Renewable Roundup: Starve the beast is still the loudest dog whistle

  • Published on August 1st, 2020
The rich have a corrupt bargain with all of the Republican factions. Cut taxes for us, and we will use those tax cuts to blow out the budget and force Democrats to agree to cut social programs under the Dog Whistle Starve the Beast. But no more.
How the GOP learned to stop worrying and love Trump
By Mokurai

On July 14, 1978, economist Alan Greenspan testified to the U.S. Finance Committee: “Let us remember that the basic purpose of any tax cut program in today’s environment is to reduce the momentum of expenditure growth by restraining the amount of revenue available and trust that there is a political limit to deficit spending.”

Alan Greenspan, the “mumbler with great authority” was a RW darling for holding down inflation, by which he and they meant any increases in wages.

The earliest use of the actual term “starving the beast” to refer to the political-fiscal strategy (as opposed to its conceptual premise) was in a Wall Street Journal article in 1985, wherein the reporter quoted an unnamed Reagan staffer.

Reagan’s election strategist Lee Atwater confessed more starkly (while dying of cancer), that tax cuts for the rich are OK with the Base

as long as Blacks get hurt worse.


William A. Niskanen

Problems with Starve the Beast

There  are  three  major  problems  with  the  starve-the-beast  argument:

  1. it is not a plausible economic theory;
  2. it is inconsistent with the facts; and
  3. it has diverted attention away from the political reforms needed to limit government growth.
Cato  Journal,  Vol.  26,  No.  3  (Fall  2006).
Copyright  ©  Cato  Institute.  All  rights reserved.

William  A.  Niskanen  is  Chairman  of  the  Cato  Institute.

By which they mean electing enough Republicans, by suppressing Democratic votes, to impose a racist neo-Confederate tyranny as in the once-solid South.

I wrote most of the above in response to a comment in When is a duck most dangerous? When it’s defeated and lame

One difference between being a liberal and someone who is center or conservatives is that liberals believe we are a a wealthy nation that can take care of everyone.  We don’t need tax cuts, we need expanded services so that we have to be pay for less of those things that most of us need, and maybe can gain some efficiency gains. For instance if we were not paying health insurance companies and government works billions of dollars a year to decide who does not deserve care, because maybe they are black or don’t live in the right zip code, perhaps we could have expand health care.  That is unless the idiot centrists drink the kool aid and  begin to validate the conservative ideas that tax cuts are where all the action is.

In fact, this is not really about entitlements or the deficit or any economic issue.  It is about white nationalism.  Reagan created the entitlement furor in order to mobilize his white nationalist evangelical base.  He created welfare queens and women who murdered their children to bring forth a more oppressive society where white men could do as they please, work the Trump has solidified for yet another generation.

We know that deficits don’t matter to conservatives, and only a white nationalists, be it conservative or centrist, is going to call Reagan a great fiscal conservative. Liberals know that tax cut and white nationalism go hand in hand, and only those who are in collusion with the white nationalists are going to promote the fiction that it is not.

Now, about those factions:

We agree that the Republican Party agenda is evil. So do they, but each faction claims that it is only the extremists (the Rightist Adventurists, in an inversion of Communist jargon) or the RINOs (the Leftist Running Dogs) that are the problem, not themselves. I have identified ten major factions among the Republicans, each focused on different issues, and each expressing the utmost contempt for all of the others as well as the rest of us, in spite of the massive overlap among them.

  • Old-line racists: Blacks will be kept in “their place”, and we can pretend they like it.
  • Misogynists: Men can tell their wives what to do, and we can pretend they like it.
  • Bigots: LGBTQs can stay in the closet, and like it.
  • Dominionists: The First Amendment only applies to Creationist Evangelical Fundamentalist Dominionists like us, and the rest of you can like it.
  • Armageddonists: You are going to like, no, love, our murderous, genocidal fan fiction.
  • Bircherite Tea Partiers: You can obstruct anything and everything the government tries to do, and even Democrats and the few remaining regular Republicans will have to like it.
  • Libertarian hypocrites: You can have the Hobbesian War of Each Against All, and those who can’t afford it can lump it.
  • Neo-Cons: Would you like a Crusader war with Iran? We’ll see if we can arrange it.
  • Gun nuts: Guns are the answer! What was the question? We lurves us some gunz!!! The Second Amendment says that you have to love our guns, too. But Blacks can’t have any. We can kill Blacks who even look like they might be thinking about popguns or water pistols or taking out their wallets or phones.
  • College Republicans, who want to reach out to someone other than the above: You can go take a flying leap, and like it.

OK, but what do we do about them?

Above all we have to vote the scoundrels out of office, and fix voting so they can’t get back in while they remain a minority. That means outlawing gerrymanders and voter suppression, and creating a new SCOTUS-proof preclearance list. To do that we have to organize and GOTV.

But the key point for the longer term is that each of their ideological factions other than the 1% is shrinking.

Go, us!

About the Author

Generalist BA, Math and Philosophy Peace Corps, South Korea Buddhist monastic training High-tech market analyst Tech Writer Serial NGO Founder Education for a billion children End poverty at a profit

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