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When President Obama suggested Monday that private gain does not always equal the public good and maximizing shareholder value is not necessarily a qualification for the White House, Mitt Romney branded those self-evident truths "attacks on the free enterprise system."

But if Romney's experience at Bain Capital was the story of the day, the candidates' dueling visions of capitalism is the meme of the week.  On Sunday, E.J. Dionne framed the election as "a choice of capitalisms," in which "we are trying to decide what kind of capitalism we want."  Meanwhile, his conservative Washington Post colleague Robert Samuelson warned "the role of American capitalism is on trial":

American capitalism is on trial. When Americans vote in November, they will unavoidably choose between these competing visions of capitalism. One would try to improve capitalism by controlling it more. The other would aim for faster economic growth by removing government obstacles. It's a fateful debate.
Fateful and, it turns out, incredibly one-sided.

As the historical record shows, from economic growth and job creation to stock market performance and just about every other indicator of the health of the U.S. capitalism, the modern U.S. economy has almost always done better under Democratic presidents. Despite GOP mythology to the contrary, America generally gained more jobs and grew faster when taxes were higher (even much higher) and income inequality lower. And while the U.S. recovery from the Bush recession has been painfully slow, most economists - including the nonpartisan CBO and some of John McCain's own 2008 advisers - believe President Obama saved the American free-enterprise system from the abyss.

Here's why the economic contest between Democrats and Republicans is no contest at all. (Click a link below for the details on each.)

Job Creation and Economic Growth

When President Obama declared in December that decades of Republican trickle-down economics "never worked," conservatives were predictably apoplectic. Instead, they should have been ashamed.

To be sure, George W. Bush provided the perfect bookend to era of modern Republican economic management ushered by Herbert Hoover. The verdict on President Bush's reign of ruin was pronounced even before Barack Obama took the oath of office.  Just days after the Washington Post documented that George W. Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the New York Times on January 24, 2009 featured an analysis ("Economic Setbacks That Define the Bush Years") comparing presidential performance going back to Eisenhower. As the Times showed, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, was a historic failure when it came to expanding GDP, producing jobs and fueling stock market growth.

On January 9, 2009, the Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal summed it up with an article titled simply, "Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record." (The Journal's interactive table quantifies his staggering failure relative to every post-World War II president.) The meager one million jobs created under President Bush didn't merely pale in comparison to the 23 million produced during Bill Clinton's tenure. In September 2009, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee charted Bush's job creation disaster, the worst since Hoover:

That dismal performance prompted David Leonhardt of the New York Times to ask last fall, "Why should we believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will provide a big lift to growth?" His answer was unambiguous:

Those tax cuts passed in 2001 amid big promises about what they would do for the economy. What followed? The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Amazingly, that statement is true even if you forget about the Great Recession and simply look at 2001-7...

Is there good evidence the tax cuts persuaded more people to join the work force (because they would be able to keep more of their income)? Not really. The labor-force participation rate fell in the years after 2001 and has never again approached its record in the year 2000.

Is there evidence that the tax cuts led to a lot of entrepreneurship and innovation? Again, no. The rate at which start-up businesses created jobs fell during the past decade.

The data are clear: lower taxes for America's so called job-creators don't mean either faster economic growth or more jobs for Americans.

It's no wonder Leonhardt followed his first question with another.  "I mean this as a serious question, not a rhetorical one," he asked, "Given this history, why should we believe that the Bush tax cuts were pro-growth?"  Or as Mark Shields asked and answered last April:

"Do tax cuts help 'job creators' or 'robber barons'?"
But as the Washington Post and the New York Times suggested, Bush's dismal performance was hardly the exception to the rule.  In general, the American economy simply does better when a Democrat sits in the White House.  Apparently, America's job creators can create a lot more jobs when their taxes are higher - even much higher - than they are today.

