Catherine Rampell, writing about the national GOP, accurately describes their economic policy under Trump in The GOP has become the Soviet party. This has been a building national problem for years, but a building local problem for about as long: a clique of slogan-rich but insight-poor local conservatives have wrecked economies like Whitewater’s economy with a steady diet of government intervention on behalf of ineffectual pet projects. Over the last decade or so, local officials (including Kachel, Knight, Stewart, Allen, and Telfer) have hawked ineffectual government plans for favored businesses or next-big-thing capital spending while Whitewater’s economy has declined. See Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade.
Indeed, they have something to show for their efforts: Whitewater is poorer than she was ten years ago. For more about the local economy, see categories here at FREE WHITEWATER on Poverty and the CDA (Community Development Authority).
Here’s Rampell, describing aptly a national trend that’s a local one, too:
On the macroeconomic front, leadership may be touting “deregulation” but in many ways is moving toward a more centrally planned economy, which includes the shielding of pet industries from the whims of the market or technological change.
That means propping up coal plants, which fracking has made less competitive. And slapping tariffs across thousands of foreign products, to subsidize struggling domestic competitors or sometimes to protect “national security.” And granting more price supports for farmers.
Just as government has inserted itself into more markets, though, it has abruptly stopped functioning, holding up the processing of those farmer subsidies or tariff exemptions. It’s the old Soviet model in a nutshell: promising much, interfering a lot, failing to deliver.
Needless to say, “picking winners and losers” was once a thing Republicans abhorred, a practice embraced only by failed socialist states; today the Republican standard-bearer picks winners and losers even within the government itself. The government may be officially shuttered, but President Trump decided to do an end run around the constitutionally mandated, democratic appropriations process. He is picking and choosing which government functions are allowed to function: yes to his offshore drilling plan and tax refunds; no to the Smithsonian museums.