The Republican strategy is simple. Generate as much fear and cynicism as possible and suppress voter turnout this fall.
As bad as the economy is, the GOP would benefit politically from it getting worse, not better. If it isn’t actually getting worse, they can at least say it’s getting worse — or fear it’s getting worse. Even if it’s gradually getting better — they can still say it’s worse.
There’s nothing new about that.
According to Republican politicians, we’re supposed to fear many things: including every minority group (and there are a lot of those).
Of course we should also fear the budget deficit.
There’s nothing new about that either.
They’ve been singing this song since the 70’s — despite the fact that Republicans contribute to deficit spending as much as Democrats.
Economists say that government spending is needed now, more than ever, in order to stimulate the economy. Economists say the time to reduce the deficit is later, when we have peace, prosperity, and growth. Economists say that reducing the deficit now would make things much worse.
Republican politicians ignore this. They know that fear works better in elections.
It’s hard to fear abstract things like federal budget deficits. So we hear things like passing on debt to our children, or even losing our freedom, and our cherished constitution (I don’t really see the connection, but I’ve heard a lot of people try to make it).
To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, all this talk from ‘economic girly men’ is working (along with the real facts about economic hard times).
There’s a good chance they will, as adults, become members of a birth trough generation, and benefit from being one of the lucky few.
Sure, they may struggle, and the children may not live luxurious childhoods, but think of the opportunity.
Malcolm Gladwell offers a fascinating discussion of birth troughs in Outliers.
He talks about people who were born in the depths of The Great Depression. They had rough childhoods and many spent time overseas, fighting a World War. But the ones who survived prospered in the long run. They had smaller class sizes, got lots of attention, and had less competition for good jobs.
That may be the case now.