The Republican Strategy

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    Feb 18, 2011 7:45 PM GMT
    The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class -- pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don't believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.

    By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation. They hope to deflect attention from the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.

    Republicans would rather no one notice their campaign to shrink the pie even further with additional tax cuts for the rich -- making the Bush tax cuts permanent, further reducing the estate tax, and allowing the wealthy to shift ever more of their income into capital gains taxed at 15 percent.

    The strategy has three parts.

    1. The Battle Over the Federal Budget

    The first is being played out in the budget battle in Washington. As they raise the alarm over deficit spending and simultaneously squeeze popular middle-class programs, Republicans want the majority of the American public to view it all as a giant zero-sum game among average Americans that some will have to lose.

    The president has already fallen into the trap by calling for budget cuts in programs the poor and working class depend on -- assistance with home heating, community services, college loans, and the like.

    In the coming showdown over Medicare and Social Security, House budget chair Paul Ryan will push a voucher system for Medicare and a partly-privatized plan for Social Security -- both designed to attract younger middle-class voters.

    2. The Assault on Public Employees

    The second part of the Republican strategy is being played out on the state level where public employees are being blamed for state budget crises. Unions didn't cause these budget crises -- state revenues dropped because of the Great Recession -- but Republicans view them as opportunities to gut public employee unions, starting with teachers.

    Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker and his GOP legislature are seeking to end almost all union rights for teachers. Ohio's Republican governor John Kasich is pushing a similar plan in Ohio through a Republican-dominated legislature. New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie is attempting the same, telling a conservative conference Wednesday, "I'm attacking the leadership of the union because they're greedy, and they're selfish and they're self-interested."

    The demonizing of public employees is not only based on the lie that they've caused these budget crises, but it's also premised on a second lie: that public employees earn more than private-sector workers. They don't, when you take account of their education. In fact over the last fifteen years the pay of public-sector workers, including teachers, has dropped relative to private-sector employees with the same level of education -- even including health and retirement benefits. Moreover, most public employees don't have generous pensions. After a career with annual pay averaging less than $45,000, the typical newly-retired public employee receives a pension of $19,000 a year.

    Bargaining rights for public employees haven't caused state deficits to explode. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights, such as Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, are running big deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many states that give employees bargaining rights -- Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana -- have small deficits of less than 10 percent.

    Republicans would rather go after teachers and other public employees than have us look at the pay of Wall Street traders, private-equity managers, and heads of hedge funds -- many of whom wouldn't have their jobs today were it not for the giant taxpayer-supported bailout, and most of whose lending and investing practices were the proximate cause of the Great Depression to begin with.

    Last year, America's top thirteen hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home $5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains -- at 15 percent -- due to a tax loophole that Republican members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.

    If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of over 5 million teachers. Who is more valuable to our society -- thirteen hedge-fund managers or 5 million teachers? Let's make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?

    3. The Distortion of the Constitution

    The third part of the Republican strategy is being played out in the Supreme Court. It has politicized the Court more than at any time in recent memory.

    Last year a majority of the justices determined that corporations have a right under the First Amendment to provide unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission is among the most patently political and legally grotesque decisions of our highest court -- ranking right up there with Bush vs. Gore and Dred Scott.

    Among those who voted in the affirmative were Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. Both have become active strategists in the Republican party.

    A month ago, for example, Antonin Scalia met in a closed-door session with Michele Bachmann's Tea Party caucus -- something no justice concerned about maintaining the appearance of impartiality would ever have done.

    Both Thomas and Scalia have participated in political retreats organized and hosted by multi-billionaire financier Charles Koch, a major contributor to the Tea Party and other conservative organizations, and a crusader for ending all limits on money in politics. (Not incidentally, Thomas's wife is the founder of Liberty Central, a Tea Party organization that has been receiving unlimited corporate contributions due to the Citizens United decision. On his obligatory financial disclosure filings, Thomas has repeatedly failed to list her sources of income over the last twenty years, nor even to include his own four-day retreats courtesy of Charles Koch.)

    Some time this year or next, the Supreme Court will be asked to consider whether the nation's new health care law is constitutional. Watch your wallets.

    Summary: The Strategy as a Whole

    These three aspects of the Republican strategy -- a federal budget battle to shrink government, focused on programs the vast middle class depends on; state efforts to undermine public employees, whom the middle class depends on; and a Supreme Court dedicated to bending the Constitution to enlarge and entrench the political power of the wealthy -- fit perfectly together.

