Saturday, September 20, 2008

Republican Magic: spend, don't pay

by Jaime O'Neill

— from the Paradise Post

Republicans think of themselves as manly folks who stand for defense and against taxation, but the truth is that Republicans are the party of spoiled brats. Like children, they want everything, but don't want to pay for anything.

They wanted a war in Iraq, but they didn't want to pay for it, so they've borrowed from the Chinese to the tune of untold billions that someone else's kids are going to have to pay for, just as other people's kids mostly fight that war for them. And they wanted lots of overpriced no-bid contracts for some of the sleaziest companies imaginable, but they didn't want to pay for that, either. The money that's been enriching all those corporate cronies has also been put on the tab because tax relief to the richest 1 percent of those who least needed relief was much more important to Republicans than a pay-as-you-go plan for the lavish spending they were doing. They wanted unregulated banking and lending, a utopian environment for the greedy and the irresponsible, and they got it.

What the rest of us got was an economy that's circling the drain. They love to disparage "tax-and-spend Democrats" but the main difference between Republicans and Democrats has been that Republicans like to spend, but they don't like to tax, at least not those people who have the most money. For far too long, too many Americans have bought into an economic plan that George W. Bush's daddy once called "voodoo economics" when Reagan was promoting the idea.

Under Republican stewardship, we spend like drunken sailors who never think we'll have to face the dawn. Republicans are like shopaholics. They never met a war they didn't like, and they buy 'em off the rack. And they don't shop for bargains, either; they pay whatever is asked, no matter how outrageous. If Halliburton says a 6-pack of Coke for the troops costs $45, well, that's fine, just put it on the card.

When the credit card gets maxed out, they get a new one. As in the joke about the ditzy wife, they figure they can't be broke because they still have checks. Now it's true that Democrats spend taxpayer money, too, and we could surely argue about how wisely some of that money is spent. Democrats, however, still cling to the old-fashioned idea that when you buy something, it's gotta be paid for.

And when it comes to government spending, the money to pay for things like roads and bridges comes from taxation. I'd love to be a Republican, love to live in a world where nothing had to be paid for, but up here in Butte County, we received the benefit of millions of dollars in firefighting expenditures this past summer, a boon to our community and to each of us individually. Sure, we all pay state taxes, but if we had to cover all the cost of fighting our recent fires out of some set-aside pocket of taxes from this county alone, we couldn't have afforded it.

People who don't live here and who may never even visit here helped pay to fight our fires, though no one asked if they wanted to have their tax money spent so far from their own backyards. Those of us who lived in the path of those fires ought to recognize with some gratitude that whatever we paid in state taxes this year, we got a helluva bargain. Personally, I paid just under $2,009 in state taxes last year, and that was money well spent, if you ask me.

I can't even begin to list what all I got for that money, but somewhere on that list is paychecks for guys who fight fires, and fly air tankers that drop fire retardant on flames that almost certainly would have wiped out my entire neighborhood had that work not been done.

"To be a man is, precisely, to be responsible."

I've admired that quote ever since I first read it. To be a man, or an adult, is to be responsible-to our families, and to the society and country that sustains us. It seems like a no-brainer, but if we want all the services we cannot provide for ourselves - like schools, and roads, and fire protection - then those things must be paid for, and those people who have the most money should pay accordingly.

As nice as it might seem to shrink government until "we could drown it in the bathtub," to quote Republican strategist Grover Norquist, the fact is we need government, need the things it provides, and the services it administers, from the oversight of what goes into baby food we eat when we are infants to the Social Security checks mailed to us when we're old.

The Republicans call this "cradle-to-grave" socialism, but their failures at governance should be apparent to everyone by now. Thanks to Republicans here in California, all attempts to pass a budget are routinely held up year in and year out as Republicans try to block taxes on the rich and services to the poor, the elderly, the halt, and the blind. At the national level, the idea that things don't need to be paid for has put not only our economy in peril, but the world's economy as well.

A failure to provide oversight of our financial institutions has led to colossal failures - Fannie and Freddie Mac, Bear-Stearns, Lehmann Bros, AIG - and now those irresponsible private enterprise excesses have added to the huge burden of the federal government. Were it not for taxes, the system would be collapsing, even though the bail outs, like the war, are all on credit, even as the richest people in this country seek new ways to spend the money they already have, and as John McCain looks for more houses he can buy and then forget he owns.
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1 comment:

Americaneocon said...

JD: Why do you even visit my blog? I don't ever recall a constructive point you've made. If you served in the miltary, good for you, but really, I just think you've got a bunch of anti-neocon hatred inside of you.

I'm sure you're a friendly fellow in person, but you're a damned crank when you visit my page.

Go to www.conservativetimes.org, and you'll find some nice friends ... people who agree with you, okay?