Monday, August 13, 2012

Conservative Beliefs

I read lots of op-ed pieces and usually read the comments.  I have noticed recurring themes among the remarks of the Conservative  posts and I decided to try to dissect them.   I find that most of them use the same words and are just repeats of the statements they have heard on Fox TV and from liars like Rush Limbaugh.  

I will list the ones that I see most frequently and see if I can properly analyze them.
  • Obama is a Socialist -  This is ludicrous.  Obama has been such a Centrist that he has dismayed his progressive followers.  
  • Spending on all those safety net programs for the poor is bankrupting the country.  - Actually, all of the safety net programs combined such as head start, food stamps, unemployment compensation, etc. total only 12% of the budget.   If you eliminate all of them it will reduce the deficit very little.   
If you eliminate the safety net programs (like Paul Ryan and presumably Mittens Romney) would like to do, you have to look ahead at the consequences of such action.  The poor (usually through no fault of their own) would then have to resort to other means to survive.   The crime wave would obviously go up requiring more government spending.  More people would be forced to live on the streets.  Our reputation as a country would further plummet.   Do we really want our poor to be scavenging in city dumps?   Or poor children going to bed hungry? 

By the way, the one glutton of  government spending is the Industrial/ Military complex.  Most of you know that Eisenhower warned us.   24% of government spending goes to Defense.  Maybe it's time to stop buying those obscenely costly toys that don't work close those bases in Germany and Japan, etc.  The Cold War ended a long time ago.  And please, no more futile un-winnable wars.

If the Ryan budget cuts in education are enacted we would end up by further downgrading our country's progress.  Our graduates could not compete with those of other countries.   Only 3% of the Federal Budget is spent on eduction and we are already behind other countries. Compared to 34 countries we rank 14th in reading, 17th in science, and  shameful 25th in math.  It should not take an Einstein to see the looming disaster for our country if we continue this downward spiral by failing to fully fund a good school system.   The conservative answer to that has always been 'privatize the schools'   With a few exceptions it turns out that isn't working too well, either.  Privatization results in more money for the corporations and less funding per pupil and the results are no better than our public schools.  (Some are even worse because there is no oversight.)
  •  The wealthy shouldn't have to pay any more in taxes.  It's their money and they earned it.  -  Ah yes, the Ayn Rand worshipers.  You did know that Paul Ryan has based his financial beliefs on "Atlas Shrugged", "The Fountainhead" and the other Rand books didn't you?  Ayn is his goddess  - the woman who hated Social Security and Medicare until she started collecting it.   
 Lets look at the belief that the wealthy earned their money all by themselves.   The conservatives had a field day with Obama's statement that no business was developed alone.  Obama was right, of course.   Most businesses started with a government loan.  (Including Bain Capital).   Without good infrastructure industry could not move it's goods.  Without a good labor force, one man would be unable to start and run a business.  Without a government provided education (Romney excepted) how could the business man have the know-how to become successful?  And on and on.
  •  Government is the problem (thank you, R. Regan for that really inaccurate and misleading statement).  -  Again, this is patently nonsense.  Without government we would have anarchy.  Without government we would have no courts, no transportation, no safe water to drink or safe food to eat, etc., etc.  Of course what he and the wealthy elite really mean by this is that they only want government money to be spent on their priorities and forget the rest of us.   They have no problem taking government loans or other government subsidiess that aid their interests.
  • Obamacare must be repealed.   I won't go into the many reasons why repealing it would be a disaster.  The problem I have with the conservative view is that the alternative is so much worse that it makes me furious when I read or hear such statements and I cannot coherently  talk or write about it.   The next statement is part of why I get so angry.
  • We need to privatize (Pick a program).   And how has that worked for everyone except Wall Street?   Look at our dysfunctional health care system where we spend more than any other country and get poorer results due to privatization.  The bloated pharmaceutical and health insurance industries have steadily increased the cost of health care until the government and it's citizens can no longer afford it.  Our current system is costing the government 22% of our budget and thousands are uninsured.

The reason for the high cost and poor results is twofold.   A private (for profit) system is in business for one reason only and that's to make money.  So when you privatize everything (think how much it will cost to mail a letter if they privatize the postal service) it is logical that it has to cost more  with poorer results.   After all, the stockholders must be kept happy.

