The Refutation of the “Republican Revolution” – Part 1


While wasting time on Facebook I came across the Republican Revolution, which is a page devoted to spreading the conservative message.  Among other things the site puts out posters bashing the President, other Democrats and liberals in general. They are typically mean-spirited, misleading and factually untrue.

So I am dedicating this week’s posts to what I’m calling “The Refutation of the Republican Revolution”.  Each day I will choose one of the posters and explain its fallacies.

 

Part 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is not all wrong; he did lower taxes that is a fact.  However, Reagan may have said he was for small government but that is not what he practiced. He did engage in deregulation but overall he increased the size of government.  He increased government spending each year in office, he increased the national debt and overall he practiced expansionary budget deficits.

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13 thoughts on “The Refutation of the “Republican Revolution” – Part 1

  1. Reagan had the whole Cold War thing going on which would cause any President in the right mind of any ideology to increase government spending

  2. If you look at Total Spending as a percent of GDP since 1980 the biggest drop happened between 1995 and 2000 when the GOP finally took control of the House and Senate and forced Clinton to reduce spending. The biggest increase in Total Spending as a percent of GDP since 1980 happened between 2007 and 2009 when the Dems took back control of the House and Senate. That is why the GOP can bash the Dems on spending. Its about who controls congress not who is the White House. When the Dems own congress spending increases no matter who is the White House.

    Also, by the way the Dems controlled the House thru all of the 80’s.

    • Reagan still increased the size of government when the poster seems to imply he was for shrinking government. The point of the “Refutation of the ‘Republican Revolution'” is not ideological. The goal is merely to point out some of the fallacies put out by this new Facebook page.

    • Dan, I’d argue that the spending % of GDP has more to do with the higher amounts of government revenue than which party reigned in spending levels. During the Clinton years we experienced, as a country, one of the highest rates of growth ever. Everyone was working, businesses were doing amazing…everything was going great. Because of this the government was bringing in a ton of revenue just because of the strong economic conditions across the board.

      From 2007-2009, I’m going to have to call a bit of a foul here on your part as you don’t take into account the severe impacts the Great Recession. What happened here was, overall the country lost 8 million jobs and production of everything dropped off to negative rates. Essentially what happened was the complete opposite of the Clinton years. Job losses and business production all plummeted, reducing government revenue dramatically which resulted in massive debt spending because, as you know, we still had a lot of bills to keep paying for. Things like the 2 unpaid for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rx Drug Benefit, large tax cuts still had to be paid for which meant borrowing money because revenue was historically low. On top of that, we had to pump billions into the economy to keep us out of a depression which increased the debt more.

      I think, Dan you’re trying to associate causation by correlating it with which party was in power when and this just isn’t the case in these instances. It was the state of the economy overall that was the primary factor in both cases.

  3. Spending has nothing to do with revenue. The facts I mentioned were strictly spending compared to GDP. As we all know the government spends whatever it wants without any consideration of revenue – example our huge debt.

    During the 2nd half of the 90’s under GOP control spending compared to GDP dropped and the economy soared because the the private sector had more room to grow. This did generate more tax revenue because everyone was working but that is not my point. My point is that spending dropped under a GOP congress.

    In 2007 under Dem control – their answer to fix the problems were to spend. It didn’t work. Unemployment soared.

    So we took 2 tracks. In the 90’s we cut spending and the economy soared. in 2007 we increased spending and we are still just getting by and are one international incident from falling back into another crisis. Our current path is not sustainable and risky.

    We don’t have a revenue problem we have a spending problem and since 1980 the GOP has had a history of at least trying to address the spending issues while the Dems first reaction is to spend.

    • Once again Dan, I think you’re trying to draw causation from an unrelated correlation. There were spending cuts under Clinton. You wish to credit the GOP but one of the more significant spending cuts was in military spending, something the GOP wholeheartedly opposed. Taxes were also increased under Clinton, another thing the GOP opposed. But what was the result? A surplus in budget deficit. We still had national debt but the budget had a surplus. What happened was that Clinton got the GOP to agree to BALANCED fiscal approaches, something the current GOP will not agree to.

