Republicans, Government Spending, And A Message From My Dad

by lizard

When I hear Republicans talking about Government spending, my eyes glaze over and my brain recoils. As far as messaging goes, the persistent depiction of Democrats as the main offenders in Government largesse has been wildly successful. As far as reality goes, our national GDP is over 14 trillion dollars, and our national deficit, according to the US National Debt Clock is $13,732,848,917,316.31. If current trends continue, our deficit will be 100% of our GDP by 2025.

We didn’t get to this point because Democrats are the evil socialist spenders the right portrays them to be. We got here because the insane philosophy of unregulated free market capitalism has bought a bipartisan consensus in Washington D.C., and has spent the last several decades spreading across the globe, searching for new markets to exploit. This metastasized form of capitalism has killed and corrupted virtually all the regulatory power of the government, and has incrementally rolled back the advances hard working Americans fought and died for at the beginning of the last century, putting the robber barons in their place.

The result is we no longer have a government or media independent of corporate control. The New Deal is dying before our eyes as Republicans gnash their teeth about spending. And their solution? Destroy the social safety net for millions of Americans who scrape by in the wage-slave service sector economy that has taken the place of the manufacturing base they helped move to China and Mexico.

The corporate stranglehold is sickeningly obvious when it comes to war. Through the most significant bipartisan consensus, “defense” spending will stay “off the table” as the spending crisis heats up, and other top national priorities fill the corporate airwaves, like repealing health care and taking out Obama (politically of course).

So, while Republicans go big with their scorched earth policies of total negation, remember, we will still have enough money to spend more on our war machine than the rest of the world COMBINED. That means billions of taxpayer dollars to support the apartheid state of Israel, and billions of dollars to provide payoff “military aid” to countries like Egypt and Pakistan. And hundreds of millions of dollars to blow on corrupt multinational corporations. And there is absolutely no political will to address this insanity in either party.


And now, a personal anecdote.

The only surprise this election produced for me was an e-mail I received from my Father a few days ago. To put this in context, my Father has never been very open with me about his political views. I suspect he voted for Bush in 2000, and since then the only political conversations we have tend to be one-sided diatribes that I unload with such frequency it’s become something like a schtick he quietly suffers through.

The reason I think my Father’s little e-mail rant merits inclusion here is because it comes from a man who dedicated a good portion of his life to working for corporate America, specifically Sprint. What that dedication meant was traveling at least two weeks every month as he climbed the corporate ladder. When my Father learned the hard lesson that loyalty and hard work doesn’t exclude you from down sizing when the company starts going down hill, it’s entirely possible my diatribes began sounding less like relatively youthful defiance and more like legitimate criticism of a broken system.

So I asked my Pops if I could pass on his political disgust, and he said why not. Here it is:

I thought the main goal of elected officials was supposed to be governing well and finding solutions to problems facing the people and the nation. I thought that the political parties were supposed to put our interests first, not their interests (i.e., getting money from special interests and getting re-elected). When I hear that the main goal of the Republican party is to deny Obama re-election, it makes me sick. Pharisees, that’s what they are. They holler in the temple and the streets about their virtue and their godliness, all the while seeking only to enrich themselves. They have no compassion. They have no sense of compromise. They are anxious to do harm to the good of the People if it will benefit them. Anyone who voted for a Republican should be ashamed of their vote to put these scoundrels and Pharisees back into office where they can do harm to the People and our nation. We are in for a very bad two years. If the Republicans disdain any attempt to build a consensus and find compromise solutions, I hope Obama vetoes every bill they put forward and it becomes very, very clear that the Republican party is only seeking to benefit themselves, even at the expense of the nation. Shame on the Republican party and anyone who voted for them.

  1. You’re dad should be a blogger. ;-) ‘Cause he nailed that one.

  2. shaming people is no way to get their support. i have another theory and one that i believe tells the true story of what went on last tuesday…..

    i think people are finally fed up with both parties. the 71% vote to cap the interest rate on payday lending and the even more lopsided vote to prevent further taxation on property was inevitable because people of all parties are fed up with the failure of bush and obama to act in their best interest anymore.

    both democrat and republican legislators should take this lesson to heart. going too far to please corporations and the wealthy at further harm to the general citizenry by lightening their wallets either through corporate swindle or government waste will result in exactly the same pink slip for any legislator no matter what party in 2012.

    • JC

      Darrell Issa (the California Congressman who is taking over the House Oversight Committee) said on Bill Maher friday night that if the republicans can’t do something to turn the economy around in two years, then the next election is rightly going to be about throwing the bums out–all of them.

