My senator, John McCain, is making news lately for defending Mitt Romney's tax returns -- while assisting in the conspiracy to hide them from the American people, of course. But that is not the only issue that causes him to vent his bitterness and yell at clouds. He's also been complaining about the fiscal cliff, spooking folks who work in Arizona for defense contractors. What he doesn't tell them is that he voted for it; his vote for the Budget Control Act helped make it happen.
My friends and I can quote a fair bit of Aliens (from 1986? cripes, I'm old), but one of my favorites is from Burke, the corporate slimeball, remarking on their remarkable, automated atmosphere processor: We manufacture those, by the way. Since I know some folks who work for defense contractors around here, it was sort of a running if uneasy joke to mention it when the nightly news included footage of the Iraq war, say. But none of my friends were directly responsible for dropping ordnance on people. Not directly, I suppose.
Anyway, bitter old loser John McCain has joined the Republican campaign of terror regarding the 'fiscal cliff,' of course concentrating almost entirely on the defense-hawk side of the equation and visiting weapons manufacturers and such. It made it to the local paper today.
McCain, citing statistics from a recent George Mason University report, said the impact of defense-spending sequestration on Arizona would include more than 35,000 layoffs and a $3 billion loss to Arizona's gross state product.He went on to register a complaint about the President "not trying harder" to negotiate a compromise. Never mind that Congress is not in session now, and won't be for any significant amount of time between now and November -- it's election season.
"We can undo it, but it's going to take people working together under the leadership of the president," McCain said. "He should be calling us together to work on a compromise."Sure, and who would listen right now. Anyone? McCain's busy drumming up fearful votes for Republicans, along with plenty of other representatives and senators, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, during an interview with McCain on Fox (of course), why would anyone mention the unfortunate fact that he voted for the Budget Control Act? Surprisingly, someone did.
But McCain said it was time to move past fighting about last year’s vote, and chided the president for not sitting down with Republicans to hammer out a deal on the cuts.
“I plead guilty. It was a bad thing to do, OK?” McCain said in an interview Tuesday evening with Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren. “We did a stupid thing when we said if the select committee failed then there would be automatic across-the-board cuts.”
He claimed that defense spending did not cause their little fiscal dilemma. Yet we know that the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush regime contributed $1.4 trillion to the debt; where would we be if those misadventures had gone differently? Not to mention the several trillion dollars lost to the Bush tax cuts, the ones that they wanted because we were running a surplus at the time. Republicans sure fixed that problem, didn't they.
And last year, McCain also whined about the arbitrary nature of the sequestration...well, a rather one-sided whine.
But what concerns me most about our current debate is not just the enormous size of the potential reductions, but that the defense cuts being discussed have little to no strategic or military rationale to support them. They are essentially just numbers on a page. Our national defense planning and spending must be driven by considered strategy, not arbitrary arithmetic.I imagine this would be nice in all areas of fiscal policy, considering the years of continuing resolutions, budget freezes, arbitrary across-the-board percentage cuts and such.
McCain gave many other reasons to support the Budget Control Act, a vote that he now finds foolish. He mentioned the possibility of the nation's credit rating being downgraded -- and in spite of the vote, it was downgraded anyway. He mentioned the unemployment rate, and warned that it would continue to go up -- and he was wrong about that one, too, still down almost a full point since then. He claimed that we can't tax and spend out of it, neglecting of course the example of the Clinton-era tax rates and the prosperity the nation enjoyed at the time.
Remember who was President during the last budget surplus, and who fixed that right up? Hope so. Talk about a road we've taken before, a cliff we nearly plunged off of; by rights the concept of cutting taxes to improve the lot of our people was tested during Dubya's reign, tried and failed. Clear majorities have been demonstrated in favor of making the rich and corporations pay their fair share, which they clearly are not doing now.
So while you're off scaring defense contractors, Senator, be sure to remind them that when it comes to crises like this 'fiscal cliff,' We manufacture those, by the way.