Budget Battles – Follow the Money

By YeOldeScribe ~ March 17th, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

We’d like to apologize for not posing last night – our writer’s computer monitor died abruptly. It’s really hard to blog without looking at what you’re typing… so our regular posting was interrupted. We’ll do a double post today to make up for it. Again, we’re sorry.

We love answering questions and comments from our loyal readers. Ms. Krisi Hipke asked us the following question which we’re more than happy to (attempt to) answer:

“Now I am not a republican but I must ask your opinion on this statement made to me by my cousin. She says that the republicans are making drastic cuts to the budget and giving big corporations more money so that these corporations can create jobs for the up coming gas crisis that we will be facing this summer. She says that they are trying to get everything balanced because other countries are dropping the dollar and our currency is not worth what it used to be. Now that wasn’t word for word but that was pretty much it in a nut shell. How do you feel about this?”

There’s a lot of questions there, but let’s break it down. First, it’s no secret that oil and gas prices are going to go up. These prices were expected to go up this summer before the crisis in Libya, but after Mummar Gaddafi’s citizens decided they didn’t like being ruled by someone with such a crazy haircut (among other governmental and human rights abuse claims), the question isn’t if gas prices will hit $4 a gallon again, but when.

As for the dollar being weak, we’ll be the first to admit that we’re not economists (our writer was lucky to escape Microeconomics with a low B), but the dollar has been in better shape. After 9/11and the subsequent recession, the dollar took a huge hit that it never really recovered from. There maybe some signs right now that the economy on the whole is on the upswing, but our understanding of the value of the dollar internationally is that it hasn’t improved much.

Now we’ll get to some of the questions we’re more comfortable with. Ms. Hipke’s relative suggests that Republicans are making massive cuts to public services and giving big money to big business to create jobs. We’ll disagree on this in three ways.

First, we’ll give Republicans the benefit of the doubt and say that even if they’re acting in the best interests of society, they’re not making cuts to create jobs, they’re doing it to balance budgets. Ever since the Tea Party began to gain some momentum after the last election cycle, the traditional Republicans have bent over backwards to placate them.  The Tea Party heavily advocates balancing budgets and slashing what they consider to be wasteful spending – and on the whole, these things aren’t a bad idea. However, all things are good in moderation – and the Tea Party is not known for moderation. Republicans everywhere are following their lead, making devastating cuts to state budgets, and the national one as well. While ProgressivePolitics.com agrees that wasteful spending should be cut and pennies need to be pinched across the board, we’d hardly consider programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Collective Bargaining wasteful.

Second, we’d argue that we’re being too nice to Republicans – they’re not slashing programs to balance budgets, they’re doing it for a much simpler reason – because they can. Look at what programs and people are being targeted right now:

* Social Security

* Medicare/Medicaid

* Environmental Protection Agencey

* National Public Radio

* Public Workers

* Collective Bargaining

Notice a trend here? All of those programs were created by or are currently backed by Democrats. Republicans are using the budget to slap the Democrats across their face and spank their ass – and not necessarily in that order.

Finally, we’ll also argue that Repubs aren’t giving money back to businesses for any charitable – or good – reasons – they’re simply saying “thanks” to the people who got them elected. The coup that Republicans were able to pull in the recent Mid-Term elections was nothing short of a miracle, considering the momentum Democrats had from the 2008 election. That miracle wouldn’t have been possible without a well-oiled political machine. And big business provided the oil. In Wisconsin, it was the Koch brothers. In other states, it was Political Action Committees. Regardless of what name you put on it, it’s undeniable that big business played a huge role in putting the Republicans into power. But it wasn’t so much a donation as it was an investment – or worse, a short-term loan that Republicans are starting to pay off.

Granted, right now we’re trying to write our opinion as fact (as another commenter pointed out), but we think the evidence we’ve provided makes a compelling case for our argument. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when Republicans and big businesses think theirs is the only one that should be listened to (or even presented, as was the case in Madison), then they should be called out for it.

Thanks for the question, Krisi!

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1 Response to Budget Battles – Follow the Money

  1. Joe W.

    This isn’t a comment on the main subject of this article, just on the comment about how and why the Republicans had such large gains in the midterm.

    To be honest, I think that part of what gave the Republicans their momentum in the past election cycle was a combination of the Democrats not doing enough of what they said they would, most of these being social issues (to be fair, nobody expected them to come close to doing everything, but it seemed like a lot of the planks they ran on just got dropped). This was combined with them taking too much action in other areas where they didn’t neccessarily have the support of the majority of the population (health care comes to mind).

    Most of the anger in the federal midterms that I was hearing from people (specifically the people who tend to the middle, not the far-right or far-left individuals who will never change their minds anyway) dealt with either the Dems inaction on a certain issue or displeasure with how health care was handled.

    Republicans in Wisconsin may be about to learn the same lesson (at least, I hope so). When either party takes huge, drastic action without accepting input from the other side or listening to their constituents, they will pay for it. I’d argue that within our political system, this by design, and it is a good thing.

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