Feel The News, August 20, 2012

Paul Ryan has denounced President Obama’s stimulus as “a wasteful spending spree” and “failed neo-Keynesian experiment.”

But when unemployment was 2.4 percent less than it is today, he argued that aggressive stimulus would be a necessary and effective antidote.

Paul Ryan voted for every budget-buster that Bush wanted, and his actual policy proposals would increase the deficit by around $2.6 trillion.

But it’s OK if you’re a Republican. In fact, people will call you a “deficit hawk.”

There have been ten cases of voter impersonation (the kind of fraud that voter-ID laws seek to prevent) in the last decade. Out of 146 million registered voters.

In other words, voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections and has not affected the outcome of any recent election in the United States.

But somehow 81% of Americans believe it is a problem, with 43% saying it is a major problem. And it bothers them more (49%) than the potential for denying eligible voters the right to vote (44%).

I wonder who has managed to convince a majority of Americans that a non-existent problem must be dealt with even if it means disenfranchising voters.

And finally, a “big picture” view on how Republicans campaign:

In broad strokes, the issue is that Americans want more government than they are willing to pay for, but they have been shielded from this truth over the years for the sake of political expediency.

The only thing as unpopular as reducing those benefits is paying taxes to fund them.

So over the past several decades the Republicans have skillfully played this dynamic to their favor with a simple formula: Advocate tax cuts at all times, make noise about wasteful spending and cut small items with limited appeal (or appeal only to the unpowerful), and never touch (and in fact add to) spending on popular big-ticket items like defense and entitlements.

Oh and, of course, obscure all this with constant, distracting, engagement in the culture wars. The fruits of this strategy, unsurprisingly, are record low taxes, increasing spending, and exploding debt.

The GOP establishment is, for the most part, still trying to play from its standard playbook which is to sell tax cuts, keep talk of spending cuts vague, and count on voters to assume none of the cuts would really affect them, just the “undeserving.” Even when confronted with specific GOP policy proposals many voters simply dismiss out of hand that a politician would actually do any of that.

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About jjambon

I play piano and sing in the French Quarter. Life is good.

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