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THIS is Why I Will Never Vote for a Republican

Andrew Leonard wrote a must-read piece for his column at Salon.com about the efforts of Right-wing propagandists, enabled in this case by the Wall Street Journal, to rewrite history to their liking by pushing the idea that Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal was a colossal failure. The latest Right-wing talking point about the New Deal is that it failed to reduce unemployment. Economists Harold L. Cole and Lee. E. Ohanian wrote in Monday's WSJ that, "the goal of the New Deal was to get Americans back to work. But the New Deal didn't restore employment. In fact, there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office."

Cole and Ohanian seem to think that government programs that were designed, in part, specifically to put people to work, simply didn't. How did they arrive at this astounding conclusion? It's simple, really, if one follows the lead that radical Right-wing propagandist Amity Shlaes spelled out in a WSJ article last year; just don't count as employed anyone working "temporary jobs in emergency programs" such as the jobs provided by the New Deal. (Shlaes has a new book out called "The Forgotten Man" with the subtitle "A New History of the Great Depression" – now if that doesn't scream revisionism, what does?) There are millions of people who worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and other programs who might argue that they did indeed have jobs - jobs that allowed them to do things like eat.

This is all too true to Republican form: When the data doesn't tell you what you want to believe, simply change the data. This is exactly the kind of "thinking" that had us hunting for nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq despite the lack of any credible supporting evidence. This is the "thinking" that drives Global Warming denial. Instead of reviewing information and determining an appropriate position on a given matter, Right-wingers begin with a desired position and then tweak "evidence" to support the pre-determined position.

There is plenty of perfectly legitimate debate to be had surrounding the current economic meltdown and what, if anything, should be done about it. But I cannot take Republicans seriously if they are going to begin the debate with a position that they simply assume is correct or one that is built upon incomplete or faulty information, especially if said information is incomplete or faulty by design.

Other than dumb luck, how can these people expect any of their ideas to actually work?



That's one thing I don't really understand. Obama was elected (essentially) on an economic platform. Why is anyone even paying attention to what the GOP people are saying, and more importantly, why is anyone actually taking their ideas to heart? Their NO votes and apparent opposition to anything that isn't Social Darwinism should tell everyone that they have no fucking clue what they're talking about.

Did you guys happen to see why they said no?


Not that I'm defending them, but look at some of this stuff and then please tell me how some of this will "stimulate" the economy. This is what they are arguing about.

I think ANYTHING is up for debate. When you are told your whole life that the New Deal worked, then someone comes up with an alternative view on it, I certainly think its worth a debate. Its important to hear ALL points of view, isn't it?

This goes for global warming as well. If we are going to throw trillions of dollars at a problem, we better damn well make sure it IS a problem. Not when you have millions of people struggling to live in Africa and with an economy in the shitter. While we're at it let's scare the crap out of our children everyday that we're all gonna die.

Just out of curiosity have you ever read the other side of the global warming argument? I mean, not off some Republican hack site. I mean legitimate scientific arguments on global warming?

And another question - if Republicans were the ones pushing the Global Warming scare on people - would you question it?

Hi, Tim,

The link you provided describes a litany of specific items that the GOP appears to oppose spending money on. (Note the tax break for Hollywood - This must be the first tax break in history that the GOP is opposed to; is that simply because the GOP thinks Hollywood is a bunch of liberals?) Frankly, I think this is exactly the stuff that should be debated and there are legitimate arguments pro and con for each item on the list. Republicans, clearly, don't think America's infrastructure is worth (much of) an investment since it will cost the taxpayers some money. No word on what it will cost us if we DON'T make these improvements, but such an argument would run counter to the politically expedient "Don't give your money to Obama" line (as if Obama himself somehow received the money).

However, this has nothing to do with conservatives' efforts to rewrite history to their liking by tweaking the data to fit their model, as seems to be the current GOP modus operandi.

The bottom line is that the New Deal put people to work and achieved some infrastructure needs that many of us have come to take for granted. There is no doubt that sooner or later, had Roosevelt not acted, things would have stabilized, but what the hell were people supposed to do in the meantime? I have never heard a conservative explain how somebody is supposed to feed a family without any money.

For most of the last decade, we have given generous tax breaks to the wealthiest people and to corporations while praying at the altar of deregulation, and here we are in a fine mess. The tax-cut-as-stimulus argument might have made more sense in the days before free trade agreements, since the tax-cut-inspired reinvestment actually used to happen here at home - now that reinvestment is in Communist China, thereby forcing American labor to compete directly with China's peasant class.

I heard an interesting argument the other day suggesting that one of the problems is extravagant CEO pay. Basically, CEO's make so much money now in just a few years, that they have no real incentive to effectively lead their companies, thus the threats of business failure that drive innovation and competition no longer apply. If you make $75 million over 5 years, what the hell do you care if your company goes down? You've already got more money than you'll ever really need.

As for the other side of the GW argument; there are a couple of camps: 1) outright deniers - "It's all just a liberal government ploy to steal your tax dollars!" 2) Acceptance that GW is real, but it is the work of trick sun spots or natural cycles, etc. Argument #2 here has some validity in that the Earth does indeed endure varios phenomena that impacts weather and climate and history clearly shows that. Bearing in mind that I am not a scientist, I will readily cede that natrual phenomena might well be at work to some degree vis-a-vis today's GW trends.

However, it is also undeniable that CO2 is a contributor to GW. (To a degree, this is a good thing, otherwise it would get mighty cold at night... We want SOME greenhouse effect.) Thus, it stands to reason that if we increase levels of CO2 in the atmosphere primarily by burning fossil fuels and at the same time we engage in deforestation for whatever purposes, thereby nullifying the ability of plants to moderate CO2 levels via photosythesis, we will have rising CO2 levels, which will enhance the greenhouse effect, which will drive GW. I have never heard a credible argument to refute this. It's simple arithmetic.

Regarding your question in your next post as to whether I would accept GW if it was presented by the GOP: Absolutely, if the GOP made a convincing argument based on peer-reviewed scientific research.

To me, the issue isn't whether GW is real, the question is what do we realistically do about it?

My problem with the whole conservative approach to problem solving (if we can call it that), is that they tend to choose a corse of (in)action designed to satisfy some ideological goal and then they like to cherry-pick evidence to customize supporting arguments. This often plays well with voters who have limited understandings of the issues at hand (not necessarily because they're stupid, but because the average joe doesn't have time to hash all of this stuff out). For political purposes, it is very easy to say, "Don't wast your precious tax dollars on doing what some pointy-headed elitist tells you to." Oddly you never hear a conservative talk about what it might costs us if we DON'T spend some money now to address the problem - it might be far more costly down the road - but, politically, that's a tougher sell.

Okay, gotta get back to work now. I appreciate your thoughtful comments, Tim.

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