Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Out of Control Spending

I’m amazed at the rampant hypocrisy in the Republican party these days.  Okay, maybe not amazed.  Actually, I’m not at all amazed.  This is normal Republican behavior, after all.

With all of the Republican talk about religion (which they make it clear they don’t actually follow, with draconian policies that hurt the poor, when their own deity made it clear the wealthy should help the poor, “God” forbid), Republicans aren’t really about faith.  And with all their talk of out of control spending, they’ve made it clear they don’t actually follow this line of thought, either.

They criticize Obama harshly over government spending.  Government, they’re quick to point out á la their puppet master/owner Grover Norquist, should be small enough to drown in a bathtub.  Therefore, any undue spending (well, at least on the poor) is taboo.  Spending on overly large politician salaries, on the other hand, is perfectly within the “government not too large” arena, even though there’s actually nothing to prove these politicos are worth these salaries, that they perform their jobs or even show up for work every day.

Huge government salaries aside, the Republicans seem to believe that Mitt Romney is an acceptable candidate (well, we know they don’t really like him, but they’ll gather their efforts together to get behind him, because they can’t get anything important done, such as huge tax breaks for the rich, at least not while that “uppity” black man who managed to defeat their lily white idiots candidates is in office).  And Mitt Romney is toeing the Republican line.

So here we have Mitt Romney.  The guy who, singlehandedly with a bunch of other rich guys, got together and dismantled companies in order to make even more money—without investing a penny of their own money, mind you.  Their money, of course, came from investors.  I’m sure the way Mitt and his buds at Bain figured it, they didn’t want to risk their own money, no, no.  Better to screw around with someone else’s money, because as an investment, if all is lost, they owe nothing and still pocket something, even if it’s just a few bucks from selling off a factory.  And then with this investor money, Mitt and Bain disenfranchised American workers, had many jobs shipped overseas, and made We The Taxpayers pay for what they did, by siphoning the responsibility for worker pensions (and other expenses) to the government.  After all, why should they keep those pensions going?  Damn lazy workers, having the audacity to want money for working faithfully and loyally for a company that happened to ultimately become available for pennies on the dollar to rich corporate dumpster divers like Mitt and Bain.

For doing what they did, these rich guys were heavily rewarded, of course.

Now the Republicans are chanting the Mitt Romney mantra, that he’s such a “great businessman.”  And let’s forget for a minute that Mitt didn’t really do anything productive—and don’t fool yourself for a minute thinking he did, because starting a company that actually does something for your country, that creates good, high-paying jobs, is not defined that way in Mitt’s dictionary.  Mitt’s definition of “creating jobs,” let’s remember, is to start retail businesses which pay workers peanuts to work as cashiers, clerks, etc, which means most of them are probably on some form of government assistance if they have families to support, because their earnings are likely far below the poverty level.

Anyway, the very workers needing government assistance is only part of the problem.  The other part of the problem is this: Mitt Romney doesn’t know how to stick to a budget.  While Republicans are busy criticizing President Obama for anything and everything they can, while they’re bitching about the amount of “government spending” being too high, because of those programs that help the very same people disenfranchised by the likes of Mitt and Bain, the fact is that once again, the Republican party doesn’t want to admit that Mitt is already “out of control” with spending.  Yet this is the very same guy they credit with having “good business sense”!  And as anyone who has ever had any tiny part in building a business can tell you, Mitt has anything but good business sense.

When you’ve never had to cut corners or work with a budget, the fact is that working with a comparatively huge amount of money isn’t going to suddenly make Mitt a genius on budgeting.

Ironically, Republicans don’t seem to want to understand this.  They’ll gladly push Mitt Romney as their candidate, like him or not, because that uppity black man did what their own addle-brained candidates simply couldn’t.  And that is the bottom line, which is unacceptable to them.  But instead of admitting the truth, which is President Obama actually knows about budgeting, if only from his own life, Mitt Romney will gladly accept the mantle of being a “good businessman,” when he actually isn’t.

Money created from wealth is easy.  Money created from nothing is hard.

