Point of View Columns

Chain of Fools

Perhaps Christine O’Donnell was trying to tell us something during her bizarro senatorial campaign in Delaware last year. She famously stated that she “was not a witch”, but maybe she was trying to tell us that she actually was a witch who was planning to work her black magic in Washington with the other Republican wizards, witches and warlocks.

That would at least be a logical explanation as to how the G.O.Tea Party has been able to spin the facts and flip the scripts at dizzying speeds as it pursues its right wing of the right wing agenda. An examination of the facts does not justify or support that agenda but facts never deter zealots.

The battle cry du jour of the G.O.Tea Party pertains to the need to balance the budget immediately, decrying the wasteful spending that has brought this country to the precipice of financial ruin. The liturgy of the Church of Mean demands that health care, education, social services and arts and culture be sacrificed on the altar of alleged fiscal probity.

The only problem with this faux scenario is that it is based upon the absolute misrepresentation of the facts. According the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – http://www.cbpp.org – a non-partisan research and policy institute working on federal and state fiscal policies and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income Americans, most of the budget deficit can be directly attributed to the Bush-era tax cuts and two misguided and ill-advised wars.

The economic downturn that began in 2008 is a contributing factor to the deficit but it did not precipitate the budget deficits that this country now faces.

The fact is that the Bush-era tax cuts drained billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury. And the Bush-era tax cuts were extended in December of 2010 as the result of a non-negotiable demand of the G.O.Tea Party. As a result, more billions of tax dollars will not be collected by the federal government due to the creation of this “structural deficit”.

The fact is that the two wars started by President Bush were misguided and mismanaged from the very start, resulting in the shameful loss of life and the incredible waste of this country’s financial resources. The war in Afghanistan was never had a goal or a mission that justified the expenditure of billions of dollars.

In bowing to military and political strategic concerns, the Obama Administration has compounded the errors of the Bush Administration by committing more troops and many more billions of dollars to this wasteful and ultimately futile exercise.

The fact is that the war in Iraq started by President Bush was based on lies and guileless deception. There were never any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was never a threat to American national security.

Every key member of the Bush Administration knew this and yet this country was plunged in to the mire of bloodbath from which it has yet to fully emerge a decade later. And, in the process, a trillion dollars has been spent building a bridge that truly leads to nowhere.

The fact is that the economic downturn that began in 2008 was not a cyclical occurrence that could not be avoided. The fact is that this near cataclysmic collapse was directly attributable intentional lack of oversight of the same financial markets that are now supporting further tax cuts and budget cuts having been bailed out in 2009.

The Republicans now contend that programs like Healthcare, pre-school education, Medicare, veterans’ assistance, Planned Parenthood and the National Endowment of the Arts should have their budgets eviscerated in order to eliminate deficits that their policies caused. As we should all know by now, this budget battle has never been about dollars and cents.

There is no financial logic to support the G.O.Tea Party budget position. There is the ideological foundation to this budget battle which ultimately would change the purpose and mission of government from taking care of the American people to being a caretaker for a system that will only reward the wealthy and the powerful.

That the G.O.Tea Party has been able to present these baseless budget arguments without the kind of thunderous criticism that they deserve may just be a tribute to their witchcraft and magic. Or perhaps we are just being played for fools.

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