Monday, February 21, 2011

Making A List

Here are some of the programs so far defunded by House Republicans:

They did, however, vote to continue sponsoring NASCAR cars. So there's that. And tax loopholes for oil companies.

Need it be said that Planned Parenthood is about much more than abortion services? Need it be pointed out that pollution is bad for us, even if it costs money to deal with it? That deregulating finance is what, in large measure, got us where we were a mere two years ago?

Next day, they did more:
    • Voted to strip funding from just about every EPA project, including air quality, emissions, and water pollution monitoring.
    • Defunded NOAA
    • Stripped funds to administer the Affordable Care Act.
    • Eliminated funds for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    • Continued $53 billion in oil subsidies
    • Tried to eliminate Davis-Bacon rules for government projects (that failed)
    • Stripped federal workers of their salaries in positions within agencies targeted for defunding

The thing is that these cuts (which are admittedly not likely to become law) would hurt the most vulnerable people, pander to corporations, and do practically nothing to reduce the deficit. They're symbolism. Which is exactly the point.

In these cuts we can see what the teabagger wing of conservatism is all about: short-term (as in their personal lifetimes) savings for themselves at the expense of everyone else. And of the future. In order to prevent themselves from ever paying more in taxes, they're happy -- eager!! -- to ignore the needs of the country. They call it fiscal responsibility. It's not. It's pure selfishness, rationalized by a heavy dose of willful ignorance, wrapped in an entirely unserious concern about some imaginary future that doesn't exist. These measures completely ignore the hard stuff, the real factors pushing the deficits. It's sandbagging the teabaggers, who, looking for any reason to believe, allow themselves to be played for fools.

Nothing gets the selfish to hop on board like the promise of tax cuts. No one -- not even me -- likes paying them; some, however, recognize the need. It's easy to find wasteful spending in any government program. To those wishing to rationalize taking their money and running from responsibility, it's nice to be able to point to such things. But they're beside the point.

The first person seriously to address Medicare waste was Barack Obama, and, nearly unbelievably, it's been shouted down ever since (despite the fact that it reduces the deficit) by the very people who claim they want fiscal responsibility. It's like Sarah Palin decrying Michelle Obama's push for breast feeding after previously declaring, during her half-ass term governorship, that the government has a stake in promoting it. Anything for politics, hey?

The left isn't scott-free, of course. The mere mention of addressing entitlements sends them into a frenzy. But surely there are ways to do it (Obama already did) that don't affect those who need them the most while getting those who can afford it to pay a little more. And until defense cuts and tax hikes are on the table (credit to teabaggers on the F-35 engine, although they merely did what presidents and defense secretaries have been calling for; and it's a diddly drop in a big bucket), we'll never get anywhere.

Teabaggers are willing to do harm to the present needy and the future everyone in order to die with their pockets full. It takes a special kind of blindness to justify that: in their budget proposals, the lack of seriousness is there to be seen, for anyone interested in looking.


  1. The following is from BRUCE BARTLETT, The Fiscal Times.

    It is from a table found in: "Reconstituting the Submerged State:
    The Challenges of Social Policy Reform in the Obama Era"
    By Suzanne Mettler

    SeeIt@: - A very interesting read in itself.

    What the table shows is the "Percentage of program beneficiaries who report that they “have not used a government social program”

    529 or Coverdell 64.3

    Home Mortgage Interest Deduction 60.0

    Hope or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit 59.6

    Student Loans 53.3

    Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit 51.7

    Earned Income Tax Credit 47.1

    Social Security—Retirement & Survivors 44.1

    Pell Grants 43.1

    Unemployment Insurance 43.0

    Veterans Benefits (other than G.I. Bill) 41.7

    G.I. Bill 40.3

    Medicare 39.8

    Head Start 37.2

    Social Security Disability 28.7

    SSI—Supplemental Security Income 28.2

    Medicaid 27.8

    Welfare/Public Assistance 27.4

    Government Subsidized Housing 27.4

    Food Stamps 25.4

    Yes, it describes stupid, clueless people ("Teabaggers") - but I repeat myself - who are demanding that the itemized benefits described, be withdrawn from them.

    Think: the red-faced, bloated man with teabags a-danglin' - railing from his Social Security provided electric cart!

    Bartlett concludes: "Republicans have been deluding their allies in the Tea Party movement with promises that they knew they couldn’t keep. Soon, everyone else will know, too."


    "Ignorance is bliss" - for a while.


  2. I keep hoping that with enough facts out there, some of them might break through the wall of ignorance. Fat chance.

    And for those who still don't know, Bruce Bartlett was one of Reagan's chief economic advisers.


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