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February 22, 2005

When Was That?

Kevin Drum imagines an ideological Eden when the parties were clearly defined:

In the past, Democrats were (roughly) the party of big government programs. People liked the programs but didn't like the high taxes that went along with them, so periodically they would revolt and elect a Republican.

Conversely, Republicans were (roughly) the party of fiscal responsibility and low taxes. People liked the low taxes but didn't like the stingy attitude toward government programs that went along with them, so periodically they would revolt and elect a Democrat.

Ummm, Kevin, on whose watch did we start building the interstate highway system? Start serious federal funding for primary and secondary schools, especially on science education as part of the Cold War competition?

A hint...he was a General in WWII and a Republican.

Oh yeah-- and it was John F. Kennedy who cut taxes after the much higher tax levels of the Eisenhower era-- a point Reagan loved to make, if you remember.

The Republicans were always willing to spend money. They just hated spending it on poor people and hated labor unions.

And that hasn't changed much. The 1990s Gingrich-led fundamentalism on the issue of small government was actually the real change, and quickly abandoned when the polls and Clinton's reelection showed it wasn't very popular.

So we're back to the real debate over WHAT to spend money on. Conservatives prefer to spend it on things that mostly benefit the wealthy, while progressives prefer spending it on things that benefit the poor and working families.

And the Republicans don't have to change anything they're doing. They can let the deficit keep rising and let their allies pocket the money spent. And if interest payments rise, so much the better. Who do you think are collecting the interest payments, but their rich corporate allies? Debt is good for the moneylenders, so why shouldn't Republicans love debt as long as they get to decide what the initial borrowed money was spent on?

Posted by Nathan at February 22, 2005 04:47 PM