      Well, I don’t see any hope for a republican controlled House being able to 1) craft decent policy; and 2) get it through the Senate and signed by the Prez.

      So here’s to starting off the new election cycle with a “throw the bums out–all of them” message.

    • Turner

      problembear, People being fed up with both parties is irrelevant because the political reality is that national and state policies are determined by the parties they’re supposedly fed up with. So, whether people like it or not, they’ll have to choose between them.

      Two-party politics is the only game in this and any other town.

      Also, I doubt that policy positions have much to do with electoral outcomes. It’s all about the money and the lying TV ads it buys. And we all know which party overwhelmingly benefits from big, anonymous money.

      • JC

        What makes you think that 2012 isn’t going to be the year of the Independent?

        It’s going to be a “throw the bums out–all of them” year. Republicans will ensure that’s the case, because, as Eric Cantor stated today, the GOP is going to grind Congress and the government to a halt, and then try and blame Obama for it by not going along with their demands.

        And sitting in the wings is Michael Bloomberg, with billions in the bank just busting at the seams, ready to take on both parties. He’s already taking on the new republican House, and new rep senators.

        Those who are fed up with the two party system, and politics as usual would be well served to gear up to run independent campaigns.

      • At what point is the FEC going to look at the Tea Party as a party?

        These aren’t Republicans in disguise – they are openly advocating for their own candidates under their own name.

        Aren’t there laws about that stuff? Any new party people out there? Seems to me that the Tea Party is the the same kind of thing.

    • mr benson

      pb, I don’t know where to go with the disgust towards both parties. I have some theories about what to do. I read today that the moderate representatives continue to shrink as the moderate base becomes increasingly disgusted. That seems counter intuitive to disgust with both parties, but it’s what is happening.

      Because yes, the votes on the initiatives indicate just what you said, anti big abuse. Against “post date a check” and against big outfitter/landowners (real or not) and against the ability to impose more tax and spending.

      I don’t agree that it was money buying the initiatives, either. Nor did big money win in California. Governor Moonbeam isn’t conventional democrat any more than the Governator was a conventional republican.

      But then the blue dogs get defeated and the moderate R’s beaten in primaries. So I dunno where we go to reach the fat part of the bell curve..

  3. KirsteninMT

    “unregulated free market capitalism”

    Sorry, but this country has NEVER had unregulated free market capitalism, and we are FAR, FAR from it now.

    With free-market capitalism, we wouldn’t be forced to pay for senseless wars through our tax dollars, nor would debt for such be piled on us and generations to come.

    With free-market capitalism, we wouldn’t be bailing out failed corporations again and again through tax dollars, debt, and inflation of the money supply. These companies wouldn’t enjoy special privileges and Too Big To Fail status on the backs of workers.

    With free-market capitalism, we wouldn’t be funding, again through the above means, a decades long failed war against drugs which not only regulates that market (albeit unsuccessfully) but also destroys the lives of peaceful people everywhere.

    Republicans have at the very least as much- likely MORE, if a true accounting could actually be done- to answer for in these and many other anti-free market areas as Democrats, but let’s not pretend this is all because government’s not doing anything. Government’s doing plenty- and leaving a huge mess in its wake. I’d prefer take my chances with a REAL unregulated free market, thanks, not the corporate protectionist market of the Republican or Democrat variety.

    • lizard19

      you’re right, we’ve never seen a true free market exist. our system now is one of privatized profits and socialized risk.

  4. While you may think that the fact that 71% of the US population is fed up with BOTH parties, it is certainly NOT irrelavent. And while we are at it, let’s talk about those corporate pawns on the Democrat side of the fence. Wasn’t it Baucus (a Democrat last I checked) who sold us out to the insurance Corporatations? Can I blame him for the fact that a simple doctor’s visit at the “Community Health Center” here in Dillon has gone from 91.54$ to step in the door three years ago to 212.86$ to step in the door last month? It certainly wasn’t the Republicans… they voted against the HCR because it didn’t address the issue (and still hasn’t) that health care in the US is too damn expensive.

    The system itself is broken and one of that largest contributing factors was Reagonomics. We empowered the rich and their corporations to seize control of politics in America and they obliged. This has been further enabled by the Democrats begging for money to run for re-election to the point that the system itself has failed. When we have to pass citizen initiatives because our elected officials are too lazy, stupid or bought to act, we need to evaluate the entire system, not the partisan BS you want to spoon feed us.

