The Rise of the Wrecking-Ball Right
Robert B. Reich
Recently I debated a conservative Republican who insisted the best way to revive the American economy was to shrink the size of government. When I asked him to explain his logic, he said, simply, "Government is the source of all our problems." When I noted government spending had brought the economy out of the previous eight economic downturns, including the Great Depression, he disagreed. "The Depression ended because of World War II," he pronounced, as if government had played no part in it.
A few days later I was confronted by another conservative Republican who blamed the nation's high unemployment rate on the availability of unemployment benefits. "If you pay someone not to work, they won't," he said. When I pointed out that unemployment benefits couldn't possibly be the cause of joblessness because there are now about five job seekers for every job opening, he scoffed: "Government always makes things worse."
Government-haters seem to be everywhere.
Congressional Republicans, now led by House Majority Leader
Taming the deficit isn't their aim. They rejected President Obama's offer to cut
Where did this wrecking crew come from? And why do so many Americans seem to support them? To answer "the tea party" begs the question, because the tea party itself is a product of this rage.
Credit the economic fears and insecurities now felt by a broad swath of the public who want to find a villain for what they're going through.
It's no coincidence that the emergence of the tea party coincided with the
At the same time, most of what government does that helps average people is now so deeply woven into the thread of daily life that it's no longer recognizable as government. Think of the indignant voters who showed up at congressional town meetings to protest Obama's health-care bill, shouting, "Don't take away my
A recent paper by
Add in the relentlessly snide government-hating and baiting of
The final critical ingredient has been the abject failure of the
One would have thought the last few years of mine disasters, exploding oil rigs, nuclear meltdowns, malfeasance on
Yet the case has not been made. Perhaps that's because, even under the Democrats, the interests of average people have not been sufficiently attended to.
- The Rise of the Wrecking-Ball Right
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- Why Small Businesses Aren't Fueling Job Creation in This Recovery
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- Handling Big Contradictions
- How the Crippled Housing Market Affects Job Seekers
- Think Startups are Fueling the Recovery? Not So Much
- Tax Havens: Shady Deals
- As The 'Mancession' Peters Out, The 'Race-Cession' Is Still Going Strong
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- How Health Care Can Save or Sink America
- Crude Predicament: The Era of Volatile Oil Prices
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- Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks
- Gas Prices Fall for Fifth Consecutive Week
- 6 Ways to Fix the Housing Market
- Momentum Grows for Payroll Tax Cut
- GOP's War on Workers' Rights Undermines the Economy
- The Department of Food Subsidies
- Federal Reserve Forecasts Weaker Growth for 2011 and 2012
- Half Of Americans Suffering While Rich Prosper
- Existing Home Sales Fall 3.8% in May To Lowest Rate in Six Months
- Savings in American Banks Reach Record $1.45 Trillion in May
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- Our Aging World and How It Drives U.S. Economy
- The President Shouldn't Go Over to the Supply Side
- Is 'Made In America' Making a Comeback?
- Most States' GDP Shows Economic Growth, But Causes Vary
- Left Unchecked Debt Problem Could Have Serious Consequences
- Strategic Default: Does It Make Sense for Troubled Homeowners?
- Back Toward a Double Dip
- Something We Can Say With Certitude: The Economy Stinks!
- 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Economy
- Breaking Down the Debt-Ceiling Debate
- Jobs Report Shows Market Still Sputtering
- Recent Glut Of Discouraging Economic Indicators
- Why Home Prices Are Double Dipping
- Washington Plays Chicken With the Market
- A World of Three Reserve Currencies -- Good or Bad?
- Eliot Spitzer's 10 Rules To Fixing the Economy and Corporate Mismanagement
- How Bad Is the Pension Problem?
- Spending Caps Have a Mixed History Dealing with the Deficit
- No Reason to Cheer Drop in Jobless Claims
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- The Case for and Against The TARP Bailout
- To Fix the Budget Deficit Raise Corporate Taxes
- The Battle for the Soul of the GOP
- Why Washington Should Pay Attention to the Economy Here and Now
- Unemployment Jeopardizing U.S. Economic Recovery
- What a Weak Dollar Means for Consumers
- Why Copper Is the Metal to Watch
- On Gas Prices Obama Should Lead or Get Out of the Way
- Putting $4 Gas In Perspective
- Why Congress Cannot Fix Your Gas Prices Pain
- Dear Class of 2011: Good Luck You're Really Going to Need It
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- Wall Street Lobbyists Trying to Sway Tea Party
- The Wageless Recovery
- 9 Things We Learned From the Fed's First Press Conference
- National Debt Crisis Is an Existential Threat
- Standard and Poors Forecast Ammunition in Debt Ceiling Debate
- United States Budget: Money Worries
- China No. 1 in Five Years? Not so Soon
- 5 Economies Worse Off Than the United States
- Beware the Middle Ground of the Great Budget Debate
- What Standard & Poor's U.S. Outlook Downgrade Means
- Medicare Isn't the Problem, It's the Solution
- 5 Numbers That Could Rattle the Recovery
- Why the World Caught a Cold When the U.S. Housing Market Sneezed
- Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich
- Reaganomics? Meet 'Ryan-omics'
- The Frightening Truth About the Economy
- 7 Problems That Could Derail the Global Economic Recovery
- How the National Debt Affects You
- March Jobs Report Brings Good News -- Finally
- Spreading Wealth the Right Way
- 3 Reasons the U.S. Economy Remains in a Coma
- The Biggest Lies About Jobs
- Why Higher Unemployment Might Not Be a Bad Thing
- Not Raising the Debt Ceiling Would Worsen the Fiscal Situation
- We Can't Be Serious About the Debt Ceiling Until We Fix Spending
- It's BACK! The Return of Stagflation
- Federal Budget: Why Triangulation Won't Work
- Quitting Fear Inc
- Republican Obsession with Spending Cuts will Kill Jobs
- What Happens After Quantative Easing 2 Ends?
- What You Really Pay for at the Pump
- Brighter Job Outlook for Class of 2011
- Jobs Report Shows Growth, But Nothing to Shout About
- The Real News on Jobs
- The Democrats' Lame Response to the Republican Shakedown
- The Slow Decline of North America
- 'So Be It' Economics
- St. Louis Mayor Discusses Economy, Education, and Future of Cities
- The Incredible Shrinking Budget Debate
- The Wages of Infamy
- A G-Zero World: New Economic Club Will Produce Conflict Not Cooperation
- The Post-Washington Consensus
- Currency Wars: Then and Now
- Currencies Are Not the Problem
- Far East and Middle East: A Study in Contrasts?
- After Obama, the Deluge
- Obama Tax Proposal Would Only Hurt American Energy Competitiveness
- The Great Jobs Recession Goes On
- America's Corporate Recovery Is More Fragile Than You Think
- Impending Debate Over Spending Cuts Has Nothing to Do With Reviving Economy
- Pruning Farm Subsidies
- The Wealth Gap Around the World
- Obama's Budget Falls Short of Deficit Panel Recommendations
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The Rise of the Wrecking-Ball Right | Politics
(c) 2011 ROBERT REICH; DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.