Saturday, February 5, 2011

2010 House Republicans Slashing Deficit! Oooops.

Having just emerged from where ever they were hiding before the November election, House Republicans are "hot on the trail" of the $100 Bn they promised the tea bags that they would slash out of the Federal Budget.  If one were to believe the shaky images of Congressional reporting, the GOP-Cons are literally crawling around under their House desks looking for some low hanging "waste, abuse and fraud" fruit which can be cut with the blur of a pen.

Darn, that $100 Bn idea looks like it's going to be more along the lines of, say, $30 Bn.  Oooops.

Who could dispute the proposition that "slashing the budget" would be any more difficult to understand or any harder to do than the drooling simplisms promised and promoted by Limbaugh or Beck?

"GOP-Con" or "Emotocon?"  There's nothing to it!  (image source)
So, how is it going?  MeanMesa simply cannot refuse this chance for a quick update on the cost cutting.

Repealing the Health Care Reform Bill will add $285 Bn to the deficit immediately, backed up by another $10 Tn or so in the next decade.
The "lame duck" agreement -- an inescapable product of the neo-con flood of November -- will do its part, too.  The oligarch class, yes, the top 2% who are already languishing in their own version of "hard times" as they try to make ends meet with 31% of all the cash earned every year, will receive a "Senatorial Dividend" of $160 Bn in tax cuts.  It's a "dividend" because it represents the "return on investment" for all the cash the plutocrats poured in as "campaign contributions."

Then, on a sadder note, there is the $40 Bn tax cut from not fixing the estate tax law.  Open demography suggests that this will be going to around 6,000 people -- but, "special" people, not just anyone.  You know, poor, hard working  rich folks who would be ruined if they had to, uh, pay taxes.

Of course, the GOP-Cons and the Bags are hot to cut spending, but the "spending cuts" tend to be in the millions, not the billions.  To clarify matters, tax cuts for the plutocrats come in billions.  Spending cuts impacting the lower classes come in the millions.  Naturally, the proposed cuts resemble a transcript of the wandering tantrums in an American Legion bar on a weekday midnight, so MeanMesa will spare our visitors an entire run-through of the mind numbing chaos.

NPR provides a healthy recap short enough to not strangle a toad.

House GOP's Proposed Deep Spending Cuts Rile Senate Democrats

 Charles Dharapak/ASSOCIATED PRESS House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011.

House Republicans threw another log on the bonfire of tensions between themselves and Senate Democrats with Thursday's proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) to cut discretionary, non-security federal spending for the present year by nearly 20 percent.

Ryan said his proposed cuts would slash $58 billion from the affected part of the federal budget for the rest of the fiscal year which ends in September.

The cuts are smaller than those demanded by many Tea Party conservatives. Some wanted $100 billion in cuts. (His office provided a fact sheet on the proposal.)

But they're significantly larger than the reductions Democrats are willing to accept in domestic spending programs.

So a confrontation looms between the GOP controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate especially since lawmakers must soon agree on measures to continue funding the federal government past March 1 and to raise the federal debt ceiling to keep the government from defaulting on its debts.

In a statement, Ryan said:
"Washington's spending spree is over. As House Republicans pledged – and voted to affirm on the House floor last week – the spending limits will restore sanity to a broken budget process and return spending for domestic government agencies to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels. Last year, House Democrats failed to pass, or even propose, a budget and the spending binge continued unchecked. After two consecutive trillion dollar budget deficits and with unemployment remaining unbearably high, we must chart a new course.

"The spending limit measure marks another step in House Republicans' continued efforts to change Washington's pervasive culture of spending. In one of our first acts in the new Majority, we voted to cut Congress's own budget. We voted to cut trillions of dollars in new government spending by advancing a repeal of the President's health care law. The President has asked for an increase in the national debt limit, but we must first work to enact serious spending cuts and reforms. Endless borrowing is not a strategy. Business as usual in Washington is not acceptable.