As President, Mitt Romney would want to do the same things he did at Bain…but rather than dismantling companies, he’d dismantle citizens, citizens who are too poor to be heard over the din of rich conglomerates.  He’d gladly take the money citizens have invested into the system via their tax dollars for programs like Social Security and Medicare, hand it off to wealthy corporations, then rewrite laws so those corporations would have the ability to do anything they want.  I point out that Mitt’s behavior on the campaign trail alone is a harbinger of things to come, should there be a Mitt Romney Presidency.  Unbridled spending, on things unnecessary, to get a result that is nothing more than smoke and mirrors…the illusion that this campaign of his is all about lowering taxes for everyone, when the only ones Mitt truly believes deserve to pay less in taxes are the upper classes, because heaven forbid they should have to skimp when it comes to fine food, vacations, expensive homes, sports cars, yachts and objets d’art, while those lazy poor people take handouts directly from the government, to squirrel away in some high-interest-bearing account in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.

Evidence for this, by the way, can easily be found in the YouTube video of Romney speaking with Leno, who isn’t exactly a heavyweight interviewer asking probing questions.  Leno, when asking about covering health care for people, gave an example of a guy who has a heart problem.  And Romney’s response was a very unconcerned (paraphrasing), “As long as he’s been continuously insured” (emphasis mine), “that will be fine.”  In other words, if you haven’t continuously bought insurance, then why should we cover your lazy, sorry ass with health care?

Left out of the equation is the fact that if that guy couldn’t afford health insurance, it’s not that he sat around on his “lazy, sorry ass” while he squirreled away his millions in the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts, but rather, it means that while he was working one, perhaps even two, full-time jobs, he couldn’t afford insurance at all.  And rather than making the connection here, as any compassionate and not-entirely-clueless person would do, with the impoverished working person in question lacking health care and lacking money, Mitt Romney would rather sign the papers which basically say that as a poor person or a person not “of money,” this guy has zero right to health care.

Remember, it isn’t that the guy isn’t a productive member of society; with one or two full-time jobs, it’s that perhaps he works for Mitt’s baby, Sports Authority, and earns minimum wage stocking shelves, with a second full time job as a minimum wage security guard at a shopping mall.  Now he’s got a health problem…but that’s not Mitt’s responsibility, nor is it Bain’s, nor is it the responsibility of the health insurance companies to offer a truly affordable policy for the guy who can’t afford that while paying his bills for rent and everything else.  He skimped on health care rather than stiffing his landlord, which became his death sentence.  Which is odd, because the Republican party says they value hard work and meeting one’s obligations, but when it gets right down to it, if you meet all of your obligations but can’t afford something like health care, there should never be a safety net made up of your tax dollars paid into the system to now save your life.

Now we have Mitt’s unbridled spending.  The guy doesn’t know the meaning of the word “budget,” and before he’s managed to get into that Oval Office he covets so much, he’s not demonstrating the principles of economic conservatism that is allegedly the cornerstone of the entire GOP’s “philosophy”—instead, he’s doing the exact same thing he did at Bain.  That’s right, Mitt Romney hasn’t invested one penny into his own candidacy.  He’s begged for money, put up Google ads and raised a cry of “holding Obama accountable,” but oddly enough, Mitt has not once held himself “accountable” for anything, including—especially—his own reckless spending.

Do we really think that would change with a Mitt Romney Presidency?  Here’s a guy who sees a problem (in this case, a campaign for the Presidential election), attacks it by throwing money at it, lies, cheats, runs a filthy campaign…and he’s calling for the other guy to be accountable?  Furthermore, if he manages to wave enough smoke and mirrors to blind many Americans into thinking he’s got the tiniest clue, more of a clue than President Obama (President Obama, who knows firsthand about budgeting!), where do we think Mitt is suddenly going to develop the skills to do anything more than throw money we don’t have at problems?  In other words, how on earth will Mitt ever figure out how to cut spending, when he doesn’t know how?!

