KYW Regional Affairs Council
by John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It doesn’t take much of crystal ball to imagine that the economy, and government efforts to boost it, will be major items in next year’s election.
Unions and the “Occupy” movement call for fairness in a society trending toward haves and have-nots. The GOP, focused on small government, decries what it calls “class warfare” and Uncle Sam as “Mr. Fix-it.”
The economy seems stalled, and Wharton School finance professor Robert Inman says it’ll likely stay that way.
“I’m not optimistic that we will see growth much greater than 2½ percent over the next year and unemployment rates much below 8.5 percent,” he told KYW Newsradio recently.
In the past, that might have signaled more government stimulus spending, but Rutgers-Camden political science professor Richard Harris says the last one birthed the Tea Party.
“I actually think that was a galvanizing event,” Harris says of the first stimulus program — and an event that ignited resentments that had been brewing since George H. Bush was talked out of his “no new taxes” position.
“I think it was at that point that the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party just got more and more suspicious of people saying they were opposed to Big Government without actually being opposed to big government,” Harris says.
And Harris says Republican rigidity on taxes and spending has created trench warfare with a Democratic Party equally dug in, but on Social Security and Medicare.
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