Sunday, January 5, 2014

The GOP Cartel

By Stephen Z. Nemo:

As President Obama’s policies move America closer to resembling Euro nanny states with chronic unemployment, meager economic growth, greater government dependency, many American conservatives and Tea Partiers wonder why the Republican Party, to whom they gave the House majority, is so willing to alienate their supporters in order to help Democrats maintain the authoritarian status quo ante.

Chalk it up to America’s two-party political cartel.

Peter Mair, along with colleague Richard Katz, came up with “Cartel Party Theory” in the 1990s. In an article that appeared in a British political science journal, Mair wrote that Britain’s “age of party democracy has passed. Although the parties themselves remain, they have become so disconnected from the wider society, and pursue a form of competition that is so lacking in meaning, that they no longer seem capable of sustaining democracy in its present form.”

Does that sound familiar?

I’ve often argued with my conservative friends that what separates the era of George W. Bush from that of Barack Obama is the scope of their big-government schemes: Bush pushed for and got a $17 billion bailout for Detroit’s automakers. Obama gave Motor City an $80 billion bailout; Bush dealt with the financial crisis of 2008 by asking Congress to pass a $152 billion economic “stimulus” package. Obama got nearly $1 trillion; Bush signed legislation that represented the most significant overhaul of Medicare in its 38-year history, creating a drug prescription program that has cost taxpayers more than a half trillion dollars to date. The expansion of Medicare under Obama’s health care monstrosity will increase Medicare and Medicaid spending by $75 billion to $100 billion annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office; Bush signed the Patriot Act into law, which allowed secret courts to rubber stamp government spying operations on Americans. Obama expanded it under his “Prism” program; Bush nominated Ben Bernanke to head the Federal Reserve, whose easy money policies created a housing bubble and toxic subprime loans. Obama reinstated Bernanke, whose quantitative easing has increased prices at the gas pump and supermarket, creating a stock market bubble for the bursting.

Obama, it seems, is Bush on steroids.

The recent battle between Tea Party and conservative Congressmen with the GOP leadership over defunding ObamaCare underscores the cozy relationship that exists between Washington’s big-government Republican and Democrat cartel members.

According to Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, the recent budget agreement reached between GOP House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murry increases government spending – with miniscule cuts slated to take place sometime in the distant future … if ever.

What concerns de Rugy is that the unfunded liabilities of federal spending were not addressed: “Although these future [unfunded entitlement] commitments are not scored by the Congressional Budget Office… economists and lawmakers of all stripes are coming to recognize the need for some honest accounting of it,” wrote de Rugy in US News and World Report. “A recent paper by Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff for the Mercatus Center argues it adds up to $205 trillion over an infinite time horizon. Other estimates of the fiscal gap range from $54.4 trillion to $86.8 trillion.”

“Many in the GOP establishment, and in particular the donor community, want him [Ryan] to think bigger and make a bid either for president or House leadership,” The Hill reported. Big money truly loves Washington’s bipartisan power cartel.

Democrat Murry and Republican Ryan are interchangeable Pez dispensers. They redistribute your income as though it were candy.

CNN reported that investment giant Goldman Sachs contributed $994,798 to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2012, Goldman Sachs contributed $1,033,204 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, according to

Last February, the New York Times reported Karl Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, would back efforts to “put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.”

That’s an odd observation considering the Tea Party gave Republicans a major victory in the 2010 midterm elections. Establishment Republicans, on the other hand, saddled their moribund party with consecutive establishment losers in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections… and will most likely repeat the trend by nominating blue-state Republican gasbag Chris Christie in 2016.

It angers Republican Party loyalists when I point out, in the words of the late Gov. George Wallace, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats.” For them, American politics is a team sport. It doesn’t matter what the team stands for, only that they move the ball down the field. Problems arise, however, when the team in question continually runs the ball in the direction of the so-called opposition’s goal post.

I have a different take: Republican and Democratic cartel politicians are on the same team. “We the People” are the opposing team that refuses to suit up and take the field.

Frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn if Karl Rove’s GOP wins control of Congress in 2014. My main concern is that Tea Party candidates continue challenging the GOP’s cartel politicians in the Republican primaries and beyond.

Whether it’s OPEC or Mexico’s deadly Los Zetas gang, cartels are criminal organizations whose prime interest is to shake down the innocent and secure its monopoly on power by whatever means necessary.

Establishment Republicans would have you believe the contest of the 2014 midterm elections is to take control of the US Senate. In reality, it’s the GOP’s establishment cartel politicians, their deep-pocket donors, against their Tea Party and conservative challengers.

2014 may be the year bipartisan cartel politicians break the backs of outside threats to their authoritarian power. If so, it won’t be their money that wins the day. It will be the Tea Party’s lack of focus and organization.

The cartel is coming for you. Are you ready?

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