Democrats Should Always Frame Government Spending As Public Assistance and Public Investment
Democrats Should Always Frame Republican Hostility to Government Spending As the Looting of Public Assets, As Abolishing the Rules of the Road, and As Declaring to Everybody, You're On Your Own… You Know, For Kids!
Obama's Presidential Address on financial reform this morning was not half bad in regard to framing good government and public expenditure as assistance and investment:
But the Republicans are voluntarily, even eagerly, exposing their vulnerability to the damaging negative framing of their Deficit Hawkishness as nothing more than a desire to indulge in crony capitalism and the infantile fantasy that you can have a civilization while eating it, too. (This doesn't even begin to mine the rich veins of pork-stuffed hypocrisy available in this regard.)
In the Republican's opposing address this morning, Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) criticized Obama and Democrats on the budget deficit.
Demonstrating straight-up economic illiteracy (a nice complement to the climate change denialist, drill baby drill, Creationist, Bell Curve, supply-side, trickle-down, efficient-markets, abstinence-only know-nothingism that suffuses Republicanism more generally) Lee insists that cutting federal spending in the midst of a faint fragile recovery from a shattering epochal economic meltdown would magically improve employment.
His slogan? "Less spending, more jobs: it's that simple."
Yes, they're that simple-minded.
Earlier today Steve Benen provided one of many proliferating variations on this theme:
As states and municipalities continue to struggle with budget shortfalls, schools are being forced to let teachers go. Last year's stimulus bill saved over 400,000 teaching jobs, but it's a new year, and it will take another effort to prevent a massive number of teacher layoffs. Estimates vary, but my accounts, we're talking about 100,000 to 300,000 job losses in public schools nationwide. Democratic policymakers hope to do just that. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) are, with the White House's enthusiastic support, pushing the Keep Our Educators Working Act, which calls for $23 billion in emergency support to preserve these education jobs.
Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner explained the opposition's position on the legislation just yesterday:
The American people recognize that Washington's out-of-control spending is hurting our economy and stifling job creation… Giving states another $23 billion in federal education money simply throws more money into taxpayer-funded bailouts when we should be discussing why we aren't seeing the results we need from the billions in federal dollars that are already being spent..
Benen points out that Fox News is running with this framing of the Administration's support for teachers as "a bailout." It would appear that this really is the official Republican line here.
Needless to say, it isn't at all clear that reality is particularly inclined to support the Republican line that "we aren’t seeing the results we need from the billions in federal dollars that are already being spent," but more flabbergastingly, it isn't at all clear that Republicans really think they can tar government support for indispensable struggling teachers with the brush of "bailouts" for irresponsible Wall Street Bailouts (bailouts that, however horrendous I find them personally, on top of everything else, seem to have "worked" by some reasonable measures, kinda sorta as advertised).
Ultimately, what we have here really does seem to be the faith (the delusive actual belief?) on the part of Republicans that government spending really is always the worst possible outcome, even when it is directed toward the provision of indispensable services, even when the alternative is the dismantlement of working civilization, at least ideologically speaking.
Benen's piece continues on with this quote:
Doug Thornell, a spokesperson for DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), said in a statement, "Yesterday, job-killing House Republicans blocked a bipartisan plan that would help get more Americans back to work. Today, it appears John Boehner and House Republicans want to stand in the way of important funds that would help save teachers' jobs. It is unbelievable that John Boehner, who begged his Conference to support Bush's bailout of Wall Street banks, has the nerve to use teachers and children as pawns in his cynical game to regain the trust of the right wing of his party."
As I said, it looks like Democrats are getting better at framing this stuff.
It helps, you know, being right and all.