    They pit average working Americans against one another, distract attention from the almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and power at the top, and conceal Republican plans to further enlarge and entrench that wealth and power.

    By: Robert Reich, Fmr, Secretary of Labor & Professor, Cal Berkeley.
  • rioriz

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    Feb 18, 2011 7:52 PM GMT
    That's it in a nutshell!
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    Feb 18, 2011 7:56 PM GMT
    I tell ya, this is French Revolution deja vu and apr├Ęs Boehner le deluge!
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    Feb 18, 2011 8:09 PM GMT
    Yup. Yet this conspiracy has not found its way to Glenn Beck's chalk board. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 18, 2011 8:41 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidYup. Yet this conspiracy has not found its way to Glenn Beck's chalk board. icon_rolleyes.gif
    You must be a loyal viewer to know Beck hasn't yet discussed it. As soon as he does please let us know, along with an objective critique, if possible.
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    Feb 18, 2011 9:09 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidYup. Yet this conspiracy has not found its way to Glenn Beck's chalk board. icon_rolleyes.gif
    You must be a loyal viewer to know Beck hasn't yet discussed it. As soon as he does please let us know, along with an objective critique, if possible.


    Someone needs to have their sarcasm quotient checked.
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    Feb 18, 2011 9:23 PM GMT
    Excellent, well-reasoned argument, and you are 100% right on.
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    Feb 18, 2011 9:32 PM GMT
    antelope saidExcellent, well-reasoned argument, and you are 100% right on.


    It might be if it were based on facts rather than half truths - but I can't say I'm surprised. On that supposed closed door meeting with Michele Bachmann and tea partiers? It included 3 Democrats and was only closed insofar as the media wasn't admitted and as anyone familiar with the actual facts would know. Further, it's not unprecedented as one article shows with other current Justices:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48096.html

    Sorry, Republicans appear to be just rejecting Public Unions. Private unions are not at risk - nor should they be but I would suggest that anti-trust protections to the public should apply as much to unions as they do to private businesses. I can see why though there are some with a vested interest in arguing that the repeal of public unions is also an attempted repeal of all unions even if it's simply not true.
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    Feb 18, 2011 9:38 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    antelope saidExcellent, well-reasoned argument, and you are 100% right on.


    It might be if it were based on facts rather than half truths - but I can't say I'm surprised. On that supposed closed door meeting with Michele Bachmann and tea partiers? It included 3 Democrats and was only closed insofar as the media wasn't admitted and as anyone familiar with the actual facts would know. Further, it's not unprecedented as one article shows with other current Justices:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48096.html

    Sorry, Republicans appear to be just rejecting Public Unions. Private unions are not at risk - nor should they be but I would suggest that anti-trust protections to the public should apply as much to unions as they do to private businesses. I can see why though there are some with a vested interest in arguing that the repeal of public unions is also an attempted repeal of all unions even if it's simply not true.


    You're kidding right? Anti-trust protections?

    Did you oppose the acquisition of NBC by Comcast, or the gobbling up of all the smaller banks during the financial crisis?

    Given your love for all things corporate profits, that you have the unmitigated gall to raise anti-trust issues is simply stunning. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 18, 2011 10:05 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    riddler78 said
    antelope saidExcellent, well-reasoned argument, and you are 100% right on.


    It might be if it were based on facts rather than half truths - but I can't say I'm surprised. On that supposed closed door meeting with Michele Bachmann and tea partiers? It included 3 Democrats and was only closed insofar as the media wasn't admitted and as anyone familiar with the actual facts would know. Further, it's not unprecedented as one article shows with other current Justices:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/48096.html

    Sorry, Republicans appear to be just rejecting Public Unions. Private unions are not at risk - nor should they be but I would suggest that anti-trust protections to the public should apply as much to unions as they do to private businesses. I can see why though there are some with a vested interest in arguing that the repeal of public unions is also an attempted repeal of all unions even if it's simply not true.


    You're kidding right? Anti-trust protections?

    Did you oppose the acquisition of NBC by Comcast, or the gobbling up of all the smaller banks during the financial crisis?