Sure, he’ll say whatever it is that he believes his party will want to hear.  Yeah, he’ll cut out those pesky food stamps, Medicare can be privatized so insurance companies can make a killing from the elderly (literally!), repeal the ACA so people will just have to pay higher rates to insurance companies for preexisting conditions or do without insurance when insurers won’t sell them policies, reestablish lifetime caps on care, because the government should never tell insurance companies what to do, because this is absolutely up to people to pay out the big bucks for their own health care.

He’ll privatize Social Security so seniors can play Russian roulette with their retirement, and if many seniors fall below the poverty level due to “lost” investments, no biggie.  We’ll just let the local charities take them in and if they can’t, well, the elderly bag lady and bum of yore can return.

He can privatize the Post Office, because that organization is just so “unnecessary,” and if there are people who don’t have email, well, a privatized Post Office will be able to sell them stamps that are priced at $5/ounce, so the stockholders can make a killing.  They’ll cut out the unions, too, because the unions wanting those silly pensions, sick pay and health care for their members, well, those are just costing us too much; better that these same people are made needy, don’t get health care coverage, don’t get sick pay, and if they don’t make enough money to feed their families, since there won’t be any more food stamps, they can just suck it up and go to food pantries.  Cut out welfare and Medicaid, too, because these programs benefit the rich not a whit.  Public education is already a goner on Mitt’s list, because the parents who have to work two jobs apiece just to get that health care or anything else the government “shouldn’t” pay can just suck it up and spend the hours when they should be sleeping on home-schooling their kids instead.  Or pay more for a private school, so some rich private school owner can make more money.

And so Mitt, if allowed, will very willingly cut every safety net program there is, while still feeling like he can spend millions, billions and trillions of dollars.  But those dollars won’t be spent on the citizenry.  They’ll be spent to further enrich the already-rich.  And once the so-called “entitlement” programs are gone, what next?  Remember, “spending” is just jim dandy to conservatives when it means spending on things that don’t even make sense.  To hire a chaplain to say a prayer, money is plentiful.  To pay a politician a good salary, money is great.  To spend on experimental weapons that actually never make it past the research stage is perfectly fine.  To spend on rewriting laws that don’t actually produce money by rewriting them is good, too (such as laws to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman).  To spend on subsidizing hugely profitable industries such as big oil, big pharma and anyone else with a huge lobby is fantastic.

The message here is that anything that’s good for the basic citizenry is unacceptable.  Furthermore, imagine where the money is going to come from when all “entitlement” programs are gone and Mitt is still waving around that enormous US expense account from “saving” the little bit of money he actually did save by hurting the poor and the middle class.  Imagine the taxes that will be levied on the smallest income, because it’s wonderful for a millionaire like Mitt to pay zero taxes on his money when he’s found a lot of loopholes or just doesn’t “feel like” paying taxes, but when a person who is so far below the poverty line doesn’t pay federal taxes, then complain…and make that person pay taxes!  But the rich can continue to get a free ride.

The fact is that the Presidency is certainly not on-the-job training.  When a candidate doesn’t know enough about a budget, that candidate isn’t fit for the job.  Even if you’re a Republican and hate “entitlement programs,” ask yourself this.  How, when he doesn’t know the first thing about keeping a budget on the campaign trail, will Mitt Romney keep the American budget?  How will a guy who doesn’t truly understand the first thing about actually spending money figure out how not to spend it?  He’s swearing up and down right now that he’ll bring back that lost credit rating, but a guy who is already “addicted” to spending as Mitt is, because he’s always been able to spend as he pleases, is not going to be able to bring back a credit rating any more than a guy who is used to spending unlimited amounts on his credit card.  Even with zero “entitlement” programs, even by increasing taxes on the poorest Americans to where they’re paying out 70% of their income, the fact is that America still has a finite amount of income if the wealthy still aren't going to pay taxes.  And Mitt Romney doesn’t have the first clue of how to do anything other than wave a credit card around.

The question to ask yourself is this: how comfortable do you feel handing that credit card to the guy who is running for the party that says they want to “cut spending” – the same guy who obviously feels most comfortable spending money?

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