Saturday, March 19, 2011
I was a Republican in my youth, a fact which still embarrasses me to this day. But every now and then I am reminded that the incredibly evil Republican Party of today is not the GOP of days gone by. Oh, don't get me wrong, they have always been greedy, selfish bastards. Though I failed to see that when I was young, it is obvious in retrospect; we all have 20-20 hindsight.
Although the Republicans of my youth were selfish, they were never so shit-where-you-live shortsighted about their greed. After all, an efficient parasite doesn't weaken its host.
I was reminded of this in reading through the Wikipedia entry on Richard Nixon, (which is impeccably foot-noted). Here are a few quotes from the Economy section of that article -
Under Nixon, direct payments from the federal government to individual American citizens in government benefits (including Social Security and Medicare) rose from 6.3% of the Gross National Product (GNP) to 8.9%. Food aid and public assistance also rose, beginning at $6.6 billion and escalating to $9.1 billion. Defense spending decreased from 9.1% to 5.8% of the GNP. The revenue sharing program pioneered by Nixon delivered $80 billion to individual states and municipalities.
Social spending increased. Defense spending decreased by over a third. Under a Republican President. And the exact opposite is happening under Obama, who masquerades as a Progressive.
Nixon was worried about the effects of increasing inflation and accelerating unemployment, so he indexed Social Security for inflation, and created Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In 1969, he had presented the only balanced budget between 1961 and 1998. However, despite speeches declaring an opposition to the idea, he decided to offer Congress a budget with deficit spending to reduce unemployment.
Ho-ly Shee-yit, a Republican who actually worried about the effects of inflation and unemployment on working Americans. Now, I'm not imagining for one second that he worried about the effects of these things upon the working folks for the sake of the working folks. Hell, no, he worried about those effects because he was smart enough to realize that people cannot buy anything if they don't have money to spend, and if we don't buy things, the economy goes in the tank. Greed yes, but intelligently calculated long-term greed.
As for Spiro Agnew, well, we won't discuss Spiggy, except to note that his name is an anagram for "grow a penis".
Nixon photo courtesy of Wikimedia