Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Extreme Politics...

I'm a bit perplexed by this article by Mark Thoma: Extreme Politics Will Make US the Biggest Loser.  I don't really disagree, and a lot of the Republican side is so self-evident that only the clueless or willfully stupid (who probably won't be reading it anyway) would not already be aware.  I'm perplexed by his final hearkening for a time that never really was, and that really shouldn't be--people have differences in opinion and politics reflects that: but today only Republicans fight for theirs--but even more so by his description of a major difference between the parties with the Democrats thinking:
...an activist government is necessary to keep markets functioning, and to smooth economic fluctuations. Without government oversight, markets would be captured by monopoly power, consumers would be at the mercy of unscrupulous producers, there would be distortions from adverse selection, information asymmetries, moral hazard problems, and so on. In addition, if government does not take action when a recession hits, the downturn will be much worse and much longer than necessary.
Now, I know a lot of Democratic voters are of such a mind, it's pretty clear that most of the truly left leaning pundit class thinks that way, and there do seem to be a handful of  politicians that would agree, but Obama's been in office since 2008, and for the first two years had large majorities in the House and Senate and we didn't get anything like that.  I know, the Senate is a clusterfuck of a governing body, and no matter how much in their heart of hearts they may have secretly wanted those things, there was no chance of them happening. 

But they didn't really try, there were no bills that came to the floor that matched the above description of Democrats, that were then watered down by the legislative process into weak tea.  All the bills started out as watered down, pathetically weak compromise bills that may as well have been written by Republicans...then they got worse.  This was true of health care, financial regulation/reform, immigration and energy legislation (which got so bad as to not exist!).

So, while, yes, Republicans are bat-shit insane, no, there really is no stark policy contrast.  The Democratic party hasn't really done much to deal with any of the issues raised, and seems more afraid each year to even mention them.  The Obama campaign sort of goes after Romney's record with Bain, and Corey Booker and Bill-Fucking-Clinton step out in defense of those misunderstood, and improperly maligned financial wizards who destroyed our fucking economy and have not had their lives altered in any meaningful fucking way!

Infrastructure spending?  Like the tiny fraction of the now spent stimulus that Dems showed no willingness to go back to?

Climate change (global warming), or at least the energy initiative?  Maybe Obama's policy to drill for more fossil fuels than W did?  Or how about the GOP cap and trade plan that never got passed because of the GOP obstruction?

For a party that supposedly believes in these things they are really fucking shitty at actually doing anything related to them.

So really, if the GOP wins big this November, don't expect any meaningful change...even for the worse.  There was a time when I thought that it might wake up the remaining Dems and get them to fight back, but then 2008 came and gave them a win, and they went full in for Republican policies and talking points as well as bipartisan fetishism.  Fuck em.

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