Sunday, March 17, 2013


As near as I can tell Republicans appear to be obsessed with at least four different themes:
(1)    Smaller government.
(2)    Lower taxes
(3)    A balanced budget
(4)    No increase in revenue
At least these are the main four themes they consistently repeat and claim to be important. There is little evidence that government, generally speaking, was much smaller when Republicans held power in government, nor until perhaps George W. Bush, is there much evidence there were lower taxes (Reagan, for example, raised taxes several times, and under the Eisenhower administration taxes were much higher than subsequently).
Their obsession with a balanced budget is particularly obsessive, given the fact that I don’t recall the federal budget has ever been balanced. I wonder if they think Clinton’s surplus represented a balanced budget? Actually, it is probably impossible for the federal government to ever achieve a balanced budget, given the exigencies of weather related disasters, unanticipated tax or other shortfalls, and so on. Of course there is no particular need for a balanced budget in any case. There may well be inevitable deficits from time to time but these are not directly related to balanced budgets. Similarly, they try to draw a parallel between family budgets and the federal budget, failing to understand that family budgets do not themselves reliably balance (indeed, if they did, the credit card industry and banks would probably soon be out of business).
The obsession with no increase in revenue under any circumstances is a recent development. Taxes have always been raised and lowered during all administrations, Republican as well as Democratic. I guess this is a result of the idiocy of Grover Norquist and his slavish followers, mostly Republicans, who seem to believe government is unnecessary. This might have made sense back in the 1600’s, or maybe even the 1700 hundreds, when communities were small and the tasks of government could be performed by local citizens, but it hardly applies to a country of some 300 billion citizens who must have roads, bridges, schools, health care, firemen, police, and so on. The idea that revenue cannot be raised under any circumstances is completely antithetical to the idea of government, which is, I guess the goal of these unutterably stupid people. They seem to visualize a time when everyone roamed around with a six-gun and met at the OK corral to settle their differences. It is an idea so stupid as to only be embraced by Republicans.
You might argue, I suppose, that these are not true obsessions, as obsessions are a form of psychiatric disorder (consult the Diagnostic Manual of the Psychiatric Association), and Republicans are not truly psychiatric cases, but I believe you would be on rather thin ice. On the other hand, as there is little or no evidence Republican administrations have ever produced smaller governments or a balanced budget, to say nothing of always lowering taxes, you might say these are false obsessions, simply talking points they cling to for political purposes. Personally, I believe they are true obsessions held by people who do not actually think and thus believe them passionately. The more recent belief in no increase in revenue under any circumstances is particularly pathological whether classified as a true obsession or not. In less formal terms I think it is fair to say they are simply crazy, if not crazy, anarchists, perhaps both crazy and anarchists. They are certainly not patriotic Americans.
While they might not as yet have succeeded in reducing government to the level where they can drown it in the bathtub, they are certainly succeeding in dragging patriotism and love of country to such a watery grave. Their apparent loyalty to the huge international corporations that make their profits whether there is a USA or not, means they do not fundamentally care about our nation as such. Our nation, along with the concept of nationhood, is slowly disappearing while a few huge international corporations have budgets that already rival those of most other nations and are still growing. As a balanced budget, as Republicans see it, will be balanced on the backs of ordinary taxpayers, it is just another scheme to transfer public wealth to the private sector, where those “in the know” can live ever more happily ever after. Rank and file Republicans may actually be obsessed with a balanced budget, smaller government, and lower taxes, those in the know, know better.

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