Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Does the GOP Want to Repeat Europe's Failures?

The true goal of GOP economic policy
It's amazing how the far right and their GOP lap dogs always malign "Old Europe" yet the current GOP economic policy seeks to mirror what has not worked in Europe and in fact has led to the overthrow of conservative leaders in France, that most maligned of nation in GOP Kool-Aid drinking circles.  It doesn't make any sense unless one realizes that the GOP austerity kick is all about wrecking the U.S. economy so that Barack Obama can be beat by Mitt "Etch A Sketch" Romney in November.  Nothing else - including the millions of Americans harmed in the process - truly matters to the hyper partisan GOP.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the GOP effort to emulate failed European policies.  Here are excerpts:

Can a Republican primary in Indiana have even the remotest connection to a presidential election in France? Richard Mourdock, the tea party giant-killer who defeated Sen. Richard Lugar on Tuesday, clearly thinks so.

Don’t scoff. There is a point behind what Mourdock said. It’s just not the point he had in mind.
Mourdock’s success is decisive proof, if any more was needed, that the Republican Party has lurched far to the right of where it once was. Lugar was regularly described in the course of his reelection campaign as a “moderate.” But he is not a moderate, and never has been. He is a conservative who happens to be civil.

Being a good tea party Republican, Mourdock is all about slashing government spending without regard to the impact of the cuts on the economy or on those who need government help. He cast his campaign as a battle against “the nightmare of ever-growing government” that would turn the United States into a “Western European-style nation.”

This gets us to the irony: Right now, it’s conservatives who want to follow the Western European path of austerity that voters in France and Greece rejected last weekend. The Obama administration, by contrast, has chosen a distinctly American path that kept austerity at bay. As a result, the American economy has climbed out of the Great Recession more quickly than most of Europe. Had Obama accepted the right wing’s assertions that cutting government is the one and only route to prosperity, we would have gone the way of Britain, which is slipping toward recession again. 

What European voters are demanding, in other words, is a more moderate, American-style course. Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s deputy prime minister and the leader of its Labour Party, nicely summarized the center-left’s middle-of-the-road approach. “You can’t have economic growth unless you also have stability,” he said, “but neither can you have stability without growth.”  France’s Francois Hollande may carry a Socialist label, but he, too, favors a balanced policy that would use public spending primarily to induce more private sector growth. 

On the other hand, the Mourdock Republicans — and they now very much include Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee, in their ranks — would have the United States embrace an even more radical program of government cutbacks at the very moment when Europe’s voters are telling us that this simply doesn’t work.  In the more reasonable Washington to which Lugar arrived in 1977, Republicans accepted the need to boost the economy during a time of recession.

Europeans are moving toward the center-left not because they are doctrinaire but precisely because they are sick of the rigid approaches the advocates of austerity have imposed upon them. Why would we now want to imitate Europe’s failures?

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