Rmuse reports on Republicans' trickle-down failure, pointing out the home truth that "Republicans are incapable of coming up with any new ideas whatsoever to help the American people, at least over the past thirty years:"
It is particularly true when it comes to the economy where, for the thirty years since Ronald Reagan was president, their only policy proposal to grow the economy or create jobs is either deregulation or giving more tax cuts to the rich. What Americans should finally have worked out for themselves is that the only thing that does not create jobs more than deregulation is tax cuts for the rich. If the Republicans' assertion over the past thirty years was even semi-valid, the Bush administration's eight year folly with unfunded tax cuts for the rich should have created an entire population of millionaires and economic growth the entire world envied. Instead the economy crashed and tens-of-millions of Americans lost their jobs; the rich came out wealthier than ever.
On a smaller level, there are several "state-level catastrophes" to consider:
What is stunning, really, is that Republicans like Kansas Governor Sam Brownback have witnessed national economic growth and job creation under President Obama, and still went in the opposite direction and enacted monumental unfunded tax cuts for the rich he promised would make Kansas the national model to follow because of brilliant conservative governance.
Rmuse writes that "every American alive knows the economic recovery has been ongoing for six years and everyone but the rich are getting poorer and poorer with no end in sight:"
Over the past few months when a Republican talks about income inequality, and admits that it is a real problem in this country, they are unwittingly admitting that they know their cherished trickle-down economic policy is a riotous scam. [...] When Jeb Bush made the mistake of noting "that wages in America were not keeping pace with the growing wealth among the richest one percent of Americans," he was admitting that it is due trickle-down economics.
Meanwhile, tools like Jeb Bush believe that the retirement age should be raised "to 68 or 70:"
"We need to look over the horizon and begin to phase in, over an extended period of time, going from 65 to 68 or 70," he added. "And that, by itself, will help sustain the retirement system for anybody under the age of 40."
At the same time, Bush said that he would be open to cutting back benefits for wealthy people and their beneficiaries, a reform proposal known as means testing.
"I think it ought to be considered, for sure," Bush said.
Salon sees ominous overtones in overtures like this as a welcome to feudalism, as the 1% destroys the middle class
The idea of a property-owning democracy is no longer the reality in the United States. Edward Wolff finds that the wealthiest 10 percent own 90.9 percent of all stocks and mutual funds, 94.3 percent of financial securities but only 26.5 percent of the debt. For the middle class, their home makes up 62.5 percent of their limited wealth. (The bottom 40 percent have negative wealth.) [...]
The vast majority of Americans own no assets, but are instead laden with debt. The social safety net is being shredded by plutocrats and their political henchmen. Conservatives say workers should instead get benefits from their (preferably privately owned) employers. But those companies are supporting workers less and less: Defined benefit pensions are a thing of the past, and even basic retirement plans are in decline. And that's just for those who are lucky enough to have jobs with benefits.
It boils down to something quite unhealthy, as "A large portion of Americans now have two choices: Become servants to the rich for minimal wages, or starve to death:"
America has fallen into neo-feudalism: A wealthy capital-owning class exists behind a servile class with no assets, and only a life of drudgery ahead of them. The master-servant relationship will only further degrade social trust and civic values. Americans can't see themselves as equals in the political sphere when large portions are consigned to wait upon the whims of new aristocracy. Conservative politics relies on the middle class making a devil's bargain, believing they have more in common with the rich than the poor. It won't be long before that facade crumbles.
Speaking of the aristocracy, Salon's Sean Illing looks at conservative CEO presidents, noting that "popular trope on the right which argues that businessmen make good presidents:"
In addition to being untrue, this view perpetuates a host of misconceptions about government. As the presidential race kicks into gear, it's worth dismantling this dangerous fallacy.
First, America isn't a business. Businesses exist to turn a profit, to create wealth for shareholders; that's their only reason for being. Countries exist to preserve a cultural identity, a way of life, of which the economy is a part. Conservatives often argue that this is an abstract distinction; that, practically speaking, overseeing a corporation and deciding national economic policy are fundamentally the same.
It is "a kind of truism for Republicans," Illing writes, "is that maximizing profits in the private sector is comparable to managing a prosperous economy. Well, it's not. Such confusion is born of the belief that the country is, essentially, a corporation." He also reminds us that "two of the twentieth century's worst presidents, Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush, were former businessmen; their legacies are the Great Depression and the Iraq War, respectively:"
Recently, moreover, presidential historians were asked to rank America's presidents; the results were revealing. Of the top 10, only one, Harry Truman, had any meaningful business experience, and what experience he did have was disastrous. At the bottom of the list, however, are people like Warren Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce and John Tyler, all of whom were successful businessmen. None of this proves definitively that a businessman can't be a good president, but it's certainly instructive.
Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, he notes, "is the most recent Republican to flaunt her corporate credentials as proof of her political potential:"
Fiorina, it has to be said, is a punch line; she'll never be president. But the point is that she's only welcomed in the GOP on account of her business background (which is actually terrible). And that's the problem.
Business acumen is a terrible indicator of political ability, and for obvious reasons. Business and politics are separate spheres; they require different skill sets. CEOs are despots; they don't persuade so much as dictate and they're more inclined to fire those with whom they disagree. Presidents live in a non-zero-sum context, where cooperation is crucial and consensus is critical. Good presidents also tend to care about different things than successful CEOs. The only metric that matters in private industry is profit; this attracts a certain kind of person and cultivates a certain kind of disposition.
It can't be said enough: the president is a public servant, not a private executive; only Republicans are confused about that. America isn't a business, but the GOP treats it like one. They confuse capitalist virtues with civic virtues and the result is exactly what you'd expect: a government by and for Big Business.
TruthOut narrows this focus to the 1% of the 1%, or "the top 31,000 or so donors, roughly equal to one percent of one percent of the U.S. population:"
The money coming from this select demographic is increasing and it is leaning more conservative. What's more, even within the top .01 percent, the donors at the very peak are contributing more and more of the money. [...] In 2014, all donors chipped in $4.01 billion; the top One Percent of the One Percenters accounted for about 28.6 percent of that.
It takes a peculiar type of Red-State-colored glasses to not see that as a problem.