election'08: the race to clean the place
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Ronald Reagan has been dead four years. Is Reaganism about to near its own demise?
The signs of a final rebuke to Reaganomics, trickle down economics and the stuffing of fat cats coffers or--whatever you want to call it--may lie within the rhetoric of Joe the Plumber.
Sen. John McCain mocked the answer Sen. Barack Obama haphazardly uttered the Ohio plumber that Americans should spread the wealth. McCain not-so-subtlety labeled him a socialist, yet in times like these, the idea, in itself, that Americans should band together resonates more than continuing the same tired economic agenda of the past eight years and, by extension, the past 28.
An article in today's Boston Globe lays out the five questions the election may say about Americans, with number one contemplating an end to the Reagan Revolution.
During the heyday of the Democrats' New Deal coalition, which dominated politics from 1932 until 1980, the idea of spreading the wealth around was hardly political poison - it was the backbone of the party's economic philosophy. Since 1980 and the "Reagan Revolution," however, using tax policies to redistribute income has been widely viewed as an outmoded approach that chokes off economic growth.Bob Schrum, the Democratic strategist and architect of Al Gore and John Kerry's losing presidential bids, also writes in The Week about the fall of Reaganism.
It is no longer enough to utter conservative epithets like “liberal” and “tax.” McCain’s implication that Obama wants to “spread the wealth” around rather than create wealth is dissonant at a time when Republicans are presiding over the greatest wealth destruction in history. Meantime, Obama has brilliantly pounded two numbers into the national consciousness—$250,000 (you don’t face a tax increase if you earn less) and 95 percent (the percentage of Americans who will receive a tax cut under Obama’s proposal).Shrum smartly cautions Republicans to not merely mimic Democratic, but to rethink what conservatism means. He continues by saying the GOP can either do this or simply repackage the same product around Sarah Palin in 2012.
This choice, of course, will depend on the size of the drubbing in the House and Senate more than the likely loss of the White House.
If, indeed, the era of redistributing wealth toward the rich is over, it should be natural to assume an age of redistribution back to the middle and lower class is imminent. Some call it a new age of Progressivism.
In any case, it could be the aspect of the possible Obama presidency that surprise many moderates and independents who vote for him tomorrow--he really is a liberal!