The Tea Party and Republicanomics
Christine O’Donnell broke her cover, broke her oaths of secrecy and loyalty to the government which employed her, and acknowledged that her undercover intelligence work made her privy to classified details about China’s plan to take over the U.S.
She did this in 2006. And she remains the darling of the uber-patriot branch of the Republican Party. This was her ‘Valerie Plame’ moment – a moment in which she could both undermine the U.S. by violating her security oath and access to classified data and bond more tightly to the corporate managers of the Party. As the Tea Bag movement blossomed, with its devotion to lying and to proclaiming victimization, O’Donnell’s violation of her security oath, of her duty to her nation, gave her the opportunity to wallow in the “I’m being slimed by the truth tellers, pity me” school of political opportunism.
But O’Donnell’s contempt for the importance of the oath she swore, and her zeal for fantasy give us a view into the Republican / Tea Party plans for our nation’s economic future. Let’s move beyond the hypocrisy of her wanting to outlaw sex between consenting adults, after she bragged that she gave-it-up on a first date because she got to do-it on a satanic altar. One of her eager supporters on AOL said: “better to dabble in Witchcraft than Marxism.”
Which leads us to the question: What is Marxism? Or what is Socialism (another frequent Tea Party hate label)? According to classic political descriptions, marxism and socialism each involve using the power of government to control (marxism) or influence (socialism) private enterprise.
In the U.S., we like to contrast this sort of politics with “capitalism” which, we say, involves government letting businesses succeed or fail on their own, without government interference or influence. We like to call this “free enterprise,” and we have huge social mythologies about entrepreneurs who build free enterprises using capitalist theory and means.
Christine O’Donnell and her Tea base want to oppose marxism/socialism by promoting tax breaks to corporations which send manufacturing jobs to China. Some readers might remember that once upon a time (when Reagan was President) China was a communist country that used dictatorial government force to keep its citizens oppressed and to keep its workers enslaved. China uses government control (marxism) to keep wages low and to break the back of any citizen protest, all for the benefit of a few rulers at the top.
Which part of using government control to keep wages low and to guarantee rich profits for the guys at the top is capitalism? Isn’t that exactly the marxism/socialism that Tea Party Republicans claim to oppose? But every time that they’ve had the chance, Republicans have given our tax dollars to corporations for the specific purpose of moving our jobs to China and other anti-democratic Asian nations.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. Richard Nixon opened the door to China. While some old-style conservatives wanted to keep shoveling money at war contractors, to keep the cold-war going, Nixon sold his influence to a new generation of businessmen. While the old generation wanted to keep the world safe for war profiteers, Nixon went to China and made communism profitable for Walmart.
Walmart was already a successful business. Sam Walton had built a small store chain by out-competing other businesses in the towns where he had stores. He became famous for his strict inventory control and efficient operation. But a few stores, discounting the same stuff everyone else sold wouldn’t make him a zillionaire.
What Nixon did for Sam Walton was to make it legal for Sam to import slave-made goods from China. When Republicans saw the mass profits that could flow from allowing corporations to use communist slave labor to make profits for sale to U.S. consumers, they went even further. Rather than merely permitting the free trade, they encouraged it by giving corporations tax breaks and other incentives to shut down factories here and move manufactures of all sorts of goods to China. Official Republican policy became to influence our domestic economy by giving tax payer money to corporations who agreed to ship U.S. jobs overseas.
This is “capitalism” in the same way that supporting back-shooters who murder women’s health care workers is “pro-life.”
In a depression, it may be hard to get people to oppose government handouts to multi-national corporations that deliver low sticker prices to desperate consumers. But how can we explain more local issues where Tea Party Republicans pretend to want lower government spending, but then expressly oppose programs which have proven to lower such spending?
San Francisco is now considering opening a residential program for incorrigible alcoholics – men who keep drinking, year after year; keep consuming city ambulance and police services; keep clogging emergency rooms. The program is one modeled on one in Seattle. Studies in Seattle say such men consume about $42,000 each in city services and wasted tax dollars every year. San Francisco is more expensive, and estimates that such men consume $60,000, each, in annual city services.
In Seattle, the program has dropped the city’s per man cost to about $13,000, a more than two-thirds reduction in expenses to the tax payers. That translates to a drop to less than $20,000 per year, per man in San Francisco. Talk about a no brainer. Cutting taxpayer expenditures by more than two-thirds; Getting a bunch of bums off the street; Reducing the harassment of people on the street. Cutting expenditures while improving the quality of living. Who could object?
Tea Bag Republicans, that’s who.
You see, there are two big problems with such programs. First, they are “anti-capitalism.” The reality of the $60,000 per year per man cost is that we tax payers pay it, not the businessmen who make fortunes selling booze on skid row. We pay the police to arrest the disorderly boozers. We pay to have the police cars washed out, often several times a night; after the boozers empty themselves in the back seats. We pay for the coroner’s investigations of the ones picked up dead in alleys.
But the programs that reduce our costs can also cut into liquor store profits. That’s “government interference with business.” The programs will cut into the profits of private contractors who get paid to clean the police cars, and operate the ambulances. The programs cut into the supplies sold to the government, from the nitrile gloves cops and paramedics wear and the gauze they use to the huge markups on Tazer recharge cartridges.
Second, the program isn’t punitive enough. As a recent survey showed, most Tea Baggers are also self-proclaiming “christians”. They know that alcoholism is a disease, and like other diseases, it should be treated with punishment, not science. Cutting government spending may be a great idea. But not if that reduces our opportunities to display our moral superiority, or if it cuts into business profits.
So, Tea Party Republican policy is to save us from marxism / socialism by using tax dollars to ship good jobs to China, while preserving “capitalism” at home by spending tax dollars on skid row to guarantee the profits of liquor store owners. Because supporting liquor store owners and the alcohol industry is such a traditional Christian value.
But these are just the extremes. The Tea Party Republicans have plans for the main part of the economy as well. They’re going to bring back the “free market” no-bid contracts of the Bush/Cheney years. They’re promising to repeal O’Bama’s ridiculous restrictions on Insurance Companies’ right to cancel policies when people get sick or injured. And from Rand Paul to Joe Miller, they’ll work to repeal civil rights, minimum wage and Social Security. So we can all relive the glory days when bread lines could be segregated.