I have with me a hard copy of a collection of Republican quotes predicting doom and disaster in the wake of the 1993 Clinton economic stimulus plan, and much of the rhetoric is eerily similar to today's. Of course, that should come as no surprise, since the point of the compilation was in fact to point out that the 1993 rhetoric -- particularly on health care, which was still a live proposition at that time -- was itself eerily similar to Republican doom and disaster rhetoric during the debate on the original Social Security and Medicare legislation.
I figure this is what I've been saving this crazy thing for, after all these years. So I'm just going to type them all up here for your enjoyment. And I sincerely hope that they retain their entertainment value forever, and in particular that we all get to laugh -- not nervous tittering, but really have a carefree laugh -- at this exercise very, very soon.
Some of these quotes are better ammunition than others. I think the blunt predictions of utter disaster from the Republicans in 1993 are pretty damning for the most part.
Others, I'm not so sure haven't still got a grain of truth to them, somewhere, particularly with respect to Medicare. I think many of the concerns were more than overstated, but they're not all quite as crazy-sounding as, say, some of the quotes on Social Security, insisting that it would be the end of a free America. Except Reagan's of course. He went there.
One other thing you'll notice about the 1993 quotes is how many of the Republicans responsible for them are no longer in power, most of them long, long gone. The prosperity created by the Clinton program far outlasted them, which is as it should be.
Finally, I can't vouch directly for the sourcing, formatting or editing. I'm reproducing these quotes as near to the format in which I got them as I can, with the exception of having put the name of the speaker above the blockquotes, in the current blogging style, as opposed to beneath them as was done in the document.
On the 1993 deficit reduction package:
Rep. Robert Michel (R-IL), Los Angeles Times, 5/28/93:
They will remember who let loose this deadly virus into our economic bloodstream.
Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), GOP Press Conference, House TV Gallery, 8/5/93:
I believe this will lead to a recession next year. This is the Democrat machine's recession, and each one of them will be held personally accountable.
Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), 8/5/93:
Do you know what? This is your package. We will come back here next year and try to help you when this puts the economy in the gutter...
Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), CNN, 7/28/93:
This plan will not work. If it was to work, then I'd have to become a Democrat...
Rep. Robert Dornan (R-CA), 8/5/93:
The problem with our economy is that there is too little employment and too little growth. This plan will do nothing to improve that condition and will actually make it worse.
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA), 5/27/93:
This is really the Dr. Kevorkian plan for our economy.
Rep. Thomas Ewing (R-IL), 8/5/93:
...This bill is a disaster waiting to happen.
Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN), 3/17/93:
...will stifle economic growth, destroy jobs, reduce revenues, and increase the deficit.
Rep. Phil Crane (R-IL), 3/18/93:
...a recipe for economic and fiscal disaster.
Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), CNN, 7/28/93:
...We have a stagnant economy and there is nothing down the road that makes it look like we're going to have the kind of economic growth that puts people to work.
Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), CNN, 8/2/93:
The impact on job creation is going to be devastating, and the American young people in particular will suffer a fairly substantial deferment of their lives because there simply won't be jobs for the next two to three years to go around to our young graduates across the country.
Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), 5/27/93:
...your economic program is a job killer.
On interest rates:
Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), 8/5/93:
The economy will sputter along. Dreams will be put off and all this for the hollow promise of deficit reduction and magical theories of lower interest rates. Like so many of the President's past promises, deficit reduction will be another cruel hoax.
Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), 8/4/93:
The simple fact is that the Clinton plan will not lower interest rates. It will not lower inflation. It will not create jobs. And it will no lower the deficit. The Clinton tax plan will spur inflation, lose jobs, increase the deficit, and hurt our economic growth.
Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH), 5/27/93:
The votes we will take today will not be soon forgotten by the American voter. [They] will lead to more taxes, higher inflation, and slower economic growth.
On the deficit:
Rep. John Kasich (R-OH), GOP News Conference, Senate Gallery, 8/3/93:
Come next year... we're going to find out whether we have higher deficits, we're going to find out whether we have a slower economy, we're going to find out what's going to happen to interest rates, and it's our bet that this is a job killer.
Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), CNN, 8/2/93:
Clearly this is a job killer in the short run. The revenues forecast for this budget will not materialize; the costs of this budget will be greater than what is forecast. The deficit will be worse, and it is not a good omen for the American economy.
Rep. Jim Bunning (R-KY), 8/5/93:
It will not cut the deficit. It will not create jobs. And it will not cut spending.
Rep. Dick Armey, CNN, 2/18/93:
I will tell you, this program will not give you deficit reduction. It will be a disaster for the performance of the economy.
