Ron Craig continues his assault on our collective intelligence with his propaganda-filled letter of Feb. 13. Beating the big government drum has been GOP fodder for years. They see it as a great evil that must be eradicated. They blame just about every ill this nation suffers on big government and its out of control spending. Problem is, they are the only ones who believe it and they have no historical data to back it up. The size of government as a percentage of gross domestic product has risen just 10 points in the last 40 years from 30 percent in 1973 to 40 percent currently. The majority of that 10 point add on came from the Reagan and G.W. Bush administrations. Government spending at both the federal and state levels has been in decline since 2010 even as Republicans continue to lament governments out of control spending. There should come a point when the GOP realizes we all know they are not being truthful when they repeat this propaganda but repeat it they do.
Craig wants us to believe that government workers are way overpaid and that is why we are in such economic trouble. This is another GOP myth kept alive by lies and misinformation. He goes on to tell us that government workers make twice as much as those who support them. He says this is unfair. Im not sure how that is even relevant except to say that non-government workers do indeed need a raise. Since 1978 workers in this country saw their incomes rise by just 5.7 percent while corporate CEOs saw their compensation rise by 725 percent during the same span. Now that is unfair!
According to the Congressional Budget Office, when similar jobs at government and private industry are filled by those with similar education there is about a 17 percent compensation advantage on average for government jobs. While Craig may see this as out-of-control spending I see it as private sector wages needing to catch up with reality. Labor in this country has taken it on the chin for decades now. The GOP has put much effort into suppressing unions and the workers they represent in favor of helping big business.
Once the evils of big government and out-of-control spending have been explained to us, Ron Craig goes on to tell us how we can fix it all. Just get government out of the way, deregulate and privatize. This is the grand plan of todays GOP and they spare nothing in their quest for it. They claim a rising tide will raise all if only we turn loose the private sector. Problem is, the only people who believe this are politicians and so-called conservatives.
Mainstream economists without a political agenda know that our economy is consumer driven. It is based on demand, not regulation or size of government. We are where we are today because big business took advantage of deregulation and government incentives to build a bubble that they could not sustain. When it collapsed, we the people are the ones who suffered and continue to suffer the most. Big business has long since recovered, the stock market is surging and manufacturing is on the rise. All that is needed is demand from the consumer and that is not achieved by shrinking government or deregulation. How Craig, Jaime Herrera Buetler or any other Republican can claim otherwise goes to show their complete disregard for the economy in favor of increasing corporate profits.
The only ones who benefit from a small, weak government are big business. History has shown us that time and again. Until the assault on labor subsides we will not see the consumer demand needed to sustain our economy. You cant continue to strip away wages and resources and expect the consumer to keep pace. Logic trumps politics every time.