Tuesday, February 22, 2011



Yes we're used to Republicans advocating for policies which hurt the most vulnerable, but their active attempts to completely destroy their state economies are something new.

The link in Atrios's post goes to a Think Progress compilation of actions by Republican governors, and I'm sure you pretty much know them by heart: tax cuts for the rich and businesses despite budget shortfalls, draconian cuts to services for ordinary citizens, rejections of federal funds for high-speed rail, etc., etc.

These certainly do seem like "active attempts to completely destroy their state economies." But isn't that risky? You'd expect these governors to pursue far-right objectives, but why deliberately throw budgets out of balance with huge tax cuts?

I'm not sure the governors care. I think they believe they benefit as long as there's a sense of economic crisis -- assuming they can continue to blame someone else. As long as Democrats and liberals have any power anywhere, these governors may actually believe they benefit more from an economic crisis than they would from balanced budgets. They may think they can just keep cutting services (and cutting taxes for the privileged), and never be blamed for the suffering that ensues, because (they believe) Democrats and liberals can be blamed permanently for everything.

It's been argued that Fidel Castro operates this way -- he wants to be at odds with the U.S., and he does something to offend the U.S. every time there's any hint of a thaw in the two countries' relations. That makes the U.S. tighten the screws again -- and Castro can blame any privation in Cuba on the Americans.

If I'm right about this, Republicans may be past the point of caring whether the national economic ship ever rights itself, or whether the states ever do. As long as the public shares the Republicans' enemies, then economic pain can be said to be Democrats' and liberals' fault -- forever. The solution is always more Republicanism, but the evil liberal saboteurs never let the good Republicans win.

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