“Starve the Beast!” Comes Home to Roost. But Who Will They Blame?

I did a “starve the beast” post from a few weeks ago. “We starved the beast.  And suddenly we find we need it.  But no amount of whipping is going to get it moving any faster than the starved, weak, abused thing we let it become.

Starving the beast” is a political strategy employed by American conservatives to limit government spending by cutting taxes, in order to deprive the federal government of revenue in a deliberate effort to force it to reduce spending.

This Washington Post piece nicely sums up that starved, weak, abused response to date.

“Small-business owners have reported delays in getting approved for loans without which they will close their doors, while others say they have been denied altogether by their lenders and do not understand why. The law’s provision to boost unemployment benefits has become tangled in dated and overwhelmed state bureaucracies, as an unprecedented avalanche of jobless Americans seeks aid,” Jeff Stein reports. “Officials at the Internal Revenue Service have warned that $1,200 relief checks may not reach many Americans until August or September if they haven’t already given their direct-deposit information to the government. Taxpayers in need of answers from the IRS amid a rapidly changing job market are encountering dysfunctional government websites and unresponsive call centers that have become understaffed as federal workers stay home. … More than a dozen senior positions in Treasury were unfilled heading into the crisis, creating a wide vacuum between the career staff and the highest levels of management. …

Were do we go from here?  The Facts Won’t Win Anything.  The More Effective Messaging Will Win.

There is only a rational, constructive, “right” path.  And there is a self-serving, ultimately self-destructive, “wrong” path.

  1. Effective, competent government matters.  We need to invest!
  2. I told you the government can’t do anything!  We need to keep tearing it down! 

We’ve been on the wrong path for about 30 years.  Because it serves the interests of a narrow but powerful slice of people.  Folks who tend to own the loudest megaphones.  That negative message is still unquestioned dogma among too many otherwise sensible people.  That scares me a lot.

Joe Biden also doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’s going to lead the charge for “real” change (vs tinkering around the edges).  That scares me a lot too.

We all need to put our shoulders in to push back.  Thousands of people have died because we starved the beast.  If that isn’t enough to motivate folks, I’m not sure what will.

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