      “As we all know the government spends whatever it wants without any consideration of revenue”

      Well under Clinton we did have PayGo. The GOP under GW abandoned that. I’m sure you aren’t going to suggest that the debt did not soar under the GW administration and Republican controlled Congress are you?

      “In 2007 under Dem control – their answer to fix the problems were to spend. It didn’t work. Unemployment soared”

      Interesting. I’m seeing the same attempt to attribute causation to one party’s actions. Perhaps, some spending did increase around 2007 but government spending was not the cause of the Great Recession which was indeed to cause of the soaring unemployment.

      I’m sorry but I’m standing firmly by my conclusion that massive drops in unemployment as a result of the recession removed a HUGE amount of government revenue. Those losses resulted in debt spending (i.e borrowing increases) due to the commitments we already had and I mentioned those very large commitments in my last comment. Remember, the GOP controlled Congress under GW went wild with their spending.

      Debt does hurt the economy. Spending does not cause unemployment. There are NUMEROUS other factors whose interplay have varied results. Very rarely is it one or two actions that cause major problems. Spending does not have the impact you’re claiming it has.

  4. Clinton raised taxes in 1993 as one of his first agenda items when he took office when the Dems controlled both chambers. The economy boom didn’t start until 1997 after the GOP took control of the budget process. So you are attempting to attribute causation to actions that had little impact on job growth late in the 1990’s. If you remember the reason Clinton lost control of both Chambers in 1994 was because the economy was just limping along because business had no confidence due to Clinton raising taxes and his threat to take over health care which would have greatly increased taxes. Sound familar to today? Today Obama has already passed health care and is threatening to raise taxes in future years. That equals no confidence today.

    You are correct that military spending fell in the 1990’s to dangerous levels based on a perceived peace dividend from Reagon winning the Cold War. Clinton used the end of the Cold War as an excuse to cut military spending which was ill advised as it left us less prepared and vulnerable to the 911 attacks. The GOP did force Clinton to pass other effective cost cutting measures like welfare reform. The GOP pro-business capital gains tax cut also encouraged private investment and risk taking which created jobs and thus more tax revenue – isn’t more tax revenue every liberals goal..

    And finally – yes the debt did rise during GW administration as it did under Reagan in the 1980’s. However, a major cause was winning the Cold War in the 80’s and winning the two Mideastern Wars after 911 during the Bush years. Both were good investments. Also, during the Bush years the deficit peaked at about $400 Billion in 2004 at the height of the two wars and then dropped to $300 Billion in 2007. Then the deficit began to soar when the Dems took over in 2007 and Obama in 2008 to a new record high of $1.4 Trillion in 2009. Cause and effect – the Dems lose the house in 2010. Maybe they can lose the Senate this year and we finally get some real economic growth.

    • “The economy boom didn’t start until 1997 after the GOP took control of the budget process.”

      Sorry Dan but this continued attempt to attribute benefit or decline to one party or another is simply inaccurate. Clinton’s Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 was put into effect and as we all know economic policy needs time to begin having an effect. By 1996 the economy began trending upward significantly. It had nothing to do with Gingrich and the Republicans. They simply tried to gain favor from it after they railed against it before it passed. As I said before the GOP once Bush took over abandoned all the budget discipline that Clinton established. I think it’s time to recognize this, don’t you?

      “If you remember the reason Clinton lost control of both Chambers in 1994 was because the economy was just limping along because business had no confidence due to Clinton raising taxes and his threat to take over health care “

      Well just like today, the control in Congress switched because the public and its instant gratification mentality thought things should improve faster, which of course is simply not a realistic expectation. Health care had nothing to do with it. This is just a wonderful little scapegoat that the GOP loves to trot out but like many of their claims, hold little water. The slow recovery today is caused by uncertainty in the gridlocked Congress and CONSUMER DEMAND. Please note the emphasis here. Consumer demand is the overriding factor throughout the recovery. And we can see when unemployment dropped it was in line with increases in consumer spending and demand. Reducing health care costs is most certainly not a cause of economic failing. That is a faux “news” piece of rhetoric that just won’t become true no matter how much they wish it would.