    You are welcome to hate on Republicans all you want – this is your site. Just don’t accept us to accept this crap without question. Dems need to clean their own house before they start hurling stones at the Republicans and both parties need to get their heads out of the butts of these fat cat corporations.

    • they voted against the HCR because it didn’t address the issue (and still hasn’t) that health care in the US is too damn expensive.

      You continue to astound me with the naive belief that Republicans have, can or will act in good faith. Boehner and McConnell and Demint are finely being completely honest, and no one seems to want to listen. They don’t want less expensive health care. They want complete control of the government, and they’ll burn the country to the ground to get it.

  5. mr benson

    Regarding your father’s rant against the Republicans, let’s recognize that neither you nor the President has indicated any willingness to compromise these last two years; if anything, you advocate left, left left. In November 2008, you acted as if you had a forever mandate, losers be damned, and look at where it got you.

    It’s too late for you to call for compromise now. I will, seeing my party in power, especially at the state level, call for them to compromise. I think they should govern, not campaign. But you’ve lost the moral and actual authority to call for compromise. Monday, the day before the election, was your last chance, but the President was busy calling for Hispanics to take revenge on their enemies.

    Now, you just look like whiny losers.

    • ancient headline which sums up partisan politics ; carpenter crucified by roman soldiers; roman leader blames Jews.

      moral: those in power always blame those who aren’t.

    • lizard19

      i advocate for the left because the Democrats don’t represent the left anymore. so when i hear calls for Obama to compromise and move to the center, well, that just means, to me, you want Obama to be an all-out republican.

      so, Mr. B, i’ve looked like a whiny loser for years now ;)

    • JC

      “let’s recognize that neither you nor the President has indicated any willingness to compromise these last two years”

      Well, I’m not going to speak to lizard’s willingness to compromise or not. But to say that Obama has not shown any willingness to compromise flies false in the face of facts.

      1) Health care: the left wanted a single payer. Many of us compromised on a public option. Obama half-heartedly supported a public option, but traded (compromised) it away to get a few republican votes.

      2) FinReg: the left wanted to break up banks and completely get rid of too big to fail. They compromised by getting a consumer protection agency instead. Obama gave away all of his points to compromise on by stating to the big banks: “I’m the only thing between you and the pitchforks.” And he signed a very weak bill full of compromises and omissions.

      3) Bush tax cuts: the left wants them to go away for the rich. Obama has said he wants them to go away too. But he has said he’ll compromise by signing a temporary extension until after the 2012 elections, when republicans will be able to do whatever they want if the people aren’t happy with that.

      4) Global warming and energy reform: the left wants a carbon tax, but were willing to settle for cap and trade. Obama wanted cap and trade, after compromising with the left side of his party. Then when the republicans took control, he has said he’ll work for an energy policy that doesn’t have cap and trade.

      The list goes on, Mr. B. Obama has a history of positioning himself between moderate republicans and moderate dems, and then forcing the left side of his party to compromise with that position. And then he trades away that compromise. It is his style.

      So your refusal to acknowledge how centrist Obama is, and how he is trying to pull the left side of his party to the center, reveals that what you really want is for him and the dems to move even further to the right. Which is to say, overtly act like the moderate republicans that they have become. And then compromise with the remaining moderate republicans, who have started acting like the right wing of their party was acting a few election cycles ago.

      Those people who aren’t going to be happy until the left acknowledges that the country should, has and will move the right are going to be very unhappy in the next 2 years. Because as those gullible dems and the media pundits watching them begin believing this meme, the left side of the dem party, and all of the leftist indies are just going to watch the base of the dem party dissolve into mushy republican lite.

      And then Michael Bloomberg can rise up and lead the “moderate”, swing Independent vote, and the mushy rep/dem centrist muddle to either a victory over Obama, or split the vote so the far right can elect Sarah Palin. Mark my words. I hope I have to eat them in 2 years.

    • hoodrat

      hasn’t compromised? Obama and Senate Democrats compromised quite a bit and even pushed ideas that belonged to the Republican party not too long ago but the Republicans in Congress were only hell bent on saying no to Obama and obstructing nearly every piece of meaningful legislation. Democrats kept giving Republicans and inch here and an inch there but it was never enough, Republicans just wanted everything their way all the way. That’s not compromise. Compromise is a two way street and if Republicans aren’t willing to travel down that street, why should Democrats?