The second way that our health care system is so bad is that it's a fractured one with different standards and care from one state and insurance company to another.  There is no consistency in the system.   This holds true for any private service. 

Our health care, highways, postal service, education system, communication are things that government can, and should, supply with less cost and better service.
  • The Rich are job creators.  This one really sucks.   Yes, they create jobs in India, Indonesia, China, etc.   They only time they create jobs here is when there is a demand.  This is the simple fact behind the stimulus.  Without customers consumers the big corporations are investing their money instead of expanding and how does this create a single job?   Since the big Corporations have more money now than they have ever had, where are the jobs?
  • Government oversight, regulations and rules stifle business -  While I imagine there are some regulations that might be unnecessary the bulk of them are for the protection of the public.   We  don't have to look very far to see the results of the Clinton administration repealing the Glass/Steagall act.  If it had not been repealed the banks could not have gotten us in the financial mess our country is in.  Corporations must not be allowed to run roughshod over the 99% the way they did in the 1920's.  (A Republican administration then, too.)
If there is a conservative reading this I would like his/her answers to why, in spite of history, they still believe in the economic policies of  the Republican administrations that have gone before?  None have had a balanced budget. Even Ronald Reagan had to raise taxes in spite of his Irish blather that he would not do so.

It really boggles my mind when I wonder why the average Republican can't see what works and what doesn't by learning from from the past.   Why they continue to repeat the same ideological economic ideas  in spite of the evidence that their policies have repeatedly failed is puzzling.  They keep on using the same tactics and hope for different results.  

And why the average Republicans always vote against their own best interest is a mystery.


Anne said...

There's no way to reason with those people. We just need to get people who have the ability to think to get to the polls and vote.

Darlene said...

*Anne - If every Democrat who can drive would go to the areas in their town where the 'soon to be disenfranchised' live and take the people to get the identification the Republicans are shamefully requiring and then take them to vote Nov. 11 we would make an impact. Easy for me to say because I no longer drive and am unable to do so, but if I were younger I would volunteer.

Anonymous said...

Ms Rand was a great writer. Philospher? Not so much. Pragmatist? Not much. Stupid? No.
Cop Car

Darlene said...

*Cop Car - No, no one could call her stupid. I was one of those young people who liked her books and didn't give much thought to the politics involved. I just thought they were entertaining. She has certainly created a cult of greed with her novels and she was a hypocrite.

Hattie said...

You are doing a great job here of clarifying all the points against Romney/Ryan and their ridiculous economic plans.
I think they are counting on white resentment of blacks, Latinos and immigrants to put them over the top.

Darlene said...

*Hattie - I think you have it about right. There will probably be some war mongering trying to make us afraid of Iran so they can call themselves the ones who will keep us safe. That usually works.

Joared said...

You've done a great job of refuting all those talking points the candidates use and the falsehoods put out by some blathering talking heads.

I, too, was intrigued to read Rand's books -- The Art of Selfishness is one. Then read a book by one of her inner group (which also included our U.S. financial genius Greenspan,) for-a-time highly esteemed psychologist, Nathaniel Branden and another book by his wife. Of course, the movie from her book was prominent. Atlas Shrugged II is to be released in Oct. -- how about that this election year!

Yes, we had the big blustering once before and it turned into the Iraq war.

Darlene said...

*Joared - "Atlas Shrugged" is on the best seller list I understand. Just get the TV talking heads to mention it and it people go ballistic over it. That's good marketing strategy, but bad for all the next generation of teenagers who will be swayed by her books. There should be a disclaimer that in real life the government made the RR's possible.

Leslie Parsley said...

"Rand's novels were grandiose, turgid amorality tales that appealed to me briefly as a college freshman in 1966 and, shortly thereafter, struck me as...sophomoric. Now, they strike me as the polar evil of the Stalinism that Rand escaped."

Darlene said...

*Leslie Parsley - Her novels were based on justifying greed and the ideology she unleashed is truly frightening. I wish that the colleges would take her books off their library shelves. Too many impressionable minds have been swayed by her deceptive philosophy. You grew up and thought for yourself. Paul Ryan did not.