Two weeks ago, Bloomberg News similarly confirmed that private sector jobs increase more with Democrats in the White House.  (Ironically, this is the first recession in 40 years in which the total federal, state and local government workforce contracted.)  As Bloomberg explained:

Since Democrat John F. Kennedy took office in January 1961, non-government payrolls in the U.S. swelled by almost 42 million jobs under Democrats, compared with 24 million for Republican presidents, according to Labor Department figures...Democrats hold the edge though they occupied the Oval Office for 23 years since Kennedy's inauguration, compared with 28 for the Republicans.

As it turns out, control of Congress matters as well.  As the Washington Post reported earlier this month, a recent JP Morgan study found that the American economy grew fastest when Democrats in charge of both 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill:

The Stock Market

For the investor class so fond of perpetuating the myth of Republicans' superior economic stewardship, the collapse of the stock marketing during the Bush recession must be particularly galling.  The Standard & Poor's 500 spiraled down at annual rate of 5.6% during Bush's time in the Oval Office, a disaster even worse than Richard Nixon's abysmal 4.0% yearly decline.  (Only Herbert Hoover's cataclysmic 31% plunge makes Bush look good in comparison.)

As it turns out, as the New York Times also showed in October 2008, the Democratic Party "has been better for American pocketbooks and capitalism as a whole."  To make its case, the New York Times asked readers to imagine having put their money where its mouth is.  Contrary to Republican mythology, Americans fare better - much, much better - under Democratic administrations:

As of Friday, a $10,000 investment in the S.& P. stock market index would have grown to $11,733 if invested under Republican presidents only, although that would be $51,211 if we exclude Herbert Hoover's presidency during the Great Depression. Invested under Democratic presidents only, $10,000 would have grown to $300,671 at a compound rate of 8.9 percent over nearly 40 years.
(For the eye-popping chart of the S&P's performance under each of the presidents from Hoover through Bush 43, visit here.)

As the broader record shows, the best path to prosperity is to elect Democratic presidents.

There's no shortage of studies to show that stock market returns are higher under Democratic leadership. As Slate in 2002 and the New York Times in 2003 found, "It's not even close. The stock market does far better under Democrats." And asBloomberg News documented in February, Barack Obama has been no exception:

Income Inequality

While the GOP's "job creators" didn't create any jobs after the top rate was trimmed to 35 percent and capital gains and dividends taxes were slashed under President Bush, they did enjoy an unprecedented windfall courtesy of the United States Treasury.

For Republicans, this predictable result of the Bush tax cuts was a feature, not a bug.

As the Center for American Progress noted in 2004, "for the majority of Americans, the tax cuts meant very little," adding, "By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration's latest tax cuts."

But that's just the beginning of the story. As the CAP also reported, the Bush tax cuts delivered a third of their total benefits to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. And to be sure, their payday was staggering. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that millionaires on average pocketed almost $129,000 from the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. As a result, millionaires saw their after-tax incomes rise by 6.2%, while the gain for those earning between $40,000 and $50,000 was paltry 2.2%.

And as the New York Times uncovered in 2006, the 2003 Bush dividend and capital gains tax cuts offered almost nothing to taxpayers earning below $100,000 a year. Instead, those windfalls reduced taxes "on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000." As the Times explained in a shocking chart: "The top 2 percent of taxpayers, those making more than $200,000, received more than 70% of the increased tax savings from those cuts in investment income."

And as the Washington Post recently explained, for the very richest Americans the successive capital gains tax cuts from Presidents Clinton (to 20 percent) and Bush (to 15 percent) have been "better than any Christmas gift":

While it's true that many middle-class Americans own stocks or bonds, they tend to stash them in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, where the capital gains rate does not apply. By contrast, the richest Americans reap huge benefits. Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.
This convenient chart tells the tale:

It's no wonder that between 2001 and 2007- a period during which poverty was rising and average household income had fallen - the 400 richest taxpayers saw their incomes double to an average of $345 million even as their effective tax rate was virtually halved.  As the Washington Post noted, "The 400 richest taxpayers in 2008 counted 60 percent of their income in the form of capital gains and 8 percent from salary and wages. The rest of the country reported 5 percent in capital gains and 72 percent in salary."

