It’s Halloween, America, which perhaps explains the gruesome results of the latest Republican presidential debate. I watched a sliver of them (terrifying!), and read as much as I could stand of the debate transcript (horrifying!). As usual, the Republicans want you to be afraid, very afraid, of the bogeyman. With respect to the economy, the bogeyman is variously described as a socialist, a Bolshevik, even a Menshevik (!), someone who favors big government to make all of your decisions on health care, education, and what not.
The Republican solution? Trust the free market! Empower the makers by cutting their taxes. Vilify the moochers and takers while starving them of their entitlement candy. Something like this cartoon, perhaps:
Long ago, George H.W. Bush described Reagan’s “supply side” tax plan as “voodoo economics.” That’s the idea you can cut taxes on the richest and most privileged Americans, thereby supposedly stimulating investment and growth, in which case the benefits would “trickle down” to the lowest of Americans on the economic ladder, even as the federal budget miraculously balanced itself.
If you thought that voodoo was thirty-five years in the grave, think again. It’s been exhumed from the graveyard of dead ideas, stalking us yet again, this time from the stage of that presidential debate in Boulder, Colorado.
For me, the scariest part of the Republican debate was its total lack of original ideas. Talk of Bolshevism is Cold War rhetoric that was dead a generation ago; supply-side economics was dead on arrival almost two generations ago; but like zombies these dead ideas are consuming the brains of the Republican candidates.
I don’t need to watch the TV series “The Walking Dead” to see zombies. For that, I just need to watch the Republican presidential debates.