In the alternate universe where Republican candidates debated yesterday, tax breaks for the rich apparently create jobs while deregulation spurs economic growth and preserves natural resources.
In our universe, those tax breaks have created no jobs, and deregulation has destroyed our economy, our rivers, our lakes, our air quality and the Gulf of Mexico.
In Gov. Rick Perry's universe, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
In our universe, a Ponzi scheme is something done by criminals who trick investors into giving them money that they then pocket for themselves. Social Security, in our universe, is something hard-working people pay into so they can stay out of poverty when they get old. It is one of the most successful programs ever devised and has so much money in its coffers that everyone can be paid everything they are owed until 2037. No other program, government-run or private, can say the same.
In Perry's universe, "President Obama has proven once and for all that government spending will not create one job."
In our universe, the president's stimulus program created 3 million jobs, 300,000 in the state of Texas, alone.
In Perry's universe, "Keynesian policy and Keynesian theory is now done and disproven."
In our universe, it's the GOP program of deregulation and tax cuts that has been disproven. In our universe, deregulation caused the financial crisis and destroyed millions of jobs.
Mitt Romney and his advisors, however, ventured into the reality-based universe , if only briefly.
Romney jumped for joy after Perry reiterated his ongoing attack on Social Security. "Perry has lost," Romney adviser Stuart Stevens said in an e-mail. "No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry platform to kill Social Security. Never has. Never will." (A CNN poll in August found 57 percent of Republicans opposed to major changes in both Social Security and Medicare.)
Romney's declaration last night that the nominee of the GOP must be someone committed to "saving," not "killing" Social Security rings hollow, however. He, like Wall Street itself, is also committed to killing Social Security with a variety of schemes that would allow people to "save and invest" rather than pay into the plan. The Romney approach is, at best, a backdoor way of turning over to Wall Street investors the huge Social Security pot of gold they have been trying to grab for years.
Romney says that corporations, which he views as "people," should get even bigger tax breaks than they have gotten thus far and that almost all regulations on their activity should be eliminated. He has called for zero taxes on companies that have shipped jobs overseas as a way of luring them back home. In our universe, that amounts to rewarding the people who destroyed American jobs, American livelihoods and American hopes.
The Republican candidates all agreed with what Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, calls a "mindless march to austerity." He said the Republican approach of focusing on the deficit, rather than the jobs crisis, would put the nation on "a course of radical disinvestment and decline.
"Smart countries do not just turn a chainsaw on themselves. Instead of the current slash-and-burn approach, which is being sold through fear and fatalism, we need an approach that reflects the hopes and aspirations of the American people."
Harkin pointed to tens of millions of jobs created by visionary leadership and government investment in the nation's highway system, space exploration and research. For example, he noted, the federal government's investment of $3.8 billion in the human genome project, between 1988 and 2003, translated into $796 billion in economic output and, in 2010 alone, created 310,000 jobs.
Yesterday evening the Republican candidates, under the colors of our flag and the wings of Ronald Reagan's jet, offered no solution to the jobs crisis. Instead, they proffered a free-market fairy tale straight from their alternate universe. They made it abundantly clear that their reality is not the reality of the vast majority of the American people.
Photo: Rick Perry's real home planet? Todd // CC 2.0