Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm sick of Republicans.

Writing a blog can be feast or famine.

Sometimes, ideas gush to the surface like geoducks on the first day of clam season; others, the barren desert that is my cranial cavity swirls with the tumbleweeds of cluelessness.

Today began as the latter. I awoke, thinking, okay, I guess that's it—I'm tapped out. I've squeezed the final drop of blood from my literary turnip; I've eaten the last cookie from the bag of "Thoughts Ahoy." Yet alas, no sooner had I arrived at my local gym and mounted the elliptical trainer, than I was inspired yet again.

NBC's Today Show was playing on my personal screen, the one meant to distract me from my perilously anaerobic physical condition. The topic for the opening fifteen minutes of the show was the state of the American economy and the general public's disapproval with President Obama's stewardship during its current downturn. The polls and pundits expounded about how the planets are aligning for a landslide Republican congressional takeover in November.

I'm an American. I love this place and I try not to take it for granted. But come on, folks, we can be so damned fickle. I realize we live in an age of instant gratification, where a pizza joint which serves cardboard covered in tomato sauce and cheese prospers, simply because it can answer our craving in thirty minutes or less. We want results...now.

People, how long has the President been in office? I'll answer that—twenty months. Twenty months ago, Barrack Obama and a Democratically controlled Congress inherited the worst fiscal and financial crisis since the Great Depression. We stared down the barrel of a massive federal deficit, a healthcare crisis in which thirty million Americans were uninsured and two unpopular wars.

Oh yeah, we also had a bait-switch scam known as Wall Street. I'm not going to paint one party as Dudley Doright and the other as Snidely Whiplash, here, but let's look at the deregulation fiasco as one of the major culprits to our economic demise. Ronald Reagan began the groundswell of laissez faire economic policy through a litany of legislation, wiping out many of the safeguards put in place after the stock market crash of 1929. The savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s merely foreshadowed a new era of highly leveraged, risky behavior by our formerly stodgy financial institutions.

Republican presidents and congresses established policies which resulted in the two largest financial scandals since the 1930s—the aforementioned "junk bond" fiasco and the "sub-prime" crisis, which began with the Republican controlled Congress in 1998.

Our current President has sought to stimulate our economy through numerous measures including the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (or TARP), aimed at eliminating "toxic" assets from our financial markets. He has pushed through an economic stimulus package, which, according to Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, is short of what is truly needed to get us back on our feet, yet has staved off another full-blown Depression.

With a crumbling national infrastructure and nearly ten percent unemployment, the prevailing Republican talking point is the same ol' same ol': cut taxes and count on the old "trickle down" theory to create new jobs out of increased corporate profits. Right. Corporations are not benevolent organizations. Profits trickle across to shareholders, not down to employees.

After World War II, our federal government instituted the G.I. Bill to pay for veterans' higher education. The result was a thriving American middle class which enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, yet which has eroded with each passing decade. We need to stop being so very short-sighted and let these new programs take effect. Public works, healthcare and education can and will work if fully funded, but it seems that America's new Tea Party movement brands as socialism the same type movement that the greatest generation employed sixty years ago. Ironic.

The Republican party learned an important lesson from their matriarch, Nancy Reagan—just say no. No to improved infrastructure. No to healthcare for all. No to campaign finance reform. I'm willing to listen to any new proposals from the right, but all I've heard is warmed over retreads of George W. Bush's failed efforts. In other words, a whole lot of nothing.

It's time for America to wait more than thirty minutes for its pizza.

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