Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Biggest Political Problem Is That One Of Our Political Parties Is Out Of Ideas

The GOP is having a mid-life crisis.  For thirty years it has been on a crusade to roll back the New Deal and the Great Society programs.  Its problem is that these programs are very popular.  This is evident in the current negotiations over the fiscal cliff.  The GOP pretends to be concerned about budget deficits, but it has not presented a concrete plan to raise tax revenues or to cut spending.  Its tax proposal is the same as the one that Romney proposed in his unsuccessful campaign that he lost by over 4 million votes.  They want to keep tax rates where they are today, and make unspecified changes in deductions, exemptions and credits to increase revenue. They won't specify the these changes because they know that many are popular with the middle class, and that it is impossible to raise enough tax revenue by cutting deductions for the rich.  They want big cuts in government spending, especially in entitlements, but they have offered no plan for doing so.  The public, which includes a large part of the GOP base, loves Social Security and Medicare.  Many in the GOP base resent Medicaid because it helps out the "wrong" people, but it is also taking care of the elderly in their families.  Over two thirds of Medicaid spending is on the elderly poor, which includes the parents and grand parents of many in the GOP base.

The bottom line is that the GOP is out of ideas.  It has only two ideas: cut taxes and shrink government.  The public does not like taxes, and many would like a smaller government. The GOP's problem is that government needs to raise taxes to deal with budget deficits, and the public does not want to cut Social Security and popular healthcare programs.

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