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By: Wayne Brown
The drama has ended for now and the heroes are lining up in front of the banks of microphones to offer up their legacy sound bites for history’s record of this potentially disastrous event in America. The government shutdown has been averted in a last minute compromise which could only be orchestrated by a group of lawyers serving in elected positions in Washington. And true to form, both sides won in the process and can go back to their constituents and tout their courage and fortitude in standing up for truth, freedom, and the American Way. Hogwash!
Let’s turn back the tape and listen to the rhetoric that has evolved since the beginning of 2011 when a new Congress took office with conservatives in control of the House. We started out with talk of spending cuts in the $100 billion dollar plus range. That number eventually dwindled to $60 odd billion dollars and then with the last minute agreement which save our government from shutdown, we end up with a paltry $38.5 cut in budgetary spending which likely has no long-term implications beyond the current budget year.
There are approximately 5.5 months left in the current budget cycle. Based on the originally estimate of cuts of over $100 billion dollars, we should have seen a minimum of $46 billion dollars in cuts for the remaining period. Instead, it comes out at $38.5 billion in cuts. The right side of the aisle gave away $8 billion in the compromise along with other things. Think about it like this…had the argument gone on long enough, they would have given up everything.
In turn, the healthcare initiative that so many on the right side of the aisle have decried is simply getting a “get out of jail free” card as it remains in the bill but requires a vote in the Senate to remain there. That pretty much makes it a dead issue which may in fact remain dead now. Those who ran for office in 2010 have seen their first big opportunity to stop big government go down in flames as the Obama-Care parade continues down Main Street.
One might also note that the right side of the aisle was demanding a halt in all government funding of “Planned Parenthood”. Now, this seemed to be an ethical decision based on the recent behavior of this group in counseling street pimps in how to gain abortions for their underage prostitutes. That one got bargained away in the backrooms of late night compromise and now the pimps and whores are dancing in the streets at the thought of not having to deal with that issue anymore. Who says Washington does not provide representation. It causes one to wonder who the pimps really work for in the end.
We have just seen a week in the media that was totally dominated by the drama of the potential shutdown in the government. We have seen news bites suggesting that a shutdown would be cruel and inhumane in that families would be deprived of income and food would be taken from their mouths. Of course the suggestion here is to say that anyone willing to go to the length of a shutdown to gain spending cuts is just a mean old bastard who wants to starve helpless women and children just to cut the government budget. Personally, I was amazed at how many of those sound bites made the air frequently throughout the week. Little seemed to be aired as to the impact of overspending and the growing national debt that we have. I guess we can blame the right side of the aisle for not playing the “fear” game on this issue.
At any rate, the suspense is now over and everybody in Washington loves each other again because they were all heroes. Now we can watch them on television next week in their fancy capes prancing up to the microphones and taking more than their share of the credit for bravely saving our land. This is what this group of clown lawyers do best…smoke, mirrors, and a slight of the hand. Anything accomplished in this process will be forgotten when the new budget term rolls around in October 2011. Mark my word.
This process has also set the stage which politicians on both sides of the aisle wanted prepared. In essence, their explanation of our budgetary crisis points out that the majority of spending in the process is tied up in what they lovingly refer to as “entitlement spending” as if to say that it has been so nobly granted unto us by the likes of those who are elected to serve. There is no acknowledgement that we paid the bill for it all these years…that would not be productive to the process which they need to play out.
The American worker and employer has for decade upon decade paid Social Security and Medicare payments to our federal government. This is money that by all rights should have been earmarked, side-lined, or invested in some form of conservative growth, for those who would need it as they reached that point in their life. Instead, we sent elected officials to Washington who voted to throw those funds into the general pot and spend them. Instead of having any money, we now have a pile of worthless IOU”s from the government and those we have elected want you to believe that it is your fault and under the auspices of “entitlement”, you really should have no expectation of your government to provide that money back to you. That is the stage that has been set here. Just wait for the other shoe to drop.
America has some tough choices to face and we had better start facing them in the next budget cycle rather than watching our elected officials dream up new ways to spend money that we do not have. Those who have already worked and paid the better part of their lives do not deserve to get tossed aside and forgotten under the reference that the government can no longer afford “entitlement” spending. Call it what you want at that point, but in the private sector, that is a Ponzi Scheme which is very much against the law.
The left is operating in a detached state at the present sitting back and letting the right side of the aisle look like the hard-nosed bad guys who have no other intention but to let the rich get away with paying no taxes and doing away with all social programs. Our President is on top of this heap with his more than arrogant disengagement in the things that truly matter to the majority of Americans who have worked hard and paid their money to the government with the expectation of trust. The right is stumbling around touting all that is wrong and vowing to fix it only to compromise for something less than half of what they wanted. Their only hope is that the taxpayer who demanded action from them will sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, and say that they fought the good fight. Then, it’s back to business as usual spending and earmarking.
I did not hear one word about last night’s late hour compromise that was oriented toward scaling down the size of our current large government. Never once did I hear the President offer to do away with some of his appointed high-salary czar positions along with the staff that supports them. No, they chopped $38 billion dollars out of a proposed budget which was most likely discretionary spending earmarked for special projects. When the next budget cycle comes around in October, those savings are up in smoke and the national debt remains at its present levels. I suggest you hold your applause for a while.
What an interesting game of shrewd stupidity we have playing out in Washington. We have a government which is basically devoid of leadership on either side of the aisle scrambling to keep their own elected hides in tact for the next election cycle. We have smoke, mirrors, doublespeak, and the absolute magic of elective