The 2016 Republican presidential debate last night drew an estimated average of 22.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched program in CNN's 35-year history — but did not top the Fox News GOP debate last month, which brought in an estimated 24 million viewers (who also wasted our time).
The "debate" last night was more-or-less a group of bad actors auditioning for a bad soap opera. They were primarily a group of uninspiring and incompetent people who were only competing with one another for the pleasure of cutting taxes at the expense of government programs — except for defense spending, which they want to increase.
We saw this very same thing happen in 2012 during the last Republican primary cycle, when almost the same group of discontents, malcontents and misfits were clamoring to lead our country. Not much else has changed, but with the exception of a couple of new faces (who just happen to be very wealthy).
(BELOW) The usual Republican suspects — with a couple of new faces — but without Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney (Click image to enlarge)
First of all (just like last time), the tent was far too big for the GOP's circus of clowns, crammed full of people that don't have a shot in Hell of every becoming our next President; and were only there to garner publicity for themselves and to feed their giant egos — while also living large on campaign contributions from rich donors.
It was nothing more than group of people that (by and large) were vying for the prestige of being on the public stage to be the next President of the United States, and to hope for the pleasure of catering to the rich by imposing austerity measures on everyone else.
The GOP debate was a waste of time, a test among a group of power-hungry narcissists to see who could piss the farthest against the wind. It was nothing more than a public clash of personalities, a spectacle of people exhibiting one-upmanship, campaign slogans, quick wits, and clever comebacks to first-strike assaults upon one another's character.
A few serious policy questions were asked by the CNN moderators (when they weren't deliberately trying to provoke discourse among the candidates to provide some cheap drama for their TV viewers and drive their TV ratings), but no serious policy solutions were ever offered by any of the "presidential" candidates.
Sure, there were the usual GOP "talking points", but nothing of any real substance or anything new was ever offered — it was just more of the same of the usual GOP B.S. — they spent more time talking about how they would defund Planned Parenthood than they did about why they would refuse to raise the minimum wage.
It was an epic 3-hour waste of our time. It would have simply been much easier to thoroughly research their opinions on policy positions by visiting their respective websites. (After all, we've seen most of these same people already — too many times — being interview on the cable news shows, blathering about their "vision" for America — and offering their unwanted opinions and advise to many of us who are already sick and tired of hearing all their crap.
In other words, the GOP debate last night gave us nothing that was really newsworthy (and the media will most likely highlight the barbs between the candidates). The only thing that will change is, Donald Trump might lose some points in the polls and Carly Fiorina might gain a few. But overall, the GOP message from all of them was basically the same as it refers to the economy...
Basically, this is (and has been decades) the Republican economic platform:
- cutting taxes for the super-rich and the largest multi-national corporations — more so, than for everyone else.
- cutting most government spending, but greatly increasing defense spending — but without specifically saying how (such as what they would cut and/or by how much).
There was a lot of bravado last night during the GOP debate, but very little substance. And there's a reason why: The Republican candidates didn't want to honestly and publicly attempt to sell their economic agenda to the American people, because it would be just as unpopular today as it was back in 2012 when Mitt Romney ran for President. Since then, the policy positions of all the usual suspects (the current Republican candidates) have remained the same, nothing has changed: Less government and less taxes.
Automatic spending ceilings have been limited by the “sequester” in the 2011 budget deal; but the Republican candidates have argued for increased defense spending — but without saying how they propose paying for it, especially since (as usual) they also argued for more tax cuts.
The pie (the government budget) currently has a finite size, and the GOP wants to make one slice much larger (defense spending) than the rest of the slices, so it would mean making the other slices a lot smaller — especially since no Republican wants to make the whole pie any larger. In fact, they want to make the government pie much smaller.