    Given your love for all things corporate profits, that you have the unmitigated gall to raise anti-trust issues is simply stunning. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Which is of course an absurd interpretation/simplification of what I believe. But let's go at it. Much of the crisis and the forced amalgamations that resulted in much larger financial institutions and more concentration was the result of government policy. I disagree with how that was handled and I said as much. Comcast's acquisition of content is largely irrelevant given the proliferation of views out there and the plummeting cost to produce - or did you miss this thing called the Internet? icon_rolleyes.gif

    I'm curious - do you agree with the Democrats' attack on private votes in the pursuit of union membership?

    PS - you'd think the OP would bother with some attribution icon_rolleyes.gif :
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/18/robert_reich_republican_strategy
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    Feb 18, 2011 11:28 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidYup. Yet this conspiracy has not found its way to Glenn Beck's chalk board. icon_rolleyes.gif
    You must be a loyal viewer to know Beck hasn't yet discussed it. As soon as he does please let us know, along with an objective critique, if possible.


    Someone needs to have their sarcasm quotient checked.



    Or grow a sense of humor.
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    Feb 18, 2011 11:42 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Which is of course an absurd interpretation/simplification of what I believe. But let's go at it. Much of the crisis and the forced amalgamations that resulted in much larger financial institutions and more concentration was the result of government policy. I disagree with how that was handled and I said as much. Comcast's acquisition of content is largely irrelevant given the proliferation of views out there and the plummeting cost to produce - or did you miss this thing called the Internet? icon_rolleyes.gif

    I'm curious - do you agree with the Democrats' attack on private votes in the pursuit of union membership?

    PS - you'd think the OP would bother with some attribution icon_rolleyes.gif :
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/18/robert_reich_republican_strategy


    LOL. Yes. A couple of the banks were married by the federal government as part of an effort to stem the crisis. I read "Too Big Too Fail." but neither that nor the acquisition spree the banks went on following the Bush bailout were Obama's policies.

    With regard to NBC/Comcast, your position is ridiculous and convenient.

    On card check, I'm ambivalent. In theory, I prefer the secret ballot but companies (and now governments) have be so vile and violent in their in their attempts to bust existing unions and prevent new ones that I'm not sure I can think of a better solution.
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    Feb 19, 2011 12:08 AM GMT
    B787 saidThe Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class -- pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don't believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class. etc...

    Not a bad analysis, though a bit wordy to digest online.

    I would summarize it more simply -- today's Republicans are classic Fascists, who meet the perfect text book definition. And if you can't Goggle it and research it yourself, I'm not gonna spoon-feed it to you. (A weakness of US politics is the severe laziness of voters to check things for themselves, why they are so easily misled & deceived)
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    Feb 19, 2011 12:12 AM GMT
    Great post, and dead on.
    And the truth of Reich's words have been laid bare by the actions in WI.
    To the detriment of the Repubs.
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    Feb 19, 2011 1:01 AM GMT
    rickrick91 saidGreat post, and dead on.
    And the truth of Reich's words have been laid bare by the actions in WI.
    To the detriment of the Repubs.

    Actually to the benefit of the Repubs. Americans are in a Fascist mood at the moment, and this Republican move in Wisconsin will play well.

    US history books used to wonder how a great country like Germany could have descended into the horrors of Naziism. Today Germans may well ask how did a great country like the US descend into the horrors of Republicanism? And Christian fundamentalism?

    But that is where the US is today, and I have discussed with my gay partner the options of fleeing this country. Just as Germans fled Germany in the 1930s.

    Who would have thought such a possibility in the 1950s? We claimed we were the "Refuge of the World." Now we are becoming the "Refuse of the World."

    No one admires us, no one wants to be like us, as they once did. This started during Bush, and nothing Obama has tried can change that.

    If you doubt that, try checking international news sources on your satellite channels, those that aren't controlled by US corporations or Rupert Murdock. You might be shocked. The US since Bush is universally hated around the globe, not loved, nor even admired.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee, and stop listening to FOX News telling us how absolutely wonderful we are. Guess what? Nobody else on the planet holds that view today. Do check it out on your own. icon_razz.gif
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    Feb 19, 2011 1:22 AM GMT
    I'm sure glad to see this posted here !!! thank you very much !!

    The world is watching us, between this information factual as I'm ashamed to admit it is, the completely worthless and money wasting wars and the extremely STUPID moves by the republicans to end EPA regulating Toxins/Pollutants/Green house gases for the sake of Corps bottom lines, WE MUST BE THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE WORLD !!


