Focusing where it counts by tristero

Focusing where it counts

by tristero

I sincerely hope that the internecine war among Democrats ends soon. Because the struggle between the victimized BLAHS and the evil BLEHS for the soul of the Democratic party is so absurdly irrelevant as to be nearly insane.*

The real problem is the Republican party. They're planning to starve us to death. If, that is, their leader doesn't get us all killed first:

Call it the Republican two-step: redistribute upward, then sideways. The biggest beneficiaries are corporations and the rich regardless of where they are. But under the Republican plans, half of these big cuts have to be paid for in the first 10 years (the other half will be added to the national debt, increasing it by $1.5 trillion). And these “pay-fors,” as they’re called, are predominantly aimed at blue states.

As Representative Lee Zeldin, Republican of New York, lamented, the tax bills are “taking money from a state like New York to pay for deeper tax cuts elsewhere.”

Republicans’ red-state bias may seem like just more of the same. After all, their last big legislative drive — the Senate health bill, Graham-Cassidy, which failed in September — also sought a major transfer of resources from blue states that had done a good job expanding health insurance to red states that hadn’t. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, derided that bill as “petty politics” — “just taking the Obamacare money, keeping it and taking it from Democratic states and giving it to Republican states.”

But this nakedly partisan federalism is far from politics as usual. Parties generally try to favor segments of society that support them — and Republicans’ bias toward big business and rich donors certainly fits that pattern. Yet major efforts by a dominant party to significantly redistribute resources toward states that support it are in fact extremely rare. Indeed, one of the last standout examples dates to the decades after the Civil War, when Republicans used the proceeds of high tariffs that aided Northern industry (while hurting the solidly Democratic South) to pay generous pensions to Union veterans concentrated in Republican states.

Because the Republicans’ most prized constituencies, corporations and the rich, are actually more prevalent in blue states, the overall geographic distribution of the beneficiaries of the current Republican tax bills is mixed. But the growing signs that policies are being written to impose costs on states behind enemy lines are worrisome. A new spoils system based on state partisanship wouldn’t just poison our politics. It could also cripple our economic future.

* Replace BLAHS with the name of the 2016 Democratic candidate you believe is a saint the likes of which has never walked the earth. Replace BLEHS with the name of the 2016 Democratic candidate you think is the most hideous human being this side of Pol Pot. Choose whomever you like for either role.