Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Republican Dystopia

I've been thinking a lot lately about what our country would look like if Republicans got what they wanted. I'm not talking about them forcing government shut downs or a default on the national debt which is what they are threatening if they don't get what they want. Rather I'm thinking about what the consequences would be if they actually got their wishes fulfilled. Granted, not all Republicans agree with the dominant faction within their party on each issue but I think we can have a pretty good idea of where they would take the country if we assume that for each faction the usual suspects will drive the GOP's policy.

Foreign Policy: Our foreign policy in the Middle East would continue to be based on military conflict with "terrorists" and unconditional military support of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and a slew of less important but more violent regimes. We would put ground troops in Libya to overthrow Qaddafi even while openly speculating about the Al Qaeda connections of the rebels. Would this mean that Republicans envision a 10 year nation building project in Libya along the lines of what they attempted in Iraq and Afghanistan? My impression is that a Republican policy in the rapidly changing Middle East would be confused and directionless - but violently so.

Taxes: Taxes on corporations and higher income individuals would be lowered. Taxes on inheritances would eliminated altogether. To the extent that the government needed to raise revenue to pay for "necessary" things like constant warfare in the Middle East and subsidies for big oil and big agriculture, they would institute a national sales tax.

Health Care: The so-called Obama Care would be repealed and replaced with a privatization/defunding of Medicare and Medicaid. Even if we take the Ryan plan as it is spun by the Republicans, it includes at it's core a voucher system for health care costs to replace public financing of health care under those plans. But the voucher's values are supposed to be indexed to inflation and health care costs are rising considerably faster than inflation. So the plan has built within it a gradual defunding of public health care support for the elderly and poor.

Education: The Republicans are really hostile to public higher education. They're not thrilled about public primary and secondary education either. The attacks on public education by Republican governors like Walker in Wisconsin and others are well known. In a Republican America, public school teachers would earn wages and benefits similar to, if not worse than, the average worker regardless of skill level and far below the wages typical of college graduates. All this while public funding for public universities was cut so much that college graduates would have to be either from wealthy families willing to pay the high fees/tuition or incur enormous student debts (which would be entirely provided by private banks at unsubsidized interest rates). Who would take a job as a teacher under such conditions? Certainly not the best and brightest?

The world the Republicans envision is not what they say it is. They would have us believe that they offer a return to some nostalgic post-WWII, pre-Vietnam golden age (a Boomertopia if you will). But what they really offer is much more like the 1890s (but with more wars) than the 1950s. I find it hard to believe that more than a small minority of Americans actually wants to live in this kind of world. But the Republicans have become masters of speaking to emotions while obscuring the consequences of their policies.


USWest said...

In addition to what you say, I can add a few things:

Life expectancy of the elderly would drop dramatically as health care becomes more and more unaffordable. Childhood diseases would also rise and we'd see a return of such illness as polio and tuberculosis.

More and more mentally ill would be released onto the streets. This would result in rising crime rates as these people are arrested and placed in already over-crowded jails. The rise in crime would result in calls for more police and more police powers. And there would be more calls to weaken gun control laws because everyone would need to protect themselves.

Our individual liberties would be eroded faster and faster. Women would be crossing the border seeking abortions and those who couldn't afford the procedures or travel would be forced to give birth, or to induce their own abortions. Then they too would be added to the prison population for murder. Their children would be left unadopted because rich people just don't adopt kids and no one else would be able to afford them.
I see visions of Charles Dickens.

Of course, we'd have to import labor from other countries because many Americans would be too sick or handicapped to work. or we'd be too few. The middle class would cease to exist and those who were still literate enough to find jobs would emigrate overseas. We would see the rise of American Guest workers!

Our natural resources would be exhausted. They would drill the hell out our national wildlife reserves, through gallons of pesticides on the food supply, issue national IDs and prevent anyone on a no fly list from challenging their status. There would be next to no investment in renewable resources. We'd be held hostage by oil producing nations.

I could go on. But I think it is a very bleak future if these guys get what they want. They may end up with armed revolution. That's what the French did.

But then again, their disinvestment in education and health is already showing. People are falling for this crap.

Republicans want Ayn Rand capitalism. They aren't interested in raising all boats.

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