Point of View Columns

Beware of the Zealots!

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has gained quite a bit of fame and notoriety by proposing a budget plan that proposes to virtually dismantle the federal government as we know it, all in the name of fiscal probity. It is not clear however, that cutting or eliminating funding for infrastructure development and repair, diminishing support for higher education and shredding the social services safety net upon which so many Americans rely illustrates adherence to basic principles of fiscal probity – or common sense for that matter.

Instead of wearing a silly tri-corner hat and carrying an effigy of President Obama hanging from a noose like some of his Tea Party supporters, Paul Ryan has put some lipstick on the right wing of the right wing pig by cloaking his draconian solutions in the garb of “sensible” budget solutions. These solutions are sensible only if you have taken leave of your senses.

There is no doubt that the current budget deficit is a matter of serious concern and warrants attention within the context of long term strategic solutions. There is also no doubt that the cause of the deficit is directly connected to a decade of unfunded wars that have depleted the federal treasury and the national economy. And there is no doubt that the current deficit is not due to the unrestrained charity of the government at the local, state and federal levels.

It is painfully clear that the root cause of the deficit is also directly related to a series of tax decreases that have not produced promised job growth and shared economic prosperity. The obvious result of these tax reductions has been the enrichment of a tiny portion of very rich Americans, in the process reducing available resources for most Americans who rely upon the range of services that government properly provides.

For over two decades the wordsmiths of the right wing of the right wing have used the term “entitlements” to refer to social services. The not so subtle implication has been the beneficiaries of these unearned and unwarranted services are in the same category as children who feel “entitled” to dessert or an IPod even if they haven’t done their homework.

Twenty years of rhetorical warfare have produced the intended result. The national debate accepts as a given that social services must be reduced in order to address the budget deficit. Somehow social security for the aged and the disabled, affordable health care for all Americans and quality public education for all Americans are “on the table” when it comes to reducing government expenditures.

No one from Congressman Ryan’s office has yet to explain how a country that is sick, uneducated and heartless can be successful. No one from the right wing of the right wing can explain how a country with crumbling bridges, decaying transit systems and urban infrastructures that date to the 17th century can be successful in the 21st century.

And all the while the concept of increasing governmental revenue through additional taxes has been “labeled” extreme. Ronald Reagan was once accused of touting “voodoo economics”. Paul Ryan is now peddling a 21st century of voodoo economics that is supposed to make us believe that by slashing social services, increasing military financing and steadfastly reducing taxes this will be a better country.

And now, Representative Ryan has played the “God” card in support of his shameful attempt to carry out Grover Norquist’s dream of “shrinking government to a size that it can be drowned in a bathtub”. Paul Ryan has actually said that his godforsaken budget plan was inspired by his Catholic faith.

Zealots of every faith tend to send up clouds of fake holiness when they need to distract their audience from the lack of logic or intelligence of their particular political agenda. There is nowhere in the Scriptures or in the Gospels where it is said that it is a good thing to not feed the hungry or clothe the poor. Nowhere in the teachings of Catholicism will Paul Ryan find a directive that the wealthy should not share their blessings with those less fortunate.

If Paul Ryan and the right wing of the right wing want to advance their horrific attack upon government services in the name of their G.O.Tea Party agenda they should continue to do so. It is profane and sacrilegious and offensive to men and women of every faith for Congressman Ryan to use the same words employed by the Crusaders when they committed atrocity after atrocity in their march to Jerusalem – “Deus lo Volt” – God Wills It!

I for one do not believe that Congressman Ryan knows the will of God, especially when it comes to the federal budget.

Remember November 6th!

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