      “You are correct that military spending fell in the 1990′s to dangerous levels… left us less prepared and vulnerable to the 911 attacks”

      Sorry but your logic does not reflect reality once again. The 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with reduction in military spending but poor communication between intelligence agencies. GW was also told by Clinton to watch bin Ladin and al Qaeda but he chose to focus his attention on Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

      “debt did rise during GW administration as it did under Reagan in the 1980′s. However, a major cause was winning the Cold War in the 80′s and winning the two Mideastern Wars after 911 during the Bush years.”

      Okay, I’m just going to have to laugh at you for this one. Reagan didn’t “win” the Cold War. Nothing would have happened without Gorbachev. HE instituted the reforms in the USSR that led to the policy changes that resulted in the Cold War ending. And GW did NOT win any war. Please do not tell me you believe the “mission accomplished” claim by GW. OBAMA ended the Iraq War and will finish out the was in Afghanistan. I’m going to have to go a bit out on a limb here and say if you truly believe these things then your information is coming from a highly ill-informed source and you should really consider searching out a new one.

      “Cause and effect – the Dems lose the house in 2010. Maybe they can lose the Senate this year and we finally get some real economic growth.”

      Once again you are taking a VERY simplistic view of cause and effect. The immediate changing of political parties have nothing to do with economic changes. No matter how much you wish to make this relationship work, it just won’t. You are not taking into account the HUGE impacts from the Great Recession, the massive expenses left over from the unchecked spending under GW, and the spending actions taken to stop the recession from turning into a depression.

      Nothing is as simple as the political rhetoric would like people to believe. Dan you’ve been sucked in by the Right’s version of events and it has left you wanting. The claims you’re making just don’t hold up to scrutiny. I know you want so badly to have them be true but they never will be.

      Good luck with finding a more informed path. I truly hope you find it.

      • Loving the debate. Also don’t forget a lot of the slow growth in 1993 was due to drought in southeast and floods in the midwest. Economist said personal income would have risen without those natural disasters.
        Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

      • ajones> Oh that’s right! I did not remember that at all. Didn’t even come to mind. See… it’s amazing how short our memories are sometimes isn’t it?

  5. I would argue that once the GOP took control in 1995 the perception changed and businesses felt comfortable investing knowing they had a business friendly congress that won’t change the rules on them and punish them for success.

    Bush had added pressures of an nation recovering from 911. We were at war. I don’t remember alot of budget discipline during past war periods.

    So now you blame the america people of being to stupid to understand Obama’s master plan when the GOP took the house last year.

    Slow recovery due to gridlock in congress? Really… Maybe its Obama constant drumbeat of demonizing successful businesses and successful people. The President sets the tone and people react. His tone is anti-business and people elected the GOP at the mid-year election. I think people feel comfortable with Gridlock this past year because it stopped Obama’run away failed policies.

    You say 911 happened due to poor communications between intelligiences agencies. These are the agencies that Clinton cut. So we had major intelligence gaps.

    Clinton had a shot at Bin Ladin but didn’t have the guts to take him out. Then left Bush with a depleted intelliegence organization. So since you are saying Obama had to rebuild the economy – I can say Bush had to rebuild the military (which cost money) which was in its worse shape since the Cold War. Bush didn’t focus on Iraq until after Afghanstan. Also, are you going to say we would be better off with Saddum still in power? Then maybe we should not have the changes recently that Obama has been promoting in the Mideast. Aren’t there riots and kilings everywhere.

    Reagan forced the Soviets into a position of weakness by our military build up. They were forced to change because their economy was crumbling. Do you really think out of the goodness of their heart the powerful figures in Russia would give up their control. They were force to the cliff by us.

    If you think I have been sucked in by some Right Wing version of events – it is clear you are following some overblown Keynesian theory where you chase some balance between taxes and government created demand. Let the free market work.

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