If one were to sum up the Republican Party's general stance on economics, it would go something like this: Debt is bad, government is bad. Tax cuts are good, big corporations are good.
Sadly, there isn't much more to it than that.
Despite the menacing language used to illustrate their point ("Look at X government agency wasting your tax dollars on poor people/minorities/children/women's health!), Republicans should now be deemed a literal threat to the solvency of the United States. Their policies are so self evidently stupid that if they truly believe them, it is a miracle any of them managed to graduate from high school. Take failed presidential candidate Ben Carson's latest musings in an article published in The Hill, titled "What Happened to the America Dream?".
In it, Ben Carson argues the following: in a past era, Jim the Butcher didn't need social security to help him retire. He just put money away and lived the American dream. Now, because of fancy government programs, the United States is in debt, and must get out of it pronto so that our children can have a decent future. Therefore it must cut spending in every single government agency. To create economic growth, we must then create an entrepreneurial environment that promotes risk taking and capital investment.
"Of course, this writer realizes creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurial risk-taking and capital investment will invigorate the most powerful economic engine the world has ever known and help solve some of these problems," wrote Carson. "And that rectifying a draconian tax code and eliminating unnecessary regulations are vital components of a more comprehensive plan of economic recovery, but it all begins with basic fiscal responsibility. Do not spin what you do not have; as Solomon, the wisest man in history, stated, “The borrower is servant to the lender.”"
Or in other words, government taking on debt to invest in its people is bad, but people taking on huge amounts of private debt is good.
Never mind the fact that we have seen this ideology fail spectacularly over the past few decades as private debt has increased dramatically, helping to create the economic crash in 2008 -- or that lack of government spending has seen America's infrastructure crumble, or that income inequality has risen at an unprecedented rate, or that 46.5 million Americans are deemed food insecure, or that Americans have some of the worst health care outcomes in the industrialized world.
These are all outcomes created by Reaganite economics that were continued by Bill Clinton, exacerbated by George W. Bush, and only slightly slowed down by President Obama (and for those of you who doubt it, the tax rate under Obama is lower than it was under Ronald Reagan). The country is in huge amounts of debt primarily because George W. Bush spent trillions of dollars on a war with Iraq while passing through insane tax cuts for the wealthy, then failed to regulate Wall St as it pillaged the country with predatory lending practices and legalized gambling.
But in Republican fantasy land, they are all problems created by bleeding heart socialists who want to provide the country with a decent public education and clean drinking water.
"Political courage will be required to do what is necessary to save our nation from financial ruin," wrote Carson. "But in the long run, a much healthier society will emerge, and the American dream will be preserved for our posterity."
And we all know what political courage from people like Ben Carson looks like -- selling out to racist billionaire real estate tycoons with a history of financial ruin and shady business ventures. Or in other words, the American nightmare we should be running away from.