In the GOP debate last night, no one explained exactly how they would shrink the pie — only saying more tax cuts will grow the economy and jobs will be created and raise wages (etc.) But anyone who follows politics already knows how Republicans would shrink the government pie. After defense spending is increased and taxes are cut, it would mean severely cutting what remains of the pie into very tiny slices for everything else.
And guess who would suffer the most? Spoiler alert: It wouldn't be the very rich.
To cut government spending (no matter how large the population), Republican candidates have also proposed eliminating entire departments within the government itself: the IRS, the EPA, the DOE (etc.) And the Republicans have no REAL plan whatsoever to "repeal and replace" Obamacare; nor do they offer any serious proposals for investing in our crumbling infrastructure. To fix a pothole, it would mean someone would have to go hungry or lose their job.
The spending cuts that the Republican propose means cutting services that the middle-class and poor (95% of the population) rely on, just to increase the spending that the defense contractors profit from, while also cutting their corporate and capital gains taxes at the same time.
"Without relying on tax increases, budget writers were forced into contortions to bring the budget into balance while placating defense hawks clamoring for increased military spending ... The [GOP budget] plan contains more than $1 trillion in savings from unspecified cuts to programs like food stamps and welfare ... The budget demands the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including the tax increases [2.3% on capital gains] that finance the health care law. But the plan assumes the same level of federal revenue over the next 10 years that the Congressional Budget Office foresees WITH those tax increases in place — essentially counting $1 trillion of taxes that the same budget swears to forgo."
But most Americans are more concerned about their next paycheck (or where their next loaf of bread is coming from), more so than they are about being attacked by China, Russia, North Korea or Iran. While they fully understand the great need for a very strong national defense (and are concerned about ISIS and events in the Middle East), they also have other and more immediate concerns in their own daily lives.
All Republican politicians (and not just the Republican candidates in the debate last night) are basically in lock-step with the economic ideology known as "trickle-down economics" — that "growth" (increased productivity/profits) will automatically equate to higher wages and increased tax revenues (lifting all boats) — contrary to all the overwhelming evidence from the past 35 years that thoroughly and completely debunks that theory.
The Republicans have been consistently and loudly beating their drum for so long now that we wonder what, if anything, the GOP has ever learned from the lessons of Great Recession. Do they even care? They "talk the talk" about creating jobs and raising wages, but NEVER produce any meaningful legislation that would produce any real results — just the opposite, like advocating for trade deals to offshore more jobs, right-to-work laws to kill what remains of labor unions, their stubborn refusal to raise the minimum wage or pay equal pay to women ... [the list is too long for this post].
So nothing new was learned last night in the GOP debate — it was more an audition of personalities. Most people are already well aware of most of the candidates' positions, especially on everything related to the economy (Starve the Beast: feed the rich, starve the poor, and increase defense spending without increasing taxes).
All of the Republican candidates want to cut programs like food stamps, and then use the offsetting "savings" to buy more F-35s to enrich defense contractors. All of the Republican candidates want to dismantle and/or make severe cuts to the Social Security program for the bottom 95% — rather than raise ANY tax on the top 5%.
The GOP debate was a farce. Anyone who's at all familiar with the Republican candidates already know about their stated policy positions (even if they aren't posted on their websites), which is basically: cut taxes on the rich, and cut government programs for everyone else (except when THEY THEMSELVES might need a government program, such as federal disaster relief, or farm or oil subsidies).
In the mean time, the Republican Party will continue to lead America down the road to perdition...nothing will change.
The Republicans had ten debates scheduled before mid-March, while the Democrats have only four. Of those debates, the GOP has six debates scheduled in the ten weeks closest to the actual voting, while the Democrats have just one. This is a blatant attempt by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to rig the Democratic primary debates to favor Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders.
The $5 trillion we’d save on healthcare costs under Bernie Sanders' plan would more than cover the costs of the rest of his agenda—offering tuition-free education at public colleges, expanding Social Security benefits, bolstering private pensions, repairing some of our aging infrastructure and establishing a fund to help cover paid family leave.