Calling Out The Conservatives On Their Crap
By: Mark W Adams

Finally someone besides Krugman makes the simple, plain English argument that the last two decades of GOP spin about tax policy is utter bullshit. Hard as it is to believe, there it is on the OpEd pages of the Washington Post, Sebastian Mallaby says,
Lowering taxes was terrifically pro-growth in Ronald Reagan's time, when the top income tax rate was slashed from 70 percent in 1980 to 50 percent in 1982, significantly changing incentives for work and risk-taking. But with the top rate at 35 percent today, a modest shift in either direction makes less difference. Given the yawning budget deficit and the coming demographic crunch, tax cuts aren't affordable anyway.

The same goes for deregulation. Getting the nanny government out of trucking and airlines yielded huge benefits in the 1970s and 1980s. But the "price-and-entry" regulations that used to cosset such industries have long since gone, and remaining regulation is harder to demonize. We are left with government rules to protect the environment, check the safety of medicines and prevent systemic financial crises. These rules are generally helpful. There's nothing "pro-growth" about bashing them.

The same is approximately true for trade.
Look, even if you feel that Ronald Reagan was divinely inspired, his policies were not commandments, his approach was not gospel. For over two decades the conservatives (and I count centrist Clinonomics in this) have taken what amounted to a correction in tax/regulation/trade policies and enshrined them as economic dogma, relentlessly calling for less, less, less as the well connected stole more, more, more.

In the last eight years, the Bushies have exploited the system for their personal benefit in ways that even Reagan would have found criminally intolerable (and unworthy of pardon), squeezing every last penny from the nearly extinct middle class as they pushed the envelope from responsible economic stewardship to a fascist/feudal hybrid of disaster capitalism.

Mallaby gets it exactly right. Obama is no economic messiah any more than Reagan was a saint. While the nation as a whole, and in particular the Democratic Party is proven it's more than ready for a black or female president -- it is not ready (and sadly may never be) amenable to a true fire-breathing progressive holding the reigns of power. If it were, Dennis Kucinich would not have been treated like a joke and along with Chris Dodd (who also stayed on the Michigan ballot) would have prevented Hillary from claiming a win out of that fake primary; and John Edwards would be interviewing prospective running mates right now.

But it is indisputable that Barack Obama represents a step in the right direction while John McCain insists on fighting battles long since won, and proposing the same tired schemes that we've done to death for decades.