Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Republican Playbook: Starve the Beast...the Sequel

The conservative playbook...
  • You don't like the Federal government
  • You think it should be very small and keep out of the way of, well, pretty much everything.
  • You have a lot of reasons for this, mostly related to how much money you think you and your rich connections can make in a massively deregulated economy 
  • But, you live in a country that as of the 1930s has decided otherwise - not as much as some countries, but certainly it's the national consensus since the Great Depression that the Federal government has a role to play
  • Further, your party has not had a majority in Congress (both houses at the same time) since the 1930s, and you have not had the whole Congress and the Presidency since that long ago too. So, your ability to make change has been limited. See the previous point.
  • But, in 1995 you get control of both Houses if Congress and then from 2001 to 2006 you add the Presidency.
  • You know that the Federal government runs on money and one way to get it out of the way is to "starve" other words, if you don't fund the Federal government it will not be able to do things.
  • In the 1990s, you actually are able to make this happen - literally shutting the Federal government down. But, that backfired because...well, go back to my fourth point above. People didn't like that and you got blamed. Goodbye would-be President Dole.
  • In the 2000s, you had a balanced budget with no Federal debt (thanks Bill Clinton for your leadership to get that done), but you still don't like the Federal government, so what are you going to do?
  • Oh, how about running up the biggest budget deficit the nation has ever seen and doing so in six years time? Yes, that's what you did when you had the power to do so.
  • And you did this knowing that once the debt got so huge that you'd then be able to say that, well, there just has to be cut-backs to make things right. Goodbye Federal government programs and regulation enforcement.
  • Sure, you were banking on the American public forgetting that it was your leadership in the 2000s that bankrupted the nation, but that's a bet you are willing to take - especially since you were out of power since 2006 in Congress and since 2008 for the Presidency because you can just blame the incumbents for what you did. Easy.
And that ladies and gentlemen is what we're seeing now. The R majority in the House is demanding budget cuts and reductions in major programs (but not defense) as a bold and shameless attempt to "starve the beast." That's right, drive the nation into unprecedented debt and then use that situation as pretext to cut back on Federal government programs big time to "fix" the problem. And hey, if you and your buddies make a ton of money along the way, great. In your mind, that's all good. That's your America right...I got mine, screw you.

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