(Cartoon by Dave Whamond Cagle.com)
The meteoric fall of Liz Truss’ tax cutting immigrant bashing Prime Ministry in England should serve as a warning to conservative populists every where opines Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post…
“Truss’s announced departure after just 45 days apparently marks the shortest residence ever at 10 Downing Street. She made so many mistakes in so little time that it’s hard to list them all. But the most needlessly self-destructive was trying to impose simplistic right-wing economic policies that work only in theory, never in practice.
To a nation suffering through 10.1 percent inflation, alarmed by the war in Ukraine, worried about energy shortages this winter and struggling with myriad disruptions caused by Brexit, Truss offered massive tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations. Her brief tenure should be remembered as the hyphenate premiership: all-in on supply-side, laissez-faire, trickle-down economics…
…When you hear Republicans in this country say “secure the border” or “crack down on crime” or “America first,” keep in mind how easy it is to write a bumper sticker and how hard it is to actually govern in a complex, interconnected world. GOP leaders, pay attention: Britain’s Conservatives have pandered their way into ruin.”
Brian Kylaas, at The Atlantic agrees with Robinson as to the causes of Truss’ dismemberment, but seems less sure that American Democracy is suited to immediately punishing a fumbling, bumbling national leader, and that its market’s capacity to tolerate and ignore future debt caused by tax cuts to the rich, as well as the conservative minority electorate’s unwillingness to punish any transgressions by its leaders as long as they reflect perfectly their own hatred for the other, will prevent Republicans, if they do indeed seize legislative power in November, from suffering any consequence for their wrongheaded policies… at least for two long years.
“In just 44 days, Prime Minister Liz Truss tanked the British economy, crashed the value of the pound, prompted a major bailout by the Bank of England, then resigned. When she leaves office next Friday, she will be, by far, the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. It isn’t even close. The previous record holder, George Canning, lasted 119 days and had a rather good excuse for his temporary tenure: He collapsed and died in 1827 while in office. Truss was just incompetent…
… As an American living in the United Kingdom, I am tempted to marvel at the disarray and breathe a sigh of relief: In the transatlantic political sweepstakes deciding which political system is more broken, Britain has, at least briefly, retaken the lead from the United States. But a victory lap would be misplaced. When you juxtapose the events of the past 44 days in Westminster with the past six years in Washington, it’s clear that America’s democratic dysfunction is far worse.
Paradoxically, Truss’s downfall shows that British democracy is still working. Polarization is so toxic in the U.S. that Trump never dipped below about 35 percent approval, no matter what he did. Truss, who was incompetent but far less dangerous, saw her approval ratings flirt with single digits before she was forced out. Her political party and political base turned on her…
… Democracy relies on a two-way street of responsiveness. Governments act, citizens react, then governments adjust, and the cycle repeats. Unlike in dictatorships, the evolving views of the public are supposed to be considered not just to win elections, but between elections. Without that back-and-forth between the citizenry and their representatives in power, there can be no political accountability, and government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” becomes merely a comforting myth.”
Both Robinson and Klaas have written excellent pieces on the Truss Government’s fall and I recommend reading both.
While I wish Robinson’s opinion would be wisely considered by American Conservatives (ha-ha) I fear that the last 6 years have only confirmed in them Klaas’ assessment that they can burn the United States to its foundation, strip away Social Security and Medicare, while presiding over economic catastrophe, and not lose any significant portion of their base as long as they parrot Tucker Carlson’s racism back to them and continue to pray to the false idol of supply side economics.
So far the American economy, unlike England’s, has proven resilient enough to withstand massive increases to the National Debt caused by Republican’s tax cutting fetishism.
But one day it will not.
And there simply is no mechanism in our polarized Democracy for immediately dealing with that catastrophe when it comes.
Failure in American politics has the shelf life of canned sardines, not lettuce.