09 August 2011
Shell Games- How the GOP Gets Good People to Vote Against Their Best Interests
After the embarrassing debacle of the debt ceiling disaster and subsequent lowering of America's credit rating by Standard and Poors, the nation seems more divided than ever. John Boehner claims to have gotten "98% of what he wanted" in the deal, yet the blame is laid at Obama's feet for the fallout. The President indeed deserves blame, but where he is at fault is in trying to negotiate at all with a group whose number one stated goal is getting him out of office. Not jobs, not the economy, not national defense, but making Obama a one term president. With this stated objective, why should we think that they wouldn't throw the economy under the bus to score political points? The election is Obama's to lose, and that sometimes seems to be his goal, as he angers the very base he needs to show up at the polls. The GOP has long since jettisoned any moderates in their party, and are left with "Pray for Rain" Perry, "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann, "Professor" Palin, "Ayn Rand" Paul, and "Mormon" Mitt, who amazingly is the sanest of all of them. Sadly, he hasn't a chance, as he revealed that he has a human soul and wanted the people of his state to actually have affordable health care, a goal now synonymous with 'socialism.'
What many of us on the Left continue to be puzzled by is why so many people vote Republican at all, when the party has clearly abandoned all but the fanatically religious (Bachmann), openly racist (Limbaugh, etc.), and the very wealthy (all the rest). I know many good people who vote GOP. They genuinely love America, are not racists, rednecks, or stupid. The problem is that asking someone why they would vote Republican plays into the GOP line that the Left is 'elitist' and looks down on the Right. But I think I know at least part of the reason. The GOP lies to them, straight faced, over and over again. They tell them that there are easy solutions to complex problems, all the while knowing these 'solutions' will never work. No problem- when they don't work, blame the Democrats. Hey, it's easier than coming up with new ideas.
Take "Drill Baby Drill", for example. It was the rallying cry at the RNC in 2008, (along with "USA!!!", of course, because unlike the Left, they REALLY like the USA, and don't care who knows it) It was said over and over again that if congress would only allow us to tap into our vast reserves, we could get off foreign oil, gas would drop to two dollars a gallon so REAL Americans could fill up their SUVs for under $100, every single man, woman, and child would have a job, and the Cubs would win the World Series. Trouble was, it was a complete lie. McCain certainly knew this was total crap. Palin maybe believed it, and no one filled her in so she could be almost believable when she spoke.
The two Big Problems with Drill Baby are first, the U.S. Department of the Interior estimates the total volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable prospective resources in all areas of the United States to be 134 billion barrels. That's the highest estimate I could find from any reliable source. (Read- Not oil companies) The US consumes about 7 billion barrels of oil a year. So, if we stopped importing oil altogether, we would have less than 20 years to drink our own milkshake. Then we would be totally dry, and totally dependent on foreign oil. Not the best strategy. Another fact they failed to mention at the rally is that the US does not get the majority of oil from "people who don't like us very much" (as McCain called them), unless Canada and Mexico are harboring some deep seated hatred of us. (Which is of course possible.)
The second Big Problem with Drill Baby makes the above point moot, anyway. Oil is an internationally traded commodity, and oil speculators are almost completely unregulated by the government. So, it's doubtful any president, Democrat or Republican, could have much influence over the price, with one exception. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Commodities Exchange Act, which gives the CFTC the power to curb "excessive speculation." Of course, banks don't want this, and both parties tend to do what the banks want, so don't expect the oil traders to be reeled in anytime soon.
The fact that oil- all oil- is traded internationally also means that even if we drill in everybody's back yard in America, the oil goes where the money is. Right now, a lot of it is in China. US refineries already sell off some of their inventory to foreign markets, like Japan, for example. At one point, up to 20% of oil being refined in the US was being exported, even while gas prices continued to rise. China's increasing economic growth means their demand for oil is skyrocketing, which also drives up the price here.
So, if McCain had won, the price of gas at your corner Gas n' Sip wouldn't have gone down much, if at all. (Unless, of course, McCain didn't bail out the banks like Obama did, and the country slid into a complete depression, which it probably would have. Then gas prices would have gone down, but it wouldn't matter to you, because you'd be living in your car, not driving it.)
Another Big Lie the GOP has been telling for years to sop up votes is that lowering taxes will bring the jobs. And especially lowering taxes on the rich, the "job-creators" (you know, like Kim Kardashian and the cast of 'Jersey Shore') Since 1980, this has been the Holy Grail of the Republican Party, first put forth by Saint Reagan, who, bless his soul, was probably not in charge of much by his second term. This Lie is very effective on the middle class in America, because as it has been stated before, the problem with the American Dream is that everybody thinks they're going to be rich someday. Unfortunately, you have a better chance of upward mobility if you live in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway, or Denmark than you do living here in America. (All countries that are far more Socialist than the U.S. and pay higher taxes, by the way.)
Well, we have the lowest taxes in decades. One question- where are the jobs? It was a simple equation put forth by the GOP- Less Taxes=More Jobs. But, it appears math is not their strong suit. Again, taxes are lower than under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, or W- where are the jobs? Instead, we get once more get the Blame-the-Democrats-When-Our-Ideas-Are-Proven-To-Be-Wrong-Again. Now it's those strangling regulations that are hurting businesses, like the EPA that Bachmann has vowed to dismantle if elected. (Better distill that tap water before you drink it!) Want to see what it looks like when businesses don't have to deal with environmental regulations? Visit industrial parks in Mexico or India, and then decide if that's what you want here.
Or, it's the claim that businesses are being 'over-taxed' by the Democrats, and America has the highest corporate tax in the world. This despite the roughly 50% of business that paid ZERO taxes last year including (surprise!) ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Boeing, and Bank of America. (Yeah, I know- they all contributed to Obama. THAT'S how it happened.) Many of these companies are also sitting on billions in assets.
So, low taxes- where are the jobs? Well, you only have to look at the label in your shirt or the 'made in' on the side of whatever you just bought at Target for the answer to that.
I could list other examples, but if you're not mad by now, or remain unconvinced, then you're probably not going to change your mind, no matter how many facts I throw at you. I'm sure you have your reasons. And, hey, sometimes believing the lie is easier than facing reality. I know- I've been there in relationships with people. The difference is, I didn't vote for them before they screwed me.