Doubling down on failure

DOUBLING DOWN ON FAILURE…. There was a six-year stretch in which the Bush/Cheney administration got most of what it wanted from Congress. It was as explicit an example, perhaps ever, of conservative Republicans governing exactly as they had always wanted to. The results were nearly catastrophic, and the nation learned a valuable lesson — the right’s ideas, when put in practice, don’t work.

And yet, with just four months to go before the midterm elections, Republican candidates seem to seriously believe if we just go back to the policies that didn’t work, we’ll all be better off. Karl Rove wants Republicans to promise to return to Bush’s economic agenda; several conservative candidates want to bring back Bush’s Social Security agenda; and in Florida, Marco Rubio wants to bring back Bush’s tax agenda.

Marco Rubio, the fresh young face of GOP right-wingery, has a new 12-point plan to grow the economy. It’s virtually identical to the agenda of the George W. Bush administration. Every idea is to either pursue Bush’s agenda or to return things to where they were when Bush held office.

In keeping with the theme, 8 of Rubio’s points are either cutting taxes or halting tax increases.

Remember, National Review recently singled out Rubio as someone who is “geniunely [sic] interested in nitty-gritty of public policy,” and “a true policy wonk.”

Except, he’s not. Bush’s tax policies failed to deliver the robust economic growth the right promised, and led to the weakest decade of job growth in generations. While the right heralded these tax policies as a triumph when they were approved, the results were a disaster — enormous deficits, trillions of dollars in additional debt, an exacerbated gap between the rich and poor, and a devastating recession.

Marco Rubio thinks the policies that produced these results simply need to be brought back, and tried again. Indeed, as Pat Garofalo noted, “The cuts that Rubio proposes would also spend trillions of dollars while overwhelmingly sending the benefits to the very rich. In fact, at the 2009 level, the estate tax only affects the richest 0.2 percent of households in the country. So Rubio would spend billions on the hope that a tiny percentage of the population creates some jobs.”

On a related note, how would Rubio, a self-proclaimed deficit “hawk,” pay for his Bush-inspired tax agenda? He hasn’t said. Imagine that.