Archive for April, 2011

Because I write columns often critical of Republicans – two previous SECOND THOUGHTS on the hypocrisy of Newt Gingrich and the stupidity of Rick Santorum as examples – I get some feedback that I’m just another whinny, Democrat liberal. Tain’t true.

Bottom line: I hate hypocrisy and stupidity in people holding – or seeking – elective office. Anywhere. At the moment, the GOP’s fielding a national team of players, most of whom are batting .950 or better on both counts.

Gingrich, Palin, Bachmann, Santorum, Trump, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Demint, et al barge onto my HDTV regularly as the national media breathlessly relays their latest dumb statements. At times, hypocrisy (Gingrich), stupidity (Santorum), moronic (Trump), racist (Huckabee) or just ignorant (Palin and Bachmann in a statistical dead heat).

The main reason Democrats are faring better, in my opinion, is there are fewer of them hogging the spotlight at the moment. They say less; are in the media less; don’t rush from camera to camera with displays of oral ignorance and seem quite happy with the spectacle being made by the GOP’s mental midgets. Hasn’t always been that way but they’re laying back. At the moment.

It’s not just me complaining about this pack of dangerously unqualified people on the campaign trail. Economic reporter Jeanne Sahadi, writing for CNN Money, pointed out the very real harm Bachmann and others, for example, are doing with their phony promises not to raise the debt ceiling which will soon reach $14.3 trillion.

Sahadi makes the excellent point the irresponsible rhetoric confuses two separate issues. One is that raising the debt ceiling is a technical necessity if the country is not going to default on spending already obligated. The other is the actual problem of debt which is a political policy matter. Two issues, not one.

Sahadi also wrote Bachmann claiming raising the debt ceiling would “give Congress a license to keep spending” is like saying “people who want to lose weight shouldn’t buy a larger refrigerator because it would give them license to eat more.”

If you froze every federal bill today and didn’t approve spending another dime, the ceiling would have to go up just to pay today’s bills. Just today’s. It’s just that simple. Really. Except for Bachmann, Rand Paul and a few others. Even when Pres. Obama was a Senator, he said raising the ceiling was “failure of leadership.” He was wrong, too.

The mess we’re in is the result of borrowing too much and giving away too much. Like tax breaks to individuals, corporations and others. For every dollar lost in a give-away, a dollar is added to debt. Plus interest on that dollar because we can’t pay cash anymore. We owe too much.

Members of Congress and presidents – past and present – have gotten us into this mess in many ways. Handing out tax cuts without compensating for the lost revenue. Caving in to big lobbies. Expanding social programs without bringing in the dollars to pay for them – like the Medicare prescription plan. Buying billion dollar plus defense toys when the military didn’t need or want them. Getting us into doomed wars. And on and on. And on.

Congressional “governing” has become dysfunctional, according to Sahadi. Left to the current crop of campaigning nuts … and if more Bachmanns, Pauls, Huckabees, Trumps, Palins et all are added to the mix higher up … we face two all but certain calamities. One, a real national cash management crisis, creating huge debt problems for the Treasury Department. Two, a bond market that, if it gets spooked, would further increase future borrowing costs on a debt we already can’t pay.

This crap that we can “cut our way out of this” by taking an axe to federal spending is pure road apples! The current budget year is half gone. If cutting was the solution – as these nuts claim – we’d have to slice out $738 billion. Now! This budget year! According to the Congressional Research Service, there would have to be a similar amount next year. And the next. And the next.

The flat truth of the matter is, if no one else will say it, we need more federal revenue! Period! Cuts, certainly. But reductions in the right places while adding revenue to pay our immense stack of bills. Most of the current crop of Republican wannabe’s don’t show they have a clue. And they certainly couldn’t oversee the delicate economic balancing act of selective thinning of programs while adding income in the form of taxes without killing a struggling economy.

And do you think any of them … ANY … has the guts to say that, go to the mat for that, be honest with the electorate for that? Any? One?

No, the bias you see in my thinking is not Democrat – old or new. Nor is it Republican or Tea Party or Whig. It’s a manifestation of my personal lack of respect for the loudest, most disconnected crazies on the current campaign trail. And in Congress.

At the moment, there are more Republican turkeys at this turkey shoot than Democrat pigeons. Simple as that. It’ll change. Someday.