Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Morning Soapbox: Temo Party

I don't like the Tea Party. I don't think there's too much to like about them. I think they're naive, self-centered whiners who want to act like everything that's going wrong in this country is the fault of elected representatives in Washington. Basically, I hate them more than the Democrats and Republicans because they have the audacity to be naive.

Howevercomma I do like the fact that their naivete is pushing them towards cutting the budget. Drastically.

Yes, there are cuts to things I'm uncomfortable seeing cut, but I'm less comfortable with a system where we're consistently promised smaller government and less spending, but we're consistently running a deficit for something of allegedly vital importance. This Huffington Post article mentions the (unsurprising) fact that most Americans generally want the government to spend less, but hesitate to enumerate exactly where less money should be spent. Education? Medicare? Department of Homeland Security? Those are all good things, and no one wants to have less of good things.

I think that the biggest problem here is that everything called something remotely like "Department of Kicking Sick Puppies" has already been axed; cutting in the middle of what's left only opens politicians up to looking like the villain, while cutting at the extremes (or else making a big show of the same) at least makes you popular with your constituency. But if you're going to debate the buget at all, your actions have to be significant and they have to be taken with the knowledge that we just can't pay for everything we want. Even if you can pay for Planned Parenthood for the next five years or so, what about the ten after that? The twenty? Same question about Social Security. Health Care. Look, Planned Parenthood, Social Security, and Health Care are all good things; they save and improve lives, but if the government won't answer the hard questions about how to pay for them, not just this next year, but in perpetuity, then they have to accept that these programs won't survive when the US quits paying for things on our credit card. Our government will have to resign itself to either spending its money more wisely, or doing less with less. It's called, 'living within your means,' and I guess that for a lot of people who have the money and resources to get elected, it's strange to have so little means in relation to your wants.

I don't believe, as the article I linked says, that Americans secretly like big government. I mean, everyone likes getting money, but that's a subject for another blog entirely. I also don't think that this is a Republican vendetta against women. I think that it's more common for women to need social services, so when Republicans--as they are wont to do--cut social services, women suffer. It's not part of a malign plan against the sex cursed with the lack of a Y-chromosme, it's just that the people with the greatest needs are the first to suffer when the government quits supporting those in need.

Yet, this news article says some things that dovetail better with my own reckoning(add grains of salt to taste); the sound and fury new house (roadhouse) will pass any ridiculously partisan bill that they want to jack off their constituents, blame the senate for not going along, and please their fan base without ever worrying about upsetting the status quo. The senate democrats shouldn't shoot this bill down; they should amend it to ridiculously cut spending for pro-conservative programs and raise taxes on organizations they don't like. Responsible, irresponsible spending cuts might very well do a lot to balance the budget. If our elected officals fought as hard to save money as they did to spend it, we wouldn't be facing a massive national debt (we'd probably be facing a wide variety of other threats too numerous and varied to fully explore here, but I digress). Simply refusing to pass a budget and/or failing to cut spending won't solve anything and either side playing an absolutist game doesn't serve anyone's interest.

It seems that regardless of the outcome, a sweeping, conservative-backed bill presents a win-win for the right. If it fails and the economy doesn't get back on track, then the conservatives can pass any legislation they want come 2013. If it succeeds, then regardless of the passage by Democrats and The President, it's hailed as a victory for the right. If it's passed and fails--either fiscally, in the public eye, or both--then the Democrats get the blame for allowing it to happen. The only real winning scenario for the left is if it's shot down, Washington keeps spending, and the economy picks up so that by 2012 no one's talking about deficit spending anymore.

In all fairness, some Democrats are trying to cut spending. Some have suggested tax increases and cuts to other programs; I'm supportive of this, though dubious about anyone paying more taxes, even the easily-vilified "rich" (although, let's face it, considering the income gap, I'm not that dubious) until the government learns to spend more responsibly. Representative McCollum (D-MN) suggested that the millions of dollars spent by the military on advertising on NASCAR vehicles could be spent somewhere else, the response to which was an incoherent fax which defies any other description with mere words:

I've actually run out of "what the fucks" for these sorts of things. I am "what the fuck"ed out. I had a whole bag of "what"s, "the"s, and "fuck"s to pull phrases out of, and all that's left in there is an IOU from my country's political discourse, which only gets me about a quarter of the way through "fuck."

1 comment:

Rude said...

You are right, we're going to have to have some important programs scaled back if we ever want to have a hope of having a balanced budget again.

The thing is, we'll also have to raise taxes, and no one wants to hear that. If both are done though, over time, the country will be able to support itself once again.

Stability for the country will mean that our generation will never be as successful as the one that came before, but sometimes you have to sacrifice when you're apart of a larger community.

At the risk of sounding like a "pinko"(tongue firmly planted in cheek), I think that sometimes we as Americans forget that we're members of a larger community. Instead, we perhaps subconsciously see the world within our own limited spectrum. Sometimes, in order for a nation to thrive, EVERYONE has to give up something, and in this case it means paying more taxes.

Of course, I could be wrong. *shrug*