The Hill reports that Sen. Harry Reid intends to do whatever he can to avert a government shutdown. But he called the GOP's proposed cuts "draconian" and "unworkable."

An excerpt:
"The chairman of the Budget Committee today, today sent us something even more draconian than we originally anticipated," said Reid. "So this isn't some game that people have been playing. The House of Representatives [is] actually sending us some of these unworkable plans."

Republicans have threatened to block a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond early March, as well as legislation raising the national debt limit unless Democrats agree to significant spending cuts.

Reid warned that threatening a government shutdown or blocking an increase in the national debt limit would be playing "Russian roulette" with the economy.
Since every blog in the world has already singled out some specific, "extra stinky" part of the Republican "budget," MeanMesa will direct this posting to big picture issues.  To begin, we'll post, once again, our now famous deficit chart.

And we will remind our MeanMesa visitors that the Republicans who coughed up this hair ball are EXACTLY the same Republicans who are now claiming to be solving the matter.  They are not simply the 


either.  They are the same people!  The folks with the hands which went up to vote "Yes" on the deficits in this chart are the same people who are now blaming it on the Democrats.  Now finally, to avoid another case of simply careening into a pathetic geriatric "ranting" episode, MeanMesa will simply provide a soothing fable which probably has something to do with "cutting the budget."

The Dog Catcher

Once upon a time there was a lovely little village in, say, Oklahoma.  The villagers were a happy bunch.  They seemed to be able to get along with each other quite well and manage the village's business with an admirable display of good, Oklahoma "common sense."

There was, however, a cranky old hermit living at the outskirts of town.  He had paid attention to Newt Gringrich's strategy for "taking back America"  way back in the days of the "Silent Majority."  

That strategy suggested that all cranky misfits all across the country should begin to "take back America" by starting at the bottom with civic jobs such as librarian, water commissioner, park supervisor or dog catcher, then slowly embed themselves and their otherwise utterly unsaleable ideology in gradually more and more influential positions while their neighbors were not watching.

Of course, the "dog catcher" idea was particularly attractive to the old miscreant.  However, the first obstacle which appeared in his scheme was that the village had no dog catcher.  The village dogs, much like the human residents, were a happy, well adjusted lot who almost never even so much as "lifted their voices" at each other.

The bitter hermit's efforts to persuade the village council to create a job of dog catcher went no where.  Not only did the Council members think it was unnecessary given the remarkably pleasant nature of the local dogs, but they also decided that such a new position would be wasting the village's money.

After this crushing defeat to the old crank's strategy, he derived a new plan.

He collected a single dog one afternoon, a dog which had no particular owner but who ate meals "here and there" by invitations from his dog friends, and locked the poor beast in his shed.  For the next weeks, he provided for the trapped dog only water, and not too much of even that.

Predictably, the cruelly incarcerated dog began to have a rather bad attitude.  As the dog got hungrier and hungrier, the cranky misfit began to beat the dog every afternoon for no reason whatsoever.  After a month, he released the now infuriated, insane canine back into the village where it proceeded to bite folks whenever the opportunity presented itself.

(image source)

Now, armed with a pressing social crisis, the hermit returned to the Council, demanding that it "do something" about the dog problem.  On the village's street corner later, the old curmudgeon began to deliver incendiary speeches about how the inept village Council had failed to hire him as a dog catcher "back when this problem could have been solved more easily."  The reprobate always ended his street corner tirades with the same phrase which was:  "...and just look at the awful place they've left us in now!"

As we move ahead a few years, we find the village now with pot holes in the roads, a one room school house with a leaky roof and a terrible budget deficit.  However, across the street from the village Council chamber, the new dog pound is just receiving its final touches.  Immediately next door, the fabulous office of the Village Dog Catcher sits behind the fleet of dog catching trucks parked in front, instantly ready to rush anywhere in the village where there might be a dog complaint.

A quick interview with a village resident recaps the tale.  "Well, actually things suck around here.  This place used to be in lots better shape.  But, at least we don't have to worry about the dog problem any more."

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