Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Republican Party is Dead

Here's my question: why take a job if you don't think the job should be done?  

Listening to Governor Barbour's response to the President's Weekly Address, I can't help but think that the governor believes his job should be limited to cashing his paycheck and making sure his friends don't pay taxes.  I am coming to the belief that holding elected office as a Republican ought to preclude one from ever seeking election to government again.  Seriously, Republican politicians have come to believe their own "Government is the problem" propaganda so much that they seem to be actively working to destroy it.  And isn't it clear that "fiscal conservatism" only happens when Republicans are in the minority?  I'd rather have some real fiscal conservatives elected in this country and have them be the other party in our two-party system, rather than the war-loving, tax-breaking, torture-works party that elected Republicans have become.

Back to Gov. Barbour.  Like any Republican office-holder, he must have at least one lie in every paragraph.  Let's see if I can find them:

"Hi, I'm Haley Barbour. It's budget time for a lot of states, and we governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, are working to balance our budgets.

The lie in this paragraph is the word "balance".  There is nothing balanced about California's budget; we just barely succeeded in passing a budget at all, due to Republican politician's tax-break ideologue idiocy.
"Though the stimulus package spends an incredible amount of money, with some of it going to state governments, the mandates about how we have to spend much of that money, plus the severe drop in most states' revenue, mean all governors are preparing a wide variety of significant spending cuts to balance our budgets.

The lie here is that because of "mandates" to spend stimulus money, governors are deciding on "significant" spending cuts.  How much more "significant" would the cuts be if it wasn't mandated to spend the stimulus money?  Gov. Barbour, the federal government is concerned with getting the economy going again - that is, spending - they are not concerned about your state deficits.  That's owned by the people of your state, and shouldn't be paid for by taxpayer money from other states.
"With the federal government it's just the opposite: President Obama's budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

Leading economists, who have a track record of being correct for years about the fundamentals of our economy, think the stimulus package was too small.  Shouldn't we start listening to the people who have been warning about this mess rather than the people who have been wrong all along, who are currently saying the "budget spends too much"?
"It's breathtaking: The new Administration's budget for next year alone calls for a one point two TRILLION dollar deficit ... nearly triple any past federal deficit.

The lie here is "next year alone".  This is a more traditional Republican politician's lie:  it's true on the face of it, but conveniently doesn't mention that President Obama promises to halve the national deficit within four years.  The budget also ends the lying going on within each of President Bush's budgets; war spending is on the books, and a contingency plan is included for natural disasters, rather than assuming that earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes just never happen.  President Obama's team knows that "Stuff happens."
"While families are cutting back, President Obama has proposed a massive government spending spree. It reminds me of how one of our old senators used to joke about the federal budget. He said it was like a newborn baby: insatiable appetite at one end and total irresponsibility at the other.

The lie in this paragraph is a false analogy.  It is ludicrous and counter-productive to compare family budgeting with government budgeting.  It also ignores the economic fact, historically proven by Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, that when no one else is creating demand the government must.  An economy without demand is not an economy.  That's the situation we are in now.
"This astronomical record federal deficit would be accompanied by the largest tax increases in history. But trillions of new taxes won't nearly cover all the new spending, so our children and grandchildren will be saddled with trillions more in debt.

Here's one of my favorites: the compound lie (with a bonus: lie of omission).  "the largest tax increases in history."  It's a lie stacked on top of another lie, like pancakes.  ALLOWING the Bush tax cuts to expire, as written into the original tax cuts legislation, is not INCREASING taxes.  The compound lie is that the Republicans wanted us to believe back in 2003 that the cost of the tax cuts would not affect government, BECAUSE THEY WOULD SUNSET in 2011.  So, they didn't include any costs past 2011 in trying to get it passed.  The lie of omission is that all of these tax increases affect only income over $250,000.  That's right, rich people pay exactly as much tax on their money under $250,000 as you do.  It's only dollar number 250,001 and above that's taxed more.  That means that 95% of Americans are going to see tax CUTS under the Obama proposal.
"And this budget blowout comes on top of the debt for the $787 billion Obama stimulus package, the $410 billion omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress this month, the $300 billion the Federal Reserve said this week it would spend to buy U.S. government bonds, and the $750 billion the Fed announced just Wednesday it would spend to buy mortgage-backed securities. Trillions and trillions in new spending mean record tax increases and record government debt.

Another lie of omission: no mention of the $4 Trillion cost of the Iraq War.  An unnecessary, unjustified, probably criminal war.  Or the economic crisis President Obama inherited that is the reason for most of this necessary spending.  Also, the bad math lie: $787 + $410 + $300 + $750 = $2.247 Trillion.  That's not "trillions and trillions" -- unless that is where Gov. Barbour is hiding the cost of the Iraq War.
"The cap and trade tax and other energy taxes will drive up both electricity and gasoline prices for families and for businesses. And while Wall Street gets trillions to bail them out, small businesses will get stuck with not only income tax increases but also enormous cost increases for energy: for electricity and gasoline. Families will get clobbered, too.

Here's the lie: "will drive up both electricity and gasoline prices".  President Obama's cap and trade proposal would have affected only new coal plants built, not the current coal plants people are counting on.  
"Don't take my word for it; listen to what Barack Obama himself told The San Francisco Chronicle last year, and I quote: Under my plan of cap and trade, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

I remember during the last days of the presidential campaign right-wing blogs were trying to talk up the "put coal companies out of business" quote from San Francisco, but see above.  Also, Sen. John McCain was campaigning on a cap and trade promise as well.
"And President Obama was right. His energy taxes, like the cap and trade tax, will drive energy costs for American families through the roof.

Both presidential candidates understood that the government needed to direct energy towards sustainability.  If we don't get the energy grid fixed, and fixed now, then our children won't have one.  It's that simple.  And finally, this argument of Gov. Barbour's has just been rendered moot as Stephanopolous is reporting that cap and trade is being dropped in favor of tackling health care reform.
"In this budget season we have choices. While states are controlling spending and balancing their budgets, the Obama budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. It's not the right choice for America."

To leave that pleasant aftertaste in your mouth, another lie of omission.  In order to be perfectly truthful, Gov. Barbour should have added "Of course, Republicans have no ideas on how the budget ought to be constructed."  So we might as well go with the budget we have, right?