    Did anyone also see how many amendments repubs put in for budget consideration that take money away from energy funding for, Hydro power, wind power, Hydrogen power/research and on and on, CAN YOU BELIEVE THESE IDIOTS ?? Are they determined to let the rest of the world lead the way in these innovations ?? This stuff is appalling !!!!



    The rest of the world reads and is informed about these things, they know how much money we blow pointlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet the repugs want to cut everything of consequence to the American Public, but keep right on spending militarily around the world for no real good purpose. WHAT GOD DAMN FOOLS WE HAVE SENT TO WASHINGTON !!! and there's plenty of dems in that lot too !!
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Feb 19, 2011 2:05 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidBut that is where the US is today, and I have discussed with my gay partner the options of fleeing this country. Just as Germans fled Germany in the 1930s.

    Why does this not surprise me LOL icon_lol.gif "The Republicans are coming...The Republicans are coming...grab the kids...run for your lives!!! Perhaps you should just first leave RealJock...see how that goes...baby steps, sweetie icon_wink.gif

    Who would have thought such a possibility in the 1950s? We claimed we were the "Refuge of the World." Now we are becoming the "Refuse of the World."

    No one admires us, no one wants to be like us, as they once did. This started during Bush, and nothing Obama has tried can change that.

    This sentiment is so ridiculous...so NOT true...yet so typical of your seemingly endless "victim mentality". I was in Europe this past summer and made friends with people from several different countries. I actually made a point of trying to discuss with them what the general feeling was of the U.S. in their country -- guys from Germany, South Africa, Australia, Great Britain, to name a few --- and I got absolutely zero negativity. If anything, especially among those who had never even been to the U.S., there was a sort of fascination about the U.S. and Americans in general. That's not to say that there isn't negative sentiment out there -- always has been, always will be -- but, sorry, I'm not subscribing to your pessimistic view of the USA and, more importantly, how you think others think of us.

    If you doubt that, try checking international news sources on your satellite channels, those that aren't controlled by US corporations or Rupert Murdock. You might be shocked. The US since Bush is universally hated around the globe, not loved, nor even admired.

    Again, NOT true. I know you and people like you would have us believe this, but it is simply not true. Yes, there is anti-Bush sentiment here, and in other places in the world -- Bush made some tough decisions, and they were not popular -- but to say that there is this overwhelming hate of Bush is simply you trying to sell something that simply isn't reality.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee, and stop listening to FOX News telling us how absolutely wonderful we are. Guess what? Nobody else on the planet holds that view today.


    I really have nothing else to say because you are truly exasperating other than...Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:28 AM GMT
    The OP is such pile of poop
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    Feb 20, 2011 2:20 AM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidThe OP is such pile of poop


    It will be OK - open your mind to the truth.
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    Feb 20, 2011 2:42 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI really have nothing else to say because...

    ...you have nothing to say. You failed to refute me above, except to say that you don't agree with me. Well, that's what I expect from you.
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    Feb 20, 2011 2:45 AM GMT
    Republicans in Washington? Rich. Democrats in Washington? also rich. I'm sure they all care about us po' folks.
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    Feb 20, 2011 5:07 AM GMT
    justim saidRepublicans in Washington? Rich. Democrats in Washington? also rich. I'm sure they all care about us po' folks.


    That is the same thing that I was going to say. The Republicans and the Democrats are two sides of the same coin.

    Republicans are being honest about their agenda, and Democrats try to hide theirs behind the guise of really caring.
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    Feb 20, 2011 5:47 AM GMT
    lol I don't know about that, balljunkie.

    "Republicans are being honest about their agenda, and Democrats try to hide theirs behind the guise of really caring."

    From outside up here, I see Republicans getting into power on platforms of fiscal responsibility, which is great. Once in their first concern is abruptly human right curtailings. That this doesn't set off some kind of alarm bells among libertarians that believe in freedom feels odd to me.

    -Doug

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    Feb 20, 2011 6:07 AM GMT
    meninlove said lol I don't know about that, balljunkie.

    "Republicans are being honest about their agenda, and Democrats try to hide theirs behind the guise of really caring."

    From outside up here, I see Republicans getting into power on platforms of fiscal responsibility, which is great. Once in their first concern is abruptly human right curtailings. That this doesn't set off some kind of alarm bells among libertarians that believe in freedom feels odd to me.

    -Doug



    QFT
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 20, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    Republicans are making a huge mistake if they think that the general public will not back the police officers, fire fighters, and teachers.