While I agree with much of what he said, it cannot be ignored that the hedonistic tendencies he discussed by Jeff Deist in his Contra Krugman speech “The Single Greatest Economic Myth” did not mention that Republican policies over the last half century have included slashing regulations which prevented baldfaced lies by the media (such as the fairness doctrine), “live for tomorrow” lending practices, cut taxes for the rich, increased spending on the military, refusal to pay the nations bills, the introduction of the medicare modernization act (which allowed healthcare prices to skyrocket) and the birth of the same lie about all these actions being the fault of those impoverished due to Reagan’s “Trickle down economics”.Those policies may seem more palatable to the uneducated…even though the end result of those policies only increased expenses while gutting government revenue even further.
Instead, Mr. Deist chose to damn LBJ for attempting to create a single payer healthcare system which would have cut healthcare costs in half, increasing the ability for desperately needed income to families. Had it been permitted, this would have greatly increased the amount of tax dollars that might have been available for additional revenue. Face it: Cutting medical bills in half would have, at the very least, increased household income by at least 30%, making a tax increase of up to 10% still less of a pain in the wallet than what Reaganomics did later.
As it is, LBJ did what he could, and Jeff Deist damned him for his failure to get Republicans to think beyond an immediate impact on their wallets.
Since healthcare is perhaps the single greatest expense of any household, allowing costs to skyrocket without any attempt to control them significantly impacted the available revenue for the American government.
Instead, both parties launched a campaign of annually increasing the defense budget, which now stands at nearly triple that of the next most powerful nation. While doing this, using the military as corporate muscle (attacking other countries at the drop of a hat) became the rule of the day, regardless of the expense.
Construction, wherever possible, be it roads, bridges, or public housing, should be done using 3D printers, AirCrete or other low cost additive manufacturing methods. The goal should be low construction costs, low materials cost, and low or no maintenance costs. Its true this will limit how many people are hired to work on the nations infrastructure, but the nation has reached a point where jobs have become secondary to the need to pay its bills.
It is no accident that we are on the precipice of a global revolution in technology. Smarter machines will inevitably lead to fewer jobs that are available for human beings. While the Republican party has spent decades promising that lost jobs can and will be replaced by training in new technologies, they have also spent those same decades working to reduce spending on the education required to obtain employment in the new technologies. Instead, they have worked tirelessly in pushing a Robin Hood in reverse hedonistic economic policy which cannot end well for the collective Sheriff’s of Nottingham.
When the piper comes to be paid, the first to carry the torches will almost certainly be the very people that Republicans betrayed the most – their followers.
So Republicans have a choice: They can stop playing games with trade wars, tighten the nations belt, and start trying to build an economy dedicated to paying a token amount on the debt…or they can wait for their followers to come after them with ropes.
If they DO decide to do the smart thing, and follow the suggestions I’ve made…there is one other huge expense they can save money on: Education.
I know that I’ve damned Republicans for cutting education expenses, but that’s because they didn’t bother to think beyond the end of their greedy little noses. The nation will need to put in place a digital communications system to deliver all education beyond about the 6th grade. This will not only increase the ability of states to lower education expenses but also allow them greater control over the curriculum. One state: Texas, currently rules the nations education curriculum through the iron fist of its state education department.
By taking education digital, the cost of books drops dramatically, and this opens the door to greater freedom of choice by states.
This isn’t suggesting that the United States government be the sole provider of internet services, but it SHOULD take charge of creating a digital infrastructure that private internet service providers can use to expand the delivery of services. This approach would recognize the internet for what it is: A necessary 21st century utility. By making this a public/private utility, the need for providers to throttle back services for small customers to provide greater bandwidth for larger ones will vanish.
These are not the only things that need to be done, of course, but they are a beginning. A more radical approach (which, at this point is needed) would involve nationalizing a few industries in order to lower energy costs and hold banks accountable.
What is really needed, of course, is that we take all these ideas (including the more radical ones suggested) and combine them with the four constitutional changes required to defend the nation from ever again facing this madness.
Failing all that: Pass just one constitutional Amendment – Legalize Secession.
Those of us on the left coast will get along just fine without the policies promoted by right wing shock jocks.. Look at it this way: Republican States already hate our guts. If we leave, it would be no big deal. They would be happy to see us go and we would be happy to be rid of them.
We can work out some sort of treaty deal after the right wing finishes running the rest of the nation into the dirt.