Liberal TKO

Memo to Republicans: Do What You Do Best and Disregard the Deficit — Help the People, Dammit | July 18, 2010


“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” Vice President Cheney said in 2002 . . . Good thing — a $230 billion surplus left by Clinton turned into a deficit of over $1 trillion under Bush. But now . . . now, the Republicans are endlessly yammering about the deficit. They’re attempting to kill all of President Obama’s programs under the guise of gut-wrenching worry that the deficit will grow. Yeah, bet it really keeps them up at night. They’ve voted against extending unemployment benefits — can’t you just hear the floorboards creaking under their feet as they pace the floor every night, wringing their hands and worrying about the fate of the unemployed?

As Ezra Klein pointed out, “. . . there’s no evidence conservatives care about deficits when they’re in the White House.” If the Republicans were to regain the White House at any point, I think the word “deficit” would pretty much vanish from their lexicon. “Compassion” was never in it.

Republicans don’t care about the deficit, but they do care about holding tight to their hard right base who see the Americans who are unemployed, and losing everything, as unworthy of assistance. Just listen to the rhetoric: Harry Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, said the unemployed are “spoiled.” Arizona’s Republican Senator, Jon Kyl, seems to think that extending unemployment benefits encourages people to sit on their lazy asses and live off the largesse of the government.

Paul Krugman accurately said that the nation is facing, in Republicans, “a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused.” I would like to add self-invested, elitist and hypocritical to that description. And I don’t think they’re clueless or confused at all — they know exactly what they’re doing when they turn off the financial tap to the desperate people who can’t find jobs. To destroy the economy is, to them, to destroy President Obama — which is, in the end, their only agenda.

We shouldn’t have to wait until Tuesday to pass a compassionate measure to temporarily assist those who are jobless and financially dependent on the assistance the government provides. For Pete’s sake, that’s what unemployment benefits are for, and in a time like this, keep those benefits coming until the time when five people aren’t lining up for every job.

The Republicans have no excuse, they have no reason, and they have no shame. As long as they’re the “haves,” they don’t care about the “have-nots.” They can grow the deficit endlessly for war, but are suddenly concerned about the deficit when it’s about helping families.

A recent poll showed that 52% of voters think unemployment benefits should be extended, even if it means the deficit increases. Do Republicans really think the only voters who are unemployed are Democrats?

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2 Comments »

  1. I’m thinking the person who did the header here could make an effort to make clear the tenor of the article.

    Comment by Joe Rosenthal — July 18, 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  2. The only exception I would take with the article is the statement that,”If the Republicans were to regain the White House at any point, I think the word “deficit” would pretty much vanish from their lexicon”.

    I am afraid that if the Republicans regain power at any time soon with the country’s mood being what it is today, they will use the deficit and national debt as an excuse to do what they have wanted to do since FDR – roll back all social programs, shred what is left of the safety net and eliminate what little progressiveness there remains in the Federal Tax system.

    Just look at Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Road Map for America”. It reduces the top tax rate to 25%, eliminates taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. And of course the estate tax must go. It eliminates the corporate tax entirely, replacing it with a consumption tax which is nothing more than a hidden sales tax.

    Where are the savings to come from to make up for all the lost tax revenue? Privatizing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid would be just the start. Repeal the Health Care Reform Act and any other social program that does not fit into their irrational world view.

    That is how the Republicans plan to use the country’ irrational fear of deficits to further their agenda.

    Comment by DERONKK — July 23, 2010 @ 3:27 AM


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