Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Livin' In A Dream World

The 2016 Republican Presidential Tour is now performing in the key state of Florida. They have chosen the ever popular Disneyworld to wheel out their latest hits. The theme for this musical extravaganza is the Economic Growth Summit hosted by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

You remember Governor Scott. He’s the guy who passed legislation requiring all unemployment and food stamp applicants to first pass a drug test before receiving benefits. I emailed Governor Scott awhile back and asked if he was requiring that Florida based corporate CEOs and farmers pass drug tests before receiving their tax abatements and subsidies. I haven’t heard back yet. I’m sure he’s busy.

But I digress…

Unfortunately if you listen to the playlist the headliners are offering today they sound an awful lot like the old classics. The key to economic growth they wail, is lower taxes. Cut the corporate tax, revamp the tax code and lower personal income taxes on the top earners and the bounty will fall like manna from heaven on the middle class and working poor. No doubt that is music to the ears of the well-heeled members of the audience.
The problem with this economic melody is that it’s been played less than stellar reviews from the masses.

I’m sure you remember that old standby “The Bush Tax Cuts.” For ten years the Bush Tax Cuts stood at the top of the charts. It had a good run but all it produced was a tanking economy, massive job loss and canyon sized dose of income inequality. The rich were able to buy all the latest releases while the middle class could barely afford the electricity that powered their tinny sounding radios. Republicans are trying to remix the old sound with a new arraignment but it’s coming out flat. The sound is particularly off key when mixed with some of the old “small government, reduce spending” chords that we have come to expect from this group.

Take former Texas governor Rick Perry for example. He used to play with a group out of Austin but he’s going solo now. He ran afoul of the law a while back and has been indicted on a corruption beef. But he’s still belting out the hits as he awaits his trial. Rock on! His latest ballad sounds just like one of his old hits. He croons a sad song about the evils of big government. He just wants the feds to leave him alone. The funny thing is when Perry was playing in Austin his great state of Texas took in more in federal funds than any state save California.

Even though Rick has left to make to his own way his old band mates are still singing the same tunes. Texas has been deluged with torrential rains and flooding. The lead singer that replaced Rick is begging the feds for more resources to clean up the mess. How are you going to pay for the increased resources if you keep cutting tax revenues?

Then list of performers at this concert is incredible. But the songs sound so similar it's hard to tell one rocker from another.

Lindsey Graham was supposed to be in Orlando but he had another gig. He’s been playing the war drums for as long as anyone can remember. His latest is a new rendition of the same old song: “Let’s Blow Stuff Up.” Lindsey is upset that the show in Iraq was cut short. He wants to station at least 10,000 troops there…forever. “You can never leave” he warbles with that southern twang. The problem here is troops cost money. Lots of it. So how do you feed, clothe, arm and train these guys if you keep singing about cutting tax revenues.

You get the picture. These guys keep singing about the glory days when Reagan was knocking out one hit after another; captivating audiences with his folksy charm. But there are a lot more artists coming in from overseas now and it’s hard to reach the top of the charts playing the same old songs.

This Economic Growth Summit offers little more than a different rendition of the golden oldies. The fantasy of revisiting the glory days of the past.

Perhaps that is why they chose the Magic Kingdom for a venue.

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