Maureen Dowd has it right in her New York Times column last Sunday. Conservatives are using the budget mess as a tool for promoting their backward social agenda. It is so obvious that even I have argued the point in this blog.
While supposedly working to fix the budget mess, some political leaders push against science and attempt to rewrite history in just about every area of social progress this country has enjoyed for generations. We still have hearings attempting to counter the science of global warming, efforts to roll back Medicare and privatize Social Security, legislation to ease financial and environment regulations, and laws dissolving the power of unions.
This is all done under the guise of balancing our budget mess by removing the burden of government and letting free market efficiency solve our problems. Really?
Haven’t we been through decades of reduced regulation, more free market “efficiency”, and smaller government? What results have these decades delivered to us?
The middle class is suffering. Real wages for most Americans are flat or declining. We are losing ground in education, health care, and other basic services. Our infrastructure is decades behind other advanced countries and declining fast. We are in multiple wars we need not be fighting. The list goes on…so by all means, let’s give conservative principles more time to do more harm.
But what are they doing to help our budget? Is the budget the primary concern?
First off, let’s get one thing straight. There is a difference between not being able to “live within our means” and choosing not to fund our needs. Conservatives have been deliberately underfunding government since the early 1980s, or, to me more specific, they have deliberately underfunding the social programs that have supported our nation’s success and progress.
“Starve the beast” has been a deliberate policy of unfunding government in order to justify cuts to it. Today this strategy is a normalized way of doing business in government from the local to the national level. No one seems to question it. But again one has to ask what all of this cutting has done for us.
Today conservatives are using the budget crisis as an excuse for their selfish social agenda. Eliminate public employee collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin? Sure! It’s all about balancing the budget. Again, we have a problem here that is about choices, and the choices have little to do with solving budget problems. Budgets can be balanced by fair and progressive tax policy or it can be balanced by putting the burden on state employees.
Even successful programs like Medicare and Social Security are threatened by misleading and distorted rhetoric. THese programs have been demonized as “entitlements”. If you’re a Michele Bachmann, these valuable social programs even threaten your freedom. The craziness has no end.
And that’s the point here. We have a politically divided country. On one side we have civically responsible and intelligent people and on the other we have Republicans.
Republicans are not the solution, they are the problem. You only need to pay attention and respect facts to understand this. Yet people hide from pointing fingers. Blame is due where it is due. After all if a bird looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it might be a duck. In this case the birds are turkeys and they come in all shades of conservative red.