From the office of… Democrats seem to forget that LBJ’s Great Society was a giveaway to the GOP – The Ukiah Daily Journal


“It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another – it’s a damn thing over and over again.”

– Edna Saint-Vincent Millay

WASHINGTON – Fifty-one years ago, a book by two centrist Democrats caused a stir among progressives in their party, who resented the councils of restraint. In “The Real Majority”, Richard M. Scammon and Ben J. Wattenberg highlighted a Gallup poll question from February 1968:? “The answer” yes “: men 19%, women 50%.

Half of American husbands had wives who were afraid to go out at night. Beginning in 1968, Republicans won five of the following six presidential elections.

Last week, the National Firearms Survey found that since the start of 2019, nearly half of first gun buyers were women, including 3.5 million. No wonder the progressives came close to re-electing Donald Trump with three words: “Defund the police. “

Today, a pandemic, violent protests, a flood of migrants on the southern border and an increase in crime raise fears of widespread social erosion. In the 1960s, a similar fear led Scammon and Wattenberg to urge Democrats to resist rejection of “law and order” as racist “code words”. Today, these three words are dismissed as tropes of “systemic racism”. A fucking thing over and over again.

Campaigning in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, standing at the top – yes, the top – of the presidential limousine, yelled through a megaphone, “We are for many things and we are against a few. With a 155-seat majority in the Democratic House, Johnson revived the New Deal plan of swaddling Americans in a blanket of federal programs.

Today, Democrats are ignoring Thomas Jefferson’s warning against large corporations based on “thin majorities.” They seem entirely attached to the aspiration for equality of progressivism. It is not equal opportunity, which produces disparate results that are intolerable because they are presumed to be the result of systemic racism. On the contrary, the current aspiration for equality is an equal dependence of a growing majority on federal guarantees of material well-being.

President Joe Biden insists Americans want the social programs in which he proposes to “invest” (“spend” has been purged of the lexicon of progressivism) with trillion dollar slices. He doesn’t believe, however, that 98.2% of Americans want enough of these programs to ask them to pay even a dime for them. He insists Americans with an annual income of less than $ 400,000 will not pay all the new taxes that it favors to (partially) finance expenditure.

This is absurd (for example, companies do not pay taxes, they collect them from employees, shareholders and customers) but it indicates the lack of courage of progressivism: the blessings of government for almost everyone will be paid by an unpopular minority (the richest 1.8% and corporations).

In the 1966 election, two years of Democratic exuberance cost them 47 seats in the House. If the 2022 elections subtract That is four seats in the Democratic House or one seat in the Democratic Senate, this presidential term will be an extinct volcano.

Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls, a doomed attempt to suppress inflation that had been fueled by the belief of the progressives of the 1960s that there could be Vietnamese weapons and Great Society butter simultaneously, harmlessly. The inflation of the 1970s foreshadowed the nation’s turn towards Ronald Reagan.

Today, with federal debt held by the public four times higher as a percentage of GDP than it was in the late 1970s (25%), a Democratic president and a Democratic-controlled Congress have 3 500 billion dollars of additional “investments” in mind. . They obviously assume that inflation is dormant forever.

But John Cochrane of the Hoover Institution notes that if inflation rises, the Federal Reserve must raise interest rates sharply. The standard rule specifies one and a half times the increase in the rate of inflation. So if inflation goes from 2% to 5%, interest should increase by 4.5 percentage points.

Add a baseline of 2% for the Fed’s inflation target and 1% for the real long-term interest rate, Cochrane says, and the interest rate hits 7.5%. Raising interest rates by one percentage point increases the cost of servicing the national debt by one percentage point. With debt at 100% of GDP, 1% of GDP is about $ 227 billion, and an interest rate of 7.5% creates interest charges of 7.5% of GDP, or $ 1.7 trillion. dollars.

When inflation shifted the nation to the right, it truncated the Democrats’ return to their New Deal project. They might soon be muttering, “A damn thing over and over again.”

George Will’s email address is [email protected]


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