Following GOP “logic” down the rat hole
Hard as Democrats have been trying to become extinct (taking increasingly unpopular positions in support of the wealthy and the corporate) under their post-partisan President, there may be one thing that saves them in spite of themselves. Their opponents.
The GOP has long since abandoned any pretense that it has any philosophy other than reducing taxes (on the wealthy if not on everyone) and cutting spending (on social programs, not the military or corporate subsidies). And they no longer even have discipline. Why do they need it, it’s not like they are trying to explain some sort of solution to probems. It’s all pretty straightforward stuff–right out of Conservatism for Idiots, Chapter 1. Yes, some of their “intellectuals” try to dress it up. Some call themselves “Austrian economists.” Some support an institute that does no reasearch to “prove” intelligent design. Some dress up and yell angry slogans to show their “historical” gravitas. But when it comes to brass tax, it’s all pretty simple.
So let’s look at a current problem. Most or all states are constitutionally required to balance their budgets. So unless they can raise tax revenue to cover their expenses, they must either borrow or cut spending. Local governments have the same problem. Because borrowing has become expensive during the current depression, states and local governments have taken to cutting jobs and to reduce expenses. Paul Krugman has shown how street lights are being turned off, infrastructure is being torn up and education is being cut back. Now I know that the reactionaries in this country can’t hear Krugman, not because he’s wrong, but because as soon as they hear his name they put their fingers in their ears and shout “Socialist!” over and over again. But facts are facts, even when the right wing doesn’t like them.
So to save the jobs of teachers, policemen and firefights Congress had before it a bill to provide relief to cash-strapped states. And yes, many of the states are cash-strapped because they had been run for many years by the same tax-cutting wingnuts that got us in the hole overall. So if you wanted to argue the point, you could say, Let the State’s show that they have used their taxing authority efficiently, before the entire nation is required to spring for the bills that could easily be paid by you.
But that’s not the tack of the Republicans, because it’s far to subtle a point and it involves tax increases. So this is what they say: It’s a government bailout! Oh my, where will it every end? How can government be perverted to such an extent that it is used to pay school teachers, firemen or policemen?
They are so mentally bankrupt that they don’t see the irony of wailing against using the government to pay for the wages of people who have always been paid by one government or another.
Let’s see how Congressman Mike Pence handles this situation. From Think Progress:
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) picked up on that theme today on ABC’s Top Line, calling it a “massive state bailout.” When host Z. Byron Wolf asked what the GOP plan would be to help teachers who are about to lose their jobs — particularly the 3,600 in Indiana, Pence didn’t have much to offer:
PENCE: Well, look I’m married to a school teacher. My wife spent more than a decade in a public school classroom. So I love teachers! Teachers, firefighters, policemen are all Americans and they all know that the economic policies of bailouts and handouts have failed to create jobs.
So there you have it, folks. If school teachers, firefighters and policemen retained their jobs from a government “bailout,” then it would simply be using tax funds to pay government employees, and it really wouldn’t create jobs.
At some point, I am reasonably convinced, that this kind of blatant attempt to fool the people will stop working. At least one of the early leaders of the GOP (one who is no longer quoted by his party since he was involved in inventing the income tax, fighting against states’ righters, and providing free land to recent immigrants–policies the GOP couldn’t now even debate without hyperventilating) thought it was impossible to fool all the people all the time.