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National Debt and the 2 Santa Clauses

June 13, 2013

In 1964, after the unprecedented landslide which deprived Barry Goldwater of the Presidency, Jude Winniski hatched a strategy to regain power for the GOP and its business sponsors.  Democrats since the New Deal had been able to play Santa Claus by luring voters with various government benefits, Social Security, Medicare, the GI Bill, etc.  Republicans found themselves in the losing position of trying to take back these popular programs.

Winniski proposed that the GOP also play Santa Claus.  Under the rubric of “supply side economics,” the GOP would now spend like Democrats and outbid them by simultaneously lowering taxes.  This marketing coup gained 2 terms and sainthood for Ronald Reagan.  Voters have forgotten that Reagan actually raised taxes for most people while lowering them for corporations and their rich owners.  Reaganomics, denounced as “voodoo economics” by the elder Bush but mostly continued by him for political reasons, produced an unprecedented deficit.     

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin convinced him that taxes must be raised and spending lowered to fight the deficit.  This Clinton did, finishing his 2nd term with a huge surplus, but suffering politically with a GOP take-over of Congress in 1995, and with impeachment in 1998-1999.   

Geo. W. Bush took office in 2001.  His 2 terms continued the cut-tax-and-spend policy of Jude Winniski.  2 wars, a Medicare gift to the pharmaceutical industry, and tax cuts for the rich at 1929 levels left an unprecedented deficit.  Deregulation of the banking industry led to a global recession, if not depression.   

This was the situation which Barack Obama inherited in 2009.  The nominal majorities which Democrats had in both houses of Congress were weakened by ConservaDems, principally Senators Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman.  Obama also failed to deliver the change he promised by including Wall Street insiders like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner in his administration and by playing nice with the Republicans, who were dedicated to his destruction.  The result was Obama’s misunderstood and weak health reform and underfunded and underestimated economic stimulus. 

Obama’s failures in his first term, the flood of corporate money freed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and the Tea Party, birthed by corporate money and fed by racism, as well as by genuine distress over the recession, gave the GOP control of the House of Representatives in 2011.  This has made it almost impossible for Obama to do anything positive. Most notably, the U.S. credit rating fell for the first time in history because the GOP House of Representatives refused to raise the debt ceiling.  It remains to be seen if Obama will be replaced by outsourcer and job killer Willard Romney. 

So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  In fact, thanks to Jude Winniski, there are 2. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bretton Blodgett permalink
    January 20, 2013 11:04 pm


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