Rep. Clifford Stearns (R-FL), 3/17/93:
...It will be the kind of impact that this country can't absorb. It will slow economic growth, contribute to the massive federal deficit....
Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO), 8/4/93:
...It will raise your taxes, increase the deficit, and kill over one million jobs.
The 1965 Medicare and 1935 Social Security fearmongering is below the fold.
Rep. Durward Hall (R-MO), 4/8/65:
...we cannot stand idly by now, as the Nation is urged to embark on an ill-conceived adventure in government medicine, the end of which no one can see, and from which the patient is certain to be the ultimate sufferer.
Rep. James Utt (R-CA):
We are going on the assumption that this is not socialized medicine. Let me tell you here and now it is socialized medicine.
Rep. Robert Michel (R-IL), 4/8/65:
...I, for one... will be one of those voting for the motion to substitute the Republican proposal and if that fails, to vote against the bill on final passage, and hope that it helps to draw attention to the horrendous tax burden that is going to be thrust upon every American and every future generation.
Rep. Tim Lee Carter (R-KY), 4/65:
As one of the last country doctors... I ask my colleagues to vote to recommit... a bill which will within a few years cruelly overburden the Social Security System and the young workers with growing families, who will be forced to pay higher Social Security taxes.
Sen. Milward Simpson (R-WY), 7/8/65:
This program could destroy private initiative for our aged to protect themselves with insurance against the cost of illness.
Presently, over 60 percent of our older citizens purchase hospital and medical insurance without Government assistance. This private effort would cease if Government benefits were given to all our older citizens.
Sen. Thruston B. Morton (R-KY), 7/65:
I have always maintained that if a program is to be successful, it must... be voluntary... based on need and must not be financed through a payroll tax.
Sen. Leverett Saltonstall (R-MA), 5/65:
... I personally believe that a voluntary plan financed from general revenues... is preferable to the Medicare program.
Quotes from the Report of the Ways and Means Committee on the Social Security Amendments of 1965. Separate Views of the Republicans.
From op cit., additional separate views of the Honorable Joel T. Broyhill (R-VA):
If the hospitals are prevented from charging the customary rates to the patients over age 65, hospital costs for patients under age 65 will have to be increased in order to make up the difference. In order to reduce its losses, when the patients under age 65 can no longer bear such increases, the hospital will be forced to curtail the quality of its service.
... Medicare would initiate what would ultimately become a Federal monopoly in regard to the financing and rendering of health care with respect to our aged to the detriment of endeavors of the private sector; this would impair the quality of health care, retard the advancement of medical science, and displace private insurance.
Individual views of Senate Finance Committee Republicans, Senators Williams, Bennett, Curtis, Morton, 6/65:
We must oppose any legislation which would derive its financing from a compulsory tax on the first dollars of wages earned by the nation's working men and women to pay the hospital and other medical bills.... Such legislation produces an unequitable and unjustified tax burden on gross earnings of wage earners.
Ronald Reagan taped anti-Medicare message saying:
"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism has been by way of medicine." He urged his listeners to write to Congress opposing Medicare and warned, "If you don't do this, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was like in American when men were free."
This spot was paid for by AMA and AMPAC, and played at Operation Coffee Cup coffees put on by doctors' wives.
Raymond E. King, Jr., National Association of Life Underwriters, 5/65:
[The Medicare bill would] set up a health care program which served little or no necessary social purpose and which owuld be a direct, unwarranted and completely unfair intrusion in private enterprise.
Dr. Clifford H. Keene, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, 5/65:
...permit citizens a choice of prepaid medical coverage under our type of plan or any other voluntary health insurance plan.
Dr. Donovan Ward, President, American Medical Association, 5/65:
...the result of such programs in other countries had been over utilization of facilities and rising costs, and that as emphasis shifted from quality to cost, as it must under a publicly financed program, a deterioration in the quality of care is inescapable.
Paul D. Hill, International Association of Health Underwriters, 5/65:
[There is] no demonstrable need for the program and the costs of the program are not fully known and when they are realized will be so high tha they will be intolerable to wage earners of the country.
On Social Security:
Rep. John Taber (R-NY), 4/19/35:
Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers and to prevent any possibility of the employers providing work for the people.
Rep. Daniel Reed (R-NY), 1935:
The lash of the dictator will be felt and 25 million free American citizens will for the first time submit themselves to a fingerprint test.
Rep. James W. Wadsworth (R-NY), 1935:
This bill opens the door and invites the entrance into the political field of a power so vast, so powerful as to threaten the integrity of our institutions and to pull the pillars of the temple down upon the heads of our descendants.