(It's worth noting that the changing landscape of loopholes, deductions and credits, especially after the 1986 tax reform signed by President Reagan, makes apples-to-apples comparisons of marginal tax rates over time very difficult. For more background, see the CBO data on effective tax rates by income quintile.)

If you had any lingering doubts about Warren Buffett's admission that "it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning," this pair of charts from the New York Times should put them to rest. As the upper-income tax burden fell, income inequality in the U.S. exploded.

As the Washington Post demonstrated in its jaw-dropping series "Breaking Away," plummeting tax rates overall and on capital gains in particular have been widening the chasm between the rich and everyone else in America:

National Debt

The Republican tax cut windfall for the wealthy didn't merely produce the lowest total federal burden in 60 years and the highest income inequality in 80.  GOP trickle down policies also drained the United States Treasury.

In case Americans had forgotten that Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt and George W. Bush doubled it, the New York Times presented this helpful reminder:

Leave aside for the moment that small government icon Ronald Reagan signed 17 debt ceiling increases into law.  (That might explain why the Gipper repeatedly demanded Congress boost his borrowing authority and called the oceans of red ink he bequeathed to America his greatest regret.)  As it turns out, Republican majorities voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling under President Bush and the current GOP leadership team voted a combined 19 times to bump the debt limit $4 trillion during his tenure.  (That vote tally included a "clean" debt ceiling increase in 2004, backed by 98 current House Republicans and 31 sitting GOP Senators.)

Of course, they had to.  After all, the two unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the budget-busting Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 (the first war-time tax cut in modern U.S. history) and the Medicare prescription drug program drained the U.S. Treasury.  Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor voted for all of it.

Again, in words and pictures, the New York Times tells the tale:

As the Washington Post summed up the CBO's conclusions regarding the causes of the nation's mounting debt earlier this year, "The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts." The analysis by the Times echoed that finding:

With President Obama and Republican leaders calling for cutting the budget by trillions over the next 10 years, it is worth asking how we got here -- from healthy surpluses at the end of the Clinton era, and the promise of future surpluses, to nine straight years of deficits, including the $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2010. The answer is largely the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions.
But as Ezra Klein explained in the Washington Post, the revealing Times chart doesn't tell the full story of the impact of Bush-era policies on future debt facing Barack Obama:
What's also important, but not evident, on this chart is that Obama's major expenses were temporary -- the stimulus is over now -- while Bush's were, effectively, recurring. The Bush tax cuts didn't just lower revenue for 10 years. It's clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost. Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years. And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them.
These two graphs from the Washington Post and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities make that point crystal clear.  Analyses by CBPP showed that the Bush tax cuts accounted for half of the deficits during his tenure, and if made permanent, over the next decade would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, TARP and the stimulus - combined.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was telling the truth when he described Republican fiscal mismanagement during the Bush years by acknowledging, "It was standard practice not to pay for things."

As Paul Krugman documented, the jump in federal spending as a percentage of GDP under President Obama is almost completely explained by the contraction of the economy and the stimulus programs now ending.  (Republicans always take great to care to avoid mentioning that the total federal tax burden as a percentage of the U.S. economy is at its lowest level in 60 years even as income inequality is at its highest in 80.)  As Krugman summed it up:

Now, pointing out the Obama spending binge is a myth generally produces rage: people know that it happened, because Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal say so. But that doesn't make it true.
Put another way, when it comes to the American balance sheet, Republicans broke it.  Now, they claim, Democrats own it.

The Bush Recession and the Obama Recovery

Despite Republican mythmaking that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) "created zero jobs," the CBO reported in November that the stimulus added up to 2.4 million jobs and boosted GDP by as much as 1.9 points in the past quarter. As it turns out, that conclusion confirms the consensus of most economists - including John McCain's 2008 brain trust- that President Obama's recovery program is continuing to deliver benefits for the American people.

