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GOP Anti-Reality Immersion SuitAs you may know, I spend every Sunday morning enduring watching three back-to-back hours of Sunday political talk shows: “Fox ‘news’ Sunday”, “Meet the Press”, and ABC’s “ThisWeek”. Yesterday’s shows were particularly tough to endure, having to listen to the likes of Karl “CIA name-leaker” Rove lecture Democrat Bill Burton about assigning “motives” or “questioning the integrity of Republicans” for suggesting they are more interested in playing politics than helping the Nation succeed. I kid you not. Then there was “Meet the Press”, where former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gates was served up a bit fat juicy softball straight down the middle of the plate with an opportunity to lay our CURRENT economy at the feet of Republicans, which he then proceeded to bat with a fly-swatter. Rounding out the day, Conservative tool George Will claimed Keynesian Economics (Stimulus spending) had completely failed. His “proof”? Claiming “President Obama has spent nearly $5Trillion dollars since entering office on ‘Stimulus’.” (for reference, the ENTIRE Federal Budget since 2008 has been less than three trillion dollars. Will would have us count ALL spending by the Federal government… including oil subsidies, EVERY government service (teacher/FBI/SEC/Courts/etc) and military pay, not to mention 2-1/2 wars… as ‘stimulus‘ spending… and still come up two trillion short. If the Stimulus “failed”, it is only because we spent less than $200 Billion dollars on actual job creation.)

Fox put up an interesting stat that clearly flew right over their own heads:
 

DOW since Republicans retook the House and added Senate seats
DOW since Republicans took over Congress - 8/21/2011

This was in the midst of trying to claim President Obama’s economic policies were failing. And I’m sure the wild ride on Wall Street since Republicans turned “raising the Debt Ceiling” into a bargaining chip had nothing to do with any of this. That glaring omission went completely unnoticed.

Then, adding insult to injury, next former Obama WH Press Secretary Robert “unrealistic bloggers in their mothers basement” Gates was asked by MtP host Savannah Guthrie about the current state of the economy “despite having huge Democratic majorities Obama’s first two years in office.” Gates starts off great, pointing out the economic turn-around early in Obama’s presidency, going from “minus 6% growth to +3% economic growth” in just his first year. But when it came to pointing out JUST WHO took control of the House and gained seats in the Senate eight months ago, and asking what role that might of had on the “current” bad econoy, Gates instead points to “the earthquake in Japan disrupting the supply chain” and the “economic crisis in Europe” with the bailout of Greece. AAAAAAAAGH! SONUFAB(eep) Robert Gates must have been the only child to strike out playing Tee-Ball.

Now let’s look at someone doing it right: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “leaked” (ie: backed up a dump truck with sirens blaring) classified records of how Oil Futures speculators on Wall Street had driven up the price of oil, driving up the price of gas, which has a direct effect on the economy. I dare say NOTHING has a more direct or more instantaneous negative impact on the economy than oil speculation. I remind you once again that oil was trading below $35/barrel the week before we invaded Iraq, with a possible $75/barrel result considered “catastrophic” (so what did nearly $150/barrel oil under President Bush do to our economy? And despite recent declines, oil is STILL over $80/barrel today.)

This got me thinking about “cheap” or even “cost-free” ways to improve the economy. Republicans… like George Will mentioned above… believe The Stimulus was a total failure, and will NEVER agree to ANY additional spending to save the economy. (Savannah Guthrie on MtP flat-out asked Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels: “How does cutting [corporate] taxes create jobs?” Daniels went on to explain how the government “spends too much” and how “investors worry about our economic future”, but never actually answers the question). So then, how do we create jobs with no money?

One clear way, as Bernie’s document dump made abundantly clear: RE-REGULATE OIL SPECULATION. When the Libyan conflict began in February of this year, oil prices spiked 9% despite the fact Saudi Arabia agreed to increase production to compensate for any shortfall. Bringing back Regulators to Wall Street to stop rampant unwarranted, unjustified speculation in the oil market so they don’t crash the world economy would go a LONG way to helping THE GLOBAL economy recover and cost next to nothing to implement. I don’t think you’ll find widespread opposition to regulating “oil speculators”, though Republicans would (of course) frame it as “Regulating Small Business“.

And naturally, this brings to mind “Ending $4-Billion/year in oil subsidies… an idea that has HUGE bi-partisan support (outside of Washington). Back in June, Republican Senator Jon Kyl came out in DEFENSE of oil subsidies, saying if we don’t give them our money, they’ll take our money (by charging us more). Uh… yeah. Not the strongest of arguments to be sure. But he made it, and not only was he not ashamed, but the rest of the GOP supported his claim. And NO ONE called him out on it. Clearly, the “free market’s” ability to control prices ends when the Marketers are big donors to the GOP. Okay, it may be stupid, but how do we counter the possibility of gas prices rising if subsidies are cut? Use the oil-subsidy money to fund TAX CREDITS for buyers of high mileage cars. Let’s see the GOP come out AGAINST tax credits for consumers… again (remember “Cash for Clunkers”? They laughed, criticized the idea, but all of the Big Three automakers are profitable again, saving or creating more than a million jobs). Restricting the tax credit to “high mileage” cars would REDUCE DEMAND for oil, which would in turn force oil companies to keep gas prices low to continue to attract customers. Add to that spurring “green jobs” in a growth industry, cutting CO2 emissions and helping the environment. All without increasing the Federal Budget one dime. How do you say “No” to that?

Another idea: Place a tariff on all imports equal to that of what other countries charge US. – “Free Trade” Republicans constantly charge that raising taxes on imports “would start a trade war” that “hurts American exporters.” But a lot of countries that we trade with charge US a lot more than we charge THEM. They’ve gotta be laughing their asses off. They charge us but we don’t charge them? How stupid can we be? Sure doesn’t sound to me like THEY are worried about any “trade war”. (Personally, I think we should slap a tariff on anything we import that could be made here to counter the slave wages paid overseas that cost us jobs. Not only would it create jobs here, it would raise the standard of living overseas as the justification for “slave wages” disappears). The net effect of 20 years of this “free trade” nonsense has left us with a HUGE $53-BILLION dollar trade deficit, with American products being undercut by cheap foreign labor. Trade War over what? We don’t make anything any more thanks to their “free trade” insanity. We should charge China at least as much as China charges us on our imports. And trust me, the LAST thing China wants to do is start a “trade war” with it’s largest customer. Not only would this idea not cost us any money, but it would “level the playing field” (a popular meme of “Flat Taxers”), create jobs here at home, AND result in additional tax revenue to fund the government and cut the debt. Up until the Civil War, the entire U.S. economy was funded by import tariffs alone. No personal income taxes. No corporate taxes. Sadly, our needs are too great today to fund the entire $1.2Trillion dollar U.S. economy just with tariffs, but with Conservative fiscal-idiots like Rick Santorum yesterday on Fox calling for a “ZERO percent tax rate on all Corporations that create jobs here at home”… shifting the ENTIRE tax burden onto American workers and the middle-class in exchange for a low-paying job…. the idea of being able to shift a huge chunk of our tax burden overseas MUST have some appeal on the Right. No?

So now I want to hear YOUR ideas (please post them in the comments.) The higher the Cost/Benefit ratio, the better. Keep in mind that “budget neutral” ideas have the best chance of making it through this Congress. Once I get enough ideas, I will close the Comments (so go ahead and post your ideas even if this post gets old) and publish a poll in a future column asking people to vote on the best idea. I’ll then start an online petition and add the top five ideas to our “Petitions” section on the left as well as promote your ideas on other blogs. C’mon folks, I KNOW there are more great ideas out there. So start thinking!


 

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