In 1976, as we celebrated America’s Bicentennial with fashionable fun, fantastic fireworks and flag-waving frolic, Jude Wanniski coined “The Two Santa Claus Theory”, a brilliant positioning move for the Republican Party. It elected Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Mr. Wanniski was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal at the time and a devout believer in supply side economics. This is often referred to as “Trickle Down” by those who believe money accrued by the rich inevitably finds its way down to the proletariat (working) poor. Wanniski’s hero was a gentleman named Milton Friedman, who took things a bit further, stressing that government must be starved of revenue in order to curtail the growth of spending on such wasteful items as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Workers Disability Compensation and, when all is said and done, any expenditures not associated with increasing private wealth. So it can trickle down.
Welfare — NO! Warfare? –GREAT!
But how does one sell this to the average voter? Hey, Jude!
So Jude Wanniski came up with his “Two Santa Claus” approach — and it goes like this:
Jude said that Democrats are elected because the Democratic Party is generally perceived as “Santa Claus”, providing all sorts of goodies with every new election cycle for the general well being of the American people, as mandated by Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, hardly a Marxist document. Ask The Tea Party.
So Jude declared that the Republican Party needed to be “Santa Claus”, too, by making the electorate an offer they could not refuse. It came down to two short words — LOWER TAXES! It worked like a charm and did again — only weeks ago.
And here’s the really cool part of Wanniski’s plan — If Republicans would only keep pounding “Lower Taxes!” through the years, while increasing expenditures on things THEY liked, combined with radically lower taxes for powerful supporters (Reagan Tax Cuts 1981 and 1986) (Bush Tax Cuts 2001 and 2003), there would be an inevitable collision with an unavoidable destination — the realization of Milton Friedman’s dream — a democratic government stifled, strangled and starved. Down for the count. Turn up the Trickle.
And what was on the Conservative “like” list as taxes were toppled?
Granada (1983 — $ 50 million dollars), Panama (1989 — $155 million), Persian Gulf War (1991 — $ 102 Billion), Iraq (2003 — $ 784 Billion to date), and Afghanistan (2003 — $ 321 Billion to date).
And are we more secure with all those “dollars for defense”, especially with profit margins for war manufacturers raging as high as 90%?
As of this very year, China now has the fastest computer in the world (The Tianhe 1A –capable of 2.5 thousand trillion operations per second), the speediest train (Hexie Hao at a steady 250 miles per hour) and the deadliest long-range missile system ever developed –The Dong Feng 21D — fully capable of sinking an aircraft carrier a thousand miles away.
In the last 30 years, since the election of The Great Communicator with his powerful new message, our National Debt has soared from $ 700 billion to $ 14 trillion dollars under primarily Republican administrations. $14 trillion dollars is $ 14 thousand billion, a full $ 9 trillion of the $ 14 trillion total racked up since the Inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001.
So now we have a Presidential Panel calling for austerity measures disproportionately aimed at those who can least afford sacrifice, while a new House of Representatives stands ready to roll back hard-won measures dealing with Health and Banking Reform.
Wall Street compensation with bonuses in 2010 will hit a record of $144 billion dollars — the highest in history — with million dollar earners paying Social Security taxes only on barely 10% of their incomes.
George The Conqueror now haunts the nation on a book tour victory lap — something Barack Obama will be denied at the end of his first and only term — unless he begins to act like a Republican — leading with enthusiastic vitality — ruthlessly sticking to a defined game plan — and fighting with determined dedication and fierce conviction for what he truly believes.
Anything less is pure surrender.