From the beginning, the CBO has testified to the success of the largely concluded 2009 stimulus package in driving employment and economic growth. Now, as The Hill reported, the CBO has found that "President Obama's 2009 stimulus package continues to benefit the struggling economy":

The agency said the measure raised gross domestic product by between 0.3 and 1.9 percent in the third quarter of 2011, which ended Sept. 30. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that GDP in that quarter was only 2 percent total.

CBO said that the stimulus also lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.2 and 1.3 percentage points and increased the number of people employed by between 0.4 million and 2.4 million...

By CBO's numbers, the $800 billion stimulus added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011.

But to really gauge the success of the stimulus, it's worth taking a second look at just how dire the U.S. economic situation was when the Obama administration made its fateful prediction that unemployment would peak at 8 percent.  As The Economist and the Washington Post's Ezra Klein detailed, in early 2009 the American economy was not only in much worse shape than anyone imagined; it was literally on the brink of collapse.  As The Economist explained the run-up to the passage of the $787 billion recovery program:

The White House looked at the economic situation, sized up Congress, and took its shot. Unfortunately, the situation was far more dire than anyone in the administration or in Congress supposed.

Output in the third and fourth quarters fell by 3.7% and 8.9%, respectively, not at 0.5% and 3.8% as believed at the time. Employment was also falling much faster than estimated. Some 820,000 jobs were lost in January, rather than the 598,000 then reported. In the three months prior to the passage of stimulus, the economy cut loose 2.2m workers, not 1.8m. In January, total employment was already 1m workers below the level shown in the official data.

Klein points out that "wasn't until this year that the actual number was revealed" for Q4 2008 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  As The Economist lamented, the Obama administration was "flying blind."

Whether the White House should have known the unemployment picture was going to be much, much worse (as Joseph Stiglitz and Jared Bernstein argued) or that the stimulus package itself was too small and too laden with tax breaks (as Paul Krugman warned at the time), there is little question that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act worked largely as designed.  And you don't have to take the CBO's word for it.  You can just ask some of John McCain's advisers.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the CBO and chief economic adviser to John McCain during the 2008 election, acknowledged the impact of the stimulus.  Certainly no fan of either Barack Obama or the design of the ARRA, Holtz-Eakin told Ezra Klein that:

"The argument that the stimulus had zero impact and we shouldn't have done it is intellectually dishonest or wrong. If you throw a trillion dollars at the economy it has an impact, and we needed to do something."
Mark Zandi, another adviser to McCain, was much more adamant.  Federal intervention, he and Princeton economist Alan Blinder argued in August 2010, literally saved the United States from a second Great Depression.  In "How the Great Recession Was Brought to an End," Blinder and Zandi's models confirmed the impact of the Obama recovery program and concluded that "laissez faire was not an option":
The effects of the fiscal stimulus alone appear very substantial, raising 2010 real GDP by about 3.4%, holding the unemployment rate about 1½ percentage points lower, and adding almost 2.7 million jobs to U.S. payrolls. These estimates of the fiscal impact are broadly consistent with those made by the CBO and the Obama administration.
But their modeling also suggests that the totality of federal efforts to rescue the banking system dating back to the fall of 2008 prevented a catastrophic collapse:
We find that its effects on real GDP, jobs, and inflation are huge, and probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2.0. For example, we estimate that, without the government's response, GDP in 2010 would be about 11.5% lower, payroll employment would be less by some 8½ million jobs, and the nation would now be experiencing deflation.
While the U.S. economy is now experiencing slow but steady growth and job gains, the effects of the stimulus are winding down.  Worse still, the draconian budget-cutting by state and local governments which have already cost 600,000 workers their jobs could rightly be deemed the "anti-stimulus." (Ironically, the public sector grew dramatically under Obama's Republican predecessor, with 900,000 government jobs added during Bush's tenure.)  As Paul Krugman described the new report from the Congressional Budget Office:
What it tells us is that the US federal government has been practicing destructive fiscal austerity since the middle of 2010 (and that's not even talking about what's happening at the state and local level). Here's the average of CBO's high and low estimates of the impact of the ARRA on the level (not the rate of growth) of GDP by quarter:


