The Republicans want you to believe that they're concerned about the deficit. Of course, that concern is a lie. They don't care about the deficit. They only care about using the deficit as an excuse to pursue their extremist agenda. And the single most extreme part of it is their war on people. On workers. On women. On immigrants. On the environment that keeps us all healthy and alive. If they cared about the deficit itself, they'd have noticed that the previous three Republican presidents produced consecutively the largest deficits in human history, each outdoing his predecessor, and the most recent Republican president not merely shattering his father's unprecedented standard, but actually having to destroy the federal surplus built by a Democratic president in order to do so. An impressive feat, by any measure. But when Republicans talk about deficits, you know they are lying. Republicans destroy surpluses and create record deficits. That's the truth.
If Republicans cared about the deficit, they wouldn't have held middle-class tax cuts hostage for a ransom of tax cuts for the very wealthy, tax cuts that the very wealthy do not need. Tax cuts for the wealthy that won't create jobs or stimulate the economy. Tax cuts for the wealthy that added to the federal deficit, the same federal deficit Republicans now pretend to be so worried about that they need to slash and burn federal spending. Spending for such things as food assistance for low-income Americans, which Republicans want to cut even as they retain farm subsidies. Spending for such things as life-saving immunizations. Spending for such things as food and health assistance around the world, without which some 70,000 children could die. And not content to make Americans go hungry and die of preventable diseases, and for tens of thousands of children around the world to starve to death, rather than have the very wealthy pay more taxes, Republicans also have their "hearts" set on eliminating Medicare and eviscerating Medicaid. And they want to repeal the Obama health plan, even though doing so would make the deficit even worse.
Let's not pretend that Republicans actually care about the deficit. If they did, their approach in addressing it would be responsible and humane. Republicans don't care about the deficit. They only care about cutting government programs that help people in need. It's part of their larger agenda of blatant class warfare. Republicans prefer that millions of people suffer, and that at least tens of thousands of people die, rather than that the very wealthy once again pay the taxes that eliminated the previous Republican deficits to create the previous Democratic surplus. Leave it to the mental health professionals to diagnose the psychology of such values. If anyone can afford mental health professionals, with states now also in budget crises thanks to the genius of tax cuts.
But lest you think that Republicans don't have any spending priorities at all, keep in mind that they do want to use federal money, just so it is spent in pursuit of their Medieval social agenda. But that's just relative pocket change. While Republicans seem actually to want for people in need to suffer and die, they also want to throw unfathomably budget-busting pallets of cash at their favorite budget sinkhole. As reported by Ryan Grim:
While media attention focuses on the cuts to government spending demanded by House Republicans and broadly accepted by Democrats, the Pentagon is poised to reap billions more in federal funds, according to sources close to the discussions. The confines of the budget negotiations established by the two parties results in a system where every extra dollar going to military spending ends up being offset by a dollar reduction in spending on domestic social programs.
Got that? It's an actual tradeoff. Punish more people in need to free up more cash for the Pentagon. The Democrats actually proposed some reductions to the Pentagon budget, and in January Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen outlined plans for responsible Pentagon budget cuts:
"A major objective beyond creating monetary savings is to make this department less cumbersome, less top heavy and more agile and effective in the execution of its responsibilities," Gates said. "My hope and expectation is that as a result of these changes over time, what had been a culture of endless money, where cost was rarely a consideration, will become a culture of savings and restraint."
But Republicans know better than the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Grim:
Democrats and Republicans are now moving toward an agreement that would increase defense spending. But Democratic sources close to the talks said the Democrats' spending recommendation remains roughly $2 billion shy of that of their Republican counterparts. A spokesman for the Senate spending panel declined to comment, citing ongoing talks. A spokesman for Senate Democratic leadership did not respond to requests for comment.
So the Pentagon itself says it doesn't need more money, but not only are Democrats being pushed to give them more, the Republicans are insisting that the amount the Democrats are offering, and which the Pentagon says it doesn't need, still isn't enough! But it's so important that we cut the deficit that we have to cut funding that feeds the hungry, prevents disease, and cares for the sick. And keep in mind that it's not as if the Pentagon is anything remotely close to being underfunded. So what is it? Do Republicans think the answer to everything is to throw money at it? Do they have so little respect for the men and women in American uniform that they think they need such hardware overkill in order to protect the homeland? Are Republicans perpetually mired in a state of priapic adolescent arrested development, thinking the measure of their machismo is the size of their arsenal? Or is it just good old corporate welfare for the military industrial complex? Maybe it's some combination of all of the above. But it's a staggeringly irresponsible waste of resources that does nothing to enhance our national security.
As The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation made clear, the United States spends more than eight times as much on defense as does the next closest country, Russia. The United States spends more than twice as much as does the next major military presence, which is America's combined NATO allies. And not that it will satisfy paranoid Republicans, but the United States spends more than three times as much as do imagined potential adversaries Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Venezuela combined. And for those particularly paranoid Republicans, the United States also spends more than 10 times as much as does that most sinister of all perpetual antagonists: France. And to put it in terms of actual budget and policy priorities, there is this concise explanation from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Between fiscal year 2001 (the last year for which appropriations levels were set under President Clinton) and fiscal year 2008, funding for domestic discretionary programs has been more constrained than any other area of the budget and has shrunk both as a share of the budget and as a share of the economy. In contrast, appropriations for defense and other security-related programs have increased more rapidly than any other area of the budget — even more rapidly than the costs of the “big three” entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Republicans don't care about the budget. They are using the budget as an excuse and red herring to recast the very nature of the United States government, and the very nature of the United States. They don't care if those in need suffer and die. They don't care about jobs. They don't care about a social safety net. They do care very much about protecting the very wealthy. They do care very much about wealthy corporations. And the one thing at which they want to throw truly unimaginable amounts of money is the military. This is a huge clue as to their mindset. Because when you stop and consider the consequences of causing more and more suffering and unrest among more and more people while at the same time ensuring that the military is much more powerful than any military anywhere needs be, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Republican values are not only inhuman and inhumane, they are dangerous and creepy.
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