Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Budget Battles 2011

Despite my minor aversion to math & high finance, for me it's interesting to watch the big political showdown in DC over last year's federal budget.

As far as politics goes, you would think that dealing with public budget numbers would be a relatively clear-cut exercise. Of course, like all things in the political arena the public debate has been a ideological battleground.

Obama's White House released it's budget proposal a couple months ago. However, there has been no clear articulation of it's contents, nor a coherent Democratic vision. Despite the predictably disastrous consequences of most their policies, the GOP definitely excels at creating simple-minded narratives & slogans.

Now, the House Republicans with Paul Ryan as their frontman have released their budget. Our government is approaching a "shutdown" because the right-wing is demanding even more massive cuts, specifically to progressive programs- like Medicare, Planned Parenthood, & that huge drain on the budget, NPR.

As the scrutiny of the content of Ryan's proposal has increased, more question have come up about his party's fiscal priorities.

Most people can agree that the government should be as efficient as possible & we shouldn't be running up endless debts. However, to take an axe to these kind of important social services while proposing to:

1) Lower taxes even FURTHER on the top tax bracket
2) Cut education
3) Privatize Medicare

4) Increase the Defense budget

is pretty much a cruel joke & a non-starter.

Liberal-minded citizens believe that the elderly, sick, and the less fortunate should be cared for by society, even if there is some fraud or waste in the system. The so-called conservative position is to leave anyone who cannot afford private services to their own suffering & misfortunes.
Would these people who hate "socialism" so much enjoy having to pay the firefighters put out blazes, cops make calls, and have every major road be a toll road? The idea that free-market competition is the answer to everything is foolish. For example, the craziest thing about our country is that our health care is still a for-profit system. It's unnecessary & insane.

Anyway, I remember the last gov't shutdown way back in 1995. I was still in high school & didn't give a damn about politics at all. I didn't even really understand what all the ruckus was about. At the time everything around me seemed to be okay!
The good ol' days! Hahaha.

The last time around, the Republicans didn't come out looking so good. As they say, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". You'd think they'd learn from previous mistakes...

...but the right-wingers in the House GOP don't ever seem to interested in "learnin'".

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