Is the Republican Party Brain Dead



By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,   

In his masterful book about American elections, Theodore H. White, described, in the “The Making of the President 1960,” the major differences between America’s two political parties. 

The Republicans, White said, believe that the individual American citizen has an obligation to himself and his community that is as great as, if not greater than, his obligation to the national government. 

The Democrats, according to White, see government as a force for action. 

In the almost 60 years since White wrote his book, many things have changed.  The Republicans talk about the virtues of a smaller, less intrusive government, but government keeps growing — whether run by Republicans or Democrats. 

The Democrats have been increasing the size of the Welfare State with such programs as Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).  In addition, the Democrats use government money to fund activities in such areas as education, transportation, and housing.  Republicans have not been able to stop the growth of government. 

Sixty years ago, in 1957, President Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower proposed a federal budget of $87 billion.  He was criticized for spending too much money.  One of the critics was Arthur Eisenhower, the president’s brother.  When asked to respond to Arthur, the president said that Arthur has been criticizing him (Ike) since Ike was five years old. 

Today, the federal budget is not $87 billion per year.  The budget is over $4 trillion per year, about 40 times (4,000 percent) more than 60 years ago. 

The Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, is addicted to spending. 

The Republicans have lost sight of smaller, less intrusive government and, like Democrats, keep feeding the Welfare State. 

The national debt, the consequence of years of deficit spending, has grown enormously.  In 1837, at the end of Andrew Jackson’s presidency, there was no national debt.  By 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president, the national debt reached $1 trillion.  Today, the national debt is $20 trillion and growing. 

Government benefits are popular and hard to curtail.  Republicans know that cutting such programs as Social Security, Medicare, and ObamaCare, will arouse voter hostility, resulting in Republican losses at the polls. 

At some point, the Republicans must have the courage to tell the American people that ever-growing debt and ever-increasing government spending will harm the nation.  Republicans must tell the American people that restraint is needed.  Budgets must be cut, taxes increased, or both done. 

President Donald Trump has an opportunity to show leadership in economic matters.  But after 10 months in office, he has spent considerable time criticizing others, especially people in his own party like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). 

Trump has also criticized the news media.  That may make plenty of people feel good.  But there is an old axiom is journalism:  “Never get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” 

Generally, debt doesn’t matter — until is does.  Greece is an example.  The country kept spending and spending until other European nations offered a bailout coupled with an austerity program for Greek citizens. 

If Republicans in America don’t act — Republicans now have control of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House — the United States will end up like Greece.  Individuals, at home and abroad, will not buy American bonds to finance American debt.  Spending will have to be cut, unemployment will rise, and the stock market is likely to crash. 

A country that cannot pay its bills is in real trouble.  An individual holding American bonds (American debt) will want to sell them, leading to a drop in the share price of American bonds.  Why hold a bond if an individual thinks he will not get his bond money back plus interest? 

To restore confidence in the dollar, the Federal Reserve, to attract needed money, will have to raise interest rates. 

The Republicans have a chance to restructure American’s finances.  The odds are that nothing will happen.  If nothing happens, the Republicans can be considered brain dead.

Richard Colman, a biochemist, received masters and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.  He is the founder and president of Biomed Inc.,  a biotechnology, publishing, and informatics company.  He lives in Orinda, California.  Mr. Colman is the editor and publisher of The Icon, which covers Contra Costa County in California.  The Icon is a printed publication and an online publication.  Online, The Icon can be found at < 

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