For over 40 years Republicans have tried to stick to the concept of billionaires and big companies first. This was sold to the country by the conservative film star Ronald Reagan and became known as Reaganomics. The idea—completely flawed—was that if we lower taxes on already rich people, they will turn right around and make sure everyone else is well off and taken care of. In a word, it was bullshit.
The other mantra of the Reagan “revolution” was getting government and their oppressive regulations “off the backs” of business. That hasn’t worked out too well either. In response to the Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969, then President Nixon caused the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency—one of his very few beneficial legacies. Fifty-one years later, with the EPA being “gotten off the back” of businesses with its “oppressive” regulations, the Cuyahoga River again caught fire in August of 2020.
Republicans aren’t alone in making the mistake of “helping business” with regulatory problems. Bill Clinton signed the repeal of the The Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 “amid long-standing concern that the limitations it imposed on the banking sector were unhealthy and that allowing banks to diversify would reduce risk.” Of course this repeal then opened the door to the abuses that became the Great Recession of 2008.
The ideas that government “can’t do it right, but the private sector can” have been the core Republican pitch since the Reagan days. And that pitch has been a scam.
The evidence of this is that aside from the inflation caused directly by the rapacious price gouging of big oil, big food, big pharma, etc., the economy of the United States has been in a remarkable upswing with employment at a near all-time high and more massive job growth on the foreseeable horizon.
The White House is methodically identifying strategic areas of investment in infrastructure and moving the ball forward. Yesterday’s announcement of $42.5 billion in grants for rural internet access is just one example.
Biden is hitting the road for the next few weeks to promote his economic plans and actions. This agenda has earned the moniker, Bidenomics. Heather Cox Richardson wrote yesterday,
Bidenomics has strong numbers behind it. The U.S. has enjoyed the strongest post-pandemic recovery of any other major economy, with the highest level of growth and the lowest inflation. In early 2021 the Congressional Budget Office projected that it would take until 2026 for unemployment to fall below 4%, a number the U.S. actually achieved in 2021. The economy has added more than 13 million jobs since Biden took office, including almost 800,000 manufacturing jobs.
And, Biden’s people argue, the American people like this agenda. Polling from late last year says that 76% of voters like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law rebuilding our roads and bridges, and 72% of voters support the CHIPS and Science Act to strengthen supply chains and promote domestic manufacture of semiconductors.
It is a good thing that Biden is getting out on the road to promote his agenda and the tangible results we have already seen. Getting this message out is going to be a key factor in his reelection campaign from now until next November.
This is also very important for the economic health of the country at large. The alternative is the insatiable Republican drive to turn back the clock to the agenda of making rich people and companies richer at the expense of the rest of us, all while rolling back our rights to object. And make no mistake, these folks are desperate to make this happen, conjuring up smear campaigns the likes of which are reminiscent of the work of Josef Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl. Sorry to be so blunt in this assessment, but it happens to be accurate.
The problem that the Biden administration has to contend with is that actual governing, getting work done for the wider populace, is frankly kind of boring. This gives them a PR problem. And it gives us a PR problem because all the noise and distraction coming from people who hate this kind of success is really, really loud.
Oddly enough, the actions being taken by the White House and various Executive Branch departments are so popular that many Republicans are happily taking credit for them—in spite of the fact that they all voted against them. So while the Biden administration has a PR problem of their results not having wider recognition, Republicans have a bigger problem of trying to get people to vote against their own interests.
So, they resort to smears, fake outrage, culture warfare and general fascist tactics of calling everyone not in their camp a communist. Pathetic. But also dangerous. This is the rhetoric that generates hate and violence—which of course would be happily blame-shifted to Democrats.
So Bidenomics is actually working and, in the tradition of F.D.R., is lifting the middle class as designed. It ain’t sexy, but it is good and—despite the claims of billionaires and corporations that might lose out on massive handouts that they don’t need—is exactly what our government should be doing.
There’s a line in the Preamble to the Constitution:
…to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…
This line really delineates the PURPOSE of our government and what governing means and should be focused on. The Republican rhetoric—again from the Reagan era—of reducing government and “getting it out of the way” is a scam. Companies ripping off the public with vastly over-priced services and products, factual cartels in the pharma industry, oil companies who destroy the atmosphere on the one hand and and receive huge “incentives” for exploration they do not undertake are just a few examples of the perversion of this concept. The “general Welfare” referred to in the Preamble does not mean corporate welfare enriching shareholders and CEOs.
So, when you hear the rants of “our government is the problem,” or “if we could just get rid of the DOJ, the FBI” and, and, and, realize you are listening to people who are 100 percent opposed to how our country is designed to operate. The idea that “government should be run as a business” is another version of this and is utterly false.
There is no justice or safety in a society where the rules are skewed to benefit a privileged few. The government should be providing a level playing field. And oddly enough this is what is at the core of Bidenomics.
Marty Kassowitz is co-founder of Factkeepers. As founder of Interest Factory and View360, he brings more than 30 years experience in effective online communications, social media management, and platform development to the site. He is a writer, designer, editor and long time observer of the ill-logic demonstrated by too many members of the species known as Mankind. After a long history of somewhat private commentary on a subject he totally hates: politics, Marty was encouraged to build this site and put up his own analyses as well as curate relevant content from other sources.