And you wonder why the economy isn't recovering strongly?
Looking Ahead

Now, the would-be Second MBA President Mitt Romney would make the situation worse with an economic prescription even more poisonous than the one administered George W. Bush.  Romney would deliver a massive tax cut windfall for the rich, paying for it by gutting the social safety net each pretends to protect. He would end Medicare as we know it with a premium support gambit that would dramatically shift health care costs to America's seniors. While increasing defense spending, the GOP White House hopeful would repeal the Affordable Care and leave at least 30 million people without insurance. And despite his pledge to end many tax loopholes and deductions to fund their gilded-class giveaway, Mitt Romney doesn't have the courage to say which ones. As a result, Mitt "Cut, Cap and Balance" Romney would actually add trillions more in red ink to the national debt.

In a major address offering his own economic vision in Osawatomie, Kansas last December, President Obama summed up the performance of the Republican trickle down economic theory in practice. As he explained and as the images above attest, the picture of GOP economic orthodoxy is not a pretty one:

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt's time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let's respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. "The market will take care of everything," they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn't trickle down, well, that's the price of liberty.

Now, it's a simple theory. And we have to admit, it's one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That's in America's DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here's the problem: It doesn't work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the '50s and '60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it's not as if we haven't tried this theory.

As Obama suggested, you don't have to go all the way back to the time of Teddy Roosevelt for proof of the failure of the GOP's coddling of the gilded class: George W. Bush was proof enough.  Or as Harry Truman explained in words that are as true to today as when he uttered them over 60 years ago, "if you want to live like a Republican vote Democratic."

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Tue May 22, 2012 at 11:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a good article and well written (17+ / 0-)

    I would like to just add that in the history of the US we have never relied on the free market to drive economic growth. The Bank of the United States, Henry Clay's American plan and the building of canals and roads were undertaken by the government prior to the Civil War and the building of the transcontinental railroad.

    Only a fringe of the conservative movement actually believes in a free market. In a free market there is no government involvement at all. No subsides for ball parks or oil exploration, No special carve outs or exemptions in the tax code. And no corporate welfare.

    I am at heart a democratic socialist who believes the government needs to take a significant role in the economy for the benefit of all, most especially the poor and the sick and the young. And I do not pay any lip service to capitalism. But for Mitt Romney to act as if he really believes in the free market is completely laughable. Without government subsides not only is he broke but his father would be broke too.

  •  All True But Now How to Get the Point of It to Be (12+ / 0-)

    received by a majority of mainstream voters?

    There's more information in this one diary than has probably been delivered to the mainstream electorate in all the Presidential races since 1900 combined.

    There isn't any combination of venues or media to place more than maybe around 10% of it, about 2 1/2 screens, where it would arrive into the awareness a majority of voters. Of course it's invaluable to have at fingertips and websites and such for reference by small number of voters who come looking for detail when they hear a claim.

    The conclusion is a very, very simple one. Surely there's ways to package that conclusion and maybe a handful of other words mentioning a few big measures, that's sound byte-able and bumper sticker-able.

    A good 30 second infectious video ought to be feasible too.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue May 22, 2012 at 11:52:34 AM PDT

    •  video? (6+ / 0-)

      How about "If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic" then a quick montage of the various charts above with the words, increases under Democrats, decreases under Republican (as appropriate, or vice versa if appropriate) with a website where this stuff is located for those who are curious.

      Attention spans are very short, so a quick flash of (a couple of seconds) will draw more curiosity than letting people actually read the charts (as interesting as they are).

      A friend tried to tell me that everyone was better off with a Republican president, but obviously he was pulling that info out of some orifice or other.