  6. lizard19

    what i am trying to get at here is the Republican strategy is incoherent and self-serving, and it’s obvious. that’s why we aren’t going to hear any concrete specifics about how their abstract mantra to “cut spending” will play out in reality.

    other than Rand Paul, no one on the right is even thinking about addressing military spending. and to deflect the reality that tax cuts will add to the deficit, republican parrots squawk about raising taxes on small business; this is their magical force field to keep the actuality of what they really want from getting out: more money for the wealthy to hoard as the economy continues its anemic limp toward the supposed jobless recovery that’s happening.

    and Republicans are going to find out they are misreading the mandate they think they have to repeal health care reform. first off, they don’t have any cost saving ideas. second, why would anyone think Republicans are serious about making government work when they’ve spent so much time and money convincing everyone government in the problem?

    personally, i think JC is right. 2012 has the potential to be an election cycle like no other, where an independent might actually have a chance at addressing the systemic corruption and dysfunction both parties are mired with.

    • mr benson

      All I’ve seen from most Rs and Ds is the reality of negative campaigning. Bigot! Dope Smoker! You know, the montana cowgirl model hard at work.

      Both sides promise everything; Lower taxes and more spending and “good jobs”. I know some good ideas for good jobs, but they’re locked behind the idiotic government by ideology theory.

      And I’m going to tell you ALL again; primaries are part of the evil. Run to the left as a D, run to the right as an R, so that by the general, it’s just a choice between the authoritarian left and the authoritarian right. The first thing needed is open primaries. I don’t know if it will help, but if it doesn’t, then open elections without limit on candidates.

      • Turner

        There’s no equivalency between the left and right except in your mind. There hasn’t been a real “left” in American in many, many years. All Republicans and way too many Democrats are beholden to corporations, military interests, enemies of civil liberties, and theocrats. In other words, they’re beholden to the right.

        Obama is a moderate. He has liberal instincts but suppresses them to make deals with the right. He’s probably the best we can do for now. And that’s too bad.

  7. doesn’t really matter much to the american people what has gone on before. what matters is what happens next. if the house cannot work with the senate and the president to represent the common good then the dysfunction between the two parties will i predict, finally wear away the patience of the people and it might be the perfect time to run as an independent in 2012.

    it depends on whether anyone in the two parties can actually see the seething anger which is building up against partisan politics. if not, and they keep kidding themselves that they are the be all and end all and keep telling themselves that they know what the people need better than the people do, they will eventually wind up being very surprised.

    the tea party will look like a neighborhood get together by comparison.

    • Turner

      Anger against partisan politics? Where have you seen this?

      • You need to get out more mr turner.

        Only a handful of party insiders like party politics.

        People are sick of it. They want jobs and they don’t much care who gets them.

        If there is any more partisan gridlock the people are going to clean house in 2012.

        • The Polish Wolf

          Here’s the fact – no one can give Americans jobs. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can make jobs out of thin air. They can only make them out of deficit spending. Unfortunately, we racked up incredible deficits not creating jobs, but fighting wars and enriching the upper classes. The economy is growing at what, two percent? We have three choices – we can dig ourselves into incredible debt, we can wait for the slowly recovering economy to reduce unemployment on its own, or we can actually tax the rich, the only beneficiaries of the last decade of deficit spending policies, to raise the money to give jobs to the working class. None of these options are popular, so incumbents ought to just bite the bullet, accept that they won’t make any friends, and do what will stabilize our economy and our wealth gap in the long term.

          • lizard19

            so maybe instead of “throwing the bums out” every two years, Americans should start figuring out why we’ve experienced decades of middle class erosion and working class impoverishment no matter which party is running the show.

            • The Polish Wolf

              Absolutely. Although to be fair, during the Clinton administration the middle class did see some real income increase, unlike in the 80’s or 00’s. The party in control certainly doesn’t determine the level of income disparity, but it does have an influence.

              • JC

                “The party in control certainly doesn’t determine the level of income disparity,”

                What, you don’t think that things like federal minimum wage and earned income tax credits, and tax rate on the rich have anything to do with income disparity?

                Then what is this “income disparity” to you? And if the government has minimal influence on it, then how do you suggest it be reduced? Or are you ok with a growing disparity?

              • The Polish Wolf

                I was just pointing out the fact that political policies do make difference, though they are not the only determining factor. Precisely the point you & lizard were making.

                All those things you mentioned do have an affect on the wealth disparity. However, there are also other structural reasons (the increased competitiveness of newly industrialized nations, for one example). Hence Lizard’s point –

                “we’ve experienced decades of middle class erosion and working class impoverishment no matter which party is running the show.”

                So…we were making the same point. Only you decided to ‘refute’ me while making the same point. Good rule of commenting thumb – read twice, reply once.

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