by raising taxes." It's time that the republicans grow out of their Reagan-esque image of the world.

First of all, Barack Obama will not raise taxes on 95 PERCENT OF ALL AMERICANS. John McCain and the average Bill O'Reily follower who regurgitates talking points he likes to argue, "Barack Obama will raise your taxes." Well, no matter how many times you lie, it's not going to be true, but the sad part is that some Americans start to believe this nonsense.

Well I'm here to say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. The American people are tired of these gutter politics.

Has anyone else noticed how much race has crept up in the past weeks? Every news channel, especially Fox News, is posing the question: "Is America ready for a black president?" At McCain rallies people are yelling out "terrorist" and "kill him" when Obama is referenced. Granted, McCain did confront a supporter hinting at this garbage a few day's ago, but it's clear he's doing the bare minimum to prevent this election from getting dirty, and ultimately doing very little to keep this country from becoming bitterly divided. Do we want our next president to embrace erratic, child-like and capricious leadership tactics?

Barack Obama has never made this race about race, but many republicans and surrogates of John McCain are eager to turn back the page to a sad time in our history. This election is not about Barack "Hussein" Obama nor John McCain, but who has the best paradigm for the future.

It's time the republicans own up and admit that their immature policies of the Reagan years are finally coming to their pathetic fruition. The idea that taxing the top 3 percent of income-earners, who by the way have control of 90 percent of the wealth (a modest estimate), is going to somehow lead to the sky falling is simply a outdated talking point of the white-backlash era of the 1980s. During that time, these fiscally irresponsible policies let our cities deteriorate, it embraced the exponential separation between the rich and poor and it ultimately lead to the current crisis on Wall Street. For a party that is fond of fiscal responsibility, who was the last president to leave office with a budget surplus?!? The average CEO makes 150 times more than his worker. Fifty years ago that number was just 35.

The Reagan administration cut welfare, health-care and educational-enhancement programs by 3 percent by 1984. At the same time, the poverty rate went up by 3 percent.

As Mark S. Hamm writes, "Reaganism had made conditions worse for the dispossessed and disenfranchised and exceedingly better for the wealthy. As such, big money had replaced participatory politics as the critical element of American democracy." In other words, supply-side economics and conservatism of the Reagan era can be blamed for the widespread power of corporate interests in current-day politics- which reflects the buddy-buddy relationship republicans have with big business - and their reluctance to tax corporations.

It's time that we get our house in order. We can't let CEOs make record profits while "Joe six-pack" is laid-off. It's time the republicans and the rich stop their selfishness, and pay their taxes. Because of the de-regulation on Wall Street that the republicans have embraced since the 80s, the average American is footed with an 800 billion dollar bill while the CEOs of Fannie-Mae gets a $200 million check.

America has never defaulted on a foreign loan, but if the Chinese lose their confidence in us, this recession will turn into a depression. We can't fund a multi-trillion dollar war and an $800 billion bailout plan for Wall Street by giving the elite tax breaks, unless we want to keep taking loans out from China. In a globalized economy, the rich aren't creating jobs for the poor, they're just getting richer. It's about time we stop accommodating our economy based on the leisure of the rich and start looking out for the little guy. Democrat or republican, this country is on the brink of devastation and reverting back to the glory days of Ronald Reagan isn't helping anyone.

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Let's just face it; the conservative economic ideology of the past 30 years has been fundamentally flawed. You can run from your past, but you can't hide from the future.

There may be a desire by many to turn this post into a "us" vs. "they" or rich versus poor type argument. But by no means is this a class issue - but rather a critique of the selfish and greedy pursuit of wealth. I would like this country to leave the days of exploitative capitalism behind, and embrace the benefits of innovative capitalism - capitalism which rewards hard workers and not swindlers.

Contact writer Dan Colosimo at dan.colosimo@richmond.edu

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