      I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

      by woolibaar on Tue May 22, 2012 at 02:15:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  agreed. I see a problem with the future tense (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Artandscience, DeminNewJ, Wolf10

      though not in this post, which is utterly convincing to anyone open to convincing by facts (and therefore no good to use on Republicans except to print it out, roll it up, and hit them on the nose when they misbehave).
      Leonhart's question, "Why should we believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will provide a big lift to growth?" is badly formed. The answer is in the diary, in the history, and everywhere one looks. It is a past tense situation. Veiling that stark reality with future tenses and question marks invites the back-and-forth bullshit that turns off otherwise inquisitive people, and gives teabaggers et al the talking points they need to hide behind.
      The habitual use of the future tense when discussing the total failure of right wing economic policy is a weasel-wording cop out. Just because Romney is not president (yet-shudder) does not make it necessary or advisable for pundits or earnest reporters to evoke the future tense when examining his statements.
      Everything Romney is threatening to do if elected has already been tried, and has failed. Expensively.

      Trickle down has been a failure all three times it has been inflicted on America (for over 99% of us, of course, not the puppeteers). Tax cuts do and have done little besides bleed the treasury and redistribute wealth upwards, and have created excuses for ideologically justified cuts to good, useful programs that help all of us (100%; even the puppeteers benefit from salad with less salmonella).
      Any reduction of this to short video clips or bumperstickers needs to focus on the abysmal track record of RW policies themselves even more than the economic record of (D) presidents vs (R) presidents. Tribes don't vote against their tribal elders, and we can't expect anything more nuanced than "But Obama's a socialamalist, not a democrat!1!", thus immunizing the shouter and all sympathetic people in earshot from all the carefully laid out evidence above. It needs to send the following message in many flavors;

      We've done this before, and it was a bad idea.
      Time to stop.
       

      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

      by kamarvt on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:51:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the problem with the argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yaque

    that "the economy has been better under Democratic Presidents" is that the average Republican will point out that the recent Democratic Presidents had a Republican majority Congress and that the House controls the purse and Senate writes the bills, and therefore all credit/blame really falls on who was in Congress at the time of said President.

    Only when a Democrat is an incumbent do they ignore their own rebuttals.

    •  they even blame Reagan's spending (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, yaque, Wolf10, splashy

      on the Dems who were in Congress under Reagan and the 08 market crash on the Dems who regained control of the House and Senate between 06 - 08.

       Remember when they tried to credit papa Bush's iraq 'war economy' for Clinton's prosperity?

      You just can't win with Republicans... it's a waste of time trying to lure them outside of their bubble.

    •  Chart on Control of Congress... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy

      ...in the diary above shows that economic growth was fastest when the Democrats controlled the White House and Congress.

  •  The whole point of capitalism (11+ / 0-)

    is that the capitalists are incharge, and nobody else ever really gets any say except by organizing forces that directly contest the power of the capitalists.    And you just don't see that anymore, thus the collapse of the 20th century synthesis that was built on such challenges.  The 21st century social crisis is preeminently a result of the fact that capital is now the ONLY social force active in politics and civil society, the rest of us nothing but chaff to be blown hither and yon by the turbulent tailwinds of capital's exhaust.  Regardless of how politicians wish to present it, in the end, since there is no mass organized opposition to the unimpeded rule of capital, the rule of capital will be unimpeded.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Tue May 22, 2012 at 10:13:29 PM PDT

  •  Blind visionaries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, DeminNewJ, Wolf10

    While pundits pontificate about capitalism on trial in the court of politics--which is to say, the different flavors of capitalism that Americans will choose from in the coming election--capitalism has been on trial in the rather more important court of physical reality, and been found guilty of unsustainability.

    Sooner or later, the question will be whether we kill ourselves trying to maintain growth, or learn how to live without it. For the moment, neither party is acknowledging that choice. Until  'growth' stops being an object of economic worship, the system will maintain its suicidal trajectory.  

  •  Fantastic summary... (0+ / 0-)

    I fear that all this information will only be accepted by those who believe in facts. There is nothing sensationalist or juicy in here that will gather the attention of our ADD society. We can (and still must) argue these points until we are blue in the face, but the meme has already been played out and decided upon by the powers to be. "Republicans = capitalists, Democrats = socialists"

    No matter how many facts, figures, or charts are shown to the republican voter, their mind will refuse to grasp it because it threatens their personal world view. Some independents might curiously thumb over these statistics, but 35% of the country will block it out entirely.

