Obama, Democrats playing into Republicans' hands
By DON SMITH
Bellevue Reporter Contributor
February 26, 2010 · Updated 5:08 PM
John Carlson's recent op-ed piece, "Why people don't trust government," overlooks an essential point: conservatives have arranged for government to fail.
By the end of the Bush Administration, the nation was on the brink of disaster. The GOP had turned Clinton's multi-billion dollar surpluses into record red ink. Reckless deregulation, war-mongering, and corruption led to the subprime crash and the worst recession in 70 years. Thanks to expensive government bailouts - initiated by President Bush - the nation avoided a full-fledged depression.
The Republicans nevertheless may win. The recession decimated tax revenues, leading to unemployment and devastating deficits both nationally and in the states. There is no choice but to cut government services - just what the Republicans wanted!
Their plan to drown government in a bathtub of debt and mistrust is almost complete. Having intentionally bankrupted, mismanaged and corrupted government, conservatives benefit when government performs poorly and serves special interests, for then people view the government as part of the problem - which it needn't be. Scandinavian countries have high taxation, universal health care and the highest standards of living and well-being in the world.
Carlson criticizes plans to exempt union members from a 40 percent tax on high-end insurance plans.
How odd to hear a conservative opposing tax breaks. Why was there no such opposition during the Reagan and Bush years, when rich folks got hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks, despite multi-trillion dollar government debt and our outrageously unequal distribution of wealth?
Carlson engages in populist rhetoric. He says, "Tukwila used the threat of eminent domain to force the owners of a car wash and a parking lot to sell to private developers to 'maximize opportunity for private enterprise'" and "The Rail and the Main Street Pub, were forced to close to make room for upscale development about three years ago "
So Republicans are now marketing themselves as populist saviors of the middle class, willing to protect hard-working Americans from the evils of taxation and government.
Don't believe it!
Republicans have consistently opposed regulations on banks, Wall Street and polluters and have been friends of insurance companies, the super-rich and groups such as the BIAW.
Unfortunately, President Obama has done little to discourage conservative rhetoric. He has foolishly tried to be "bipartisan" with Republicans. He failed to hold Bush Administration officials responsible for their many misdeeds. Obama's naive idealism led to the loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat to a teabagger.
Secondly, and despite conservative accusations that Obama is socialist, Obama has been centrist to a fault: he's surrounded himself with military and economic advisers held-over from the Bush Administration. His bailouts and the escalation in Afghanistan are continuation of Bush's policies. Under pressure from Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, and due to his lack of leadership, Obama's health care reform bill is largely a gift to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Until Obama and Democrats nationwide turn decisively against conservative rhetoric and policies, the people will continue to get the short end of the stick.
Donald A. Smith is Democratic Precinct Committee Officer in the 41st Legislative District. He lives in Bellevue.