    "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." -Goethe

    by sprint1745 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:25:56 AM PDT

  •  Romney's worldview was foretold... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10

    Curtiss: "What are you going to do about it? Your political machines and your offices are in the hands of peanut-politicians and grafters who are looking for what's coming to them. If you want anything, you have to pay them for it, just the same as in any other business. You face the same situation every hour—'Pay or quit.'"

    Montague: "Have you ever thought what such things will lead to?"

    Curtiss: "I don't know. I've had a fancy that some day the business men of the country will have to go into politics and run it on business lines."

    Montague: "That sounds simple. But doesn't it mean the overthrow of Republican institutions?"

    Curtiss: "I am afraid it would, but what's to be done?"

    There was no answer.

    Upton Sinclair -- The Moneychangers -- (1908)

    A rather prescient description of American politics. Things never change...

    "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." -Goethe

    by sprint1745 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:28:48 AM PDT

  •  The choice is between (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10

    "Would you play Monopoly with the Rules,Yes or No "? or "Would you play Monopoly without the Rules,Yes or No".

  •  Here is the short version: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10

    Crack Dealers are Capitalists Too.

    and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring that the child who had trembled at a rod would never dare to look upon a sword.

    by ban48 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 05:16:42 AM PDT

  •  What the hell, AA? Do you ever sleep? ;) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mojo workin, Wolf10

    You just keep turning out these very detailed, very full diaries. I do wonder whether they serve double-duty somehow, or whether you're just doing them for DKos. I'm impressed and grateful, in any case.

  •  The rooster also thinks the sun comes up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10

    because he crows.

    I paid for MY silver spoon.

    by SpamNunn on Wed May 23, 2012 at 06:48:33 AM PDT

  •  Incredible Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10, splashy

    Tipped ad Recced for all the Hard Work.

    I Just wish my Wingnut Teabagger "Friends" were
    Interested in Reading something besides Comic Books.

    If We put some Pictures of Half Naked Women, a Few
    Monster Trucks and a Bunch of Guns on the Cover We
    Might Get Them to Read It. Maybe. For one or two
    Seconds At Least.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:30:22 AM PDT

  •  Wow that is a lot of charts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10, splashy

    most of which I have seen before on Dkos, but having them all in one place is helpful, thanks!

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:44:32 AM PDT

  •  Tax cuts have 1 purpose and 1 purpose only (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, mojo workin, Wolf10

    to elect or re-elect Republicans, they serve no other purpose, period.

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Wed May 23, 2012 at 10:46:01 AM PDT

  •  Sadly, Republican brain immune to fact & logic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, mojo workin, Wolf10, splashy
  •  Hooray for Romney. The Occupy movement (0+ / 0-)

    raised this issue but Romney is giving it legs in a way that no other candidate could.

    This is a watershed moment in U.S. political discourse. Hopefully, policy will follow.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Wed May 23, 2012 at 12:22:51 PM PDT

  •  Lots of great charts (0+ / 0-)

    And graphs showing the truth.

    To boil it down to one sentence: The wealthy are usually very miserly, holding on to their money, so they will starve the economy of its life blood, money, and bring it down if allowed to.

    They are money addicted, and really can't see how it all works, and that they are parasites on the economy. Anything that gets them more is what they want, even if the host - the rest of us that actually create things - dies in the process.

    Women create the entire labor force. Think about it.

    by splashy on Wed May 23, 2012 at 01:27:45 PM PDT

  •  The use of buzz words gets us nowhere. (0+ / 0-)

    What is wrong with this "two versions of capitalism" idea is that when you look more closely the economic system we have is neither.  Words like "plutocracy" come to mind but it too has lost meaning as this global system makes national identity less and less important.  The United States is less and less the place where the future of the system will play out.  It is global and multinational corporations that can escape much of whatever we try to do to curb the system's  greed.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Wed May 23, 2012 at 02:59:32 PM PDT

  •  Thanks AA. You always give me good ammunition. (0+ / 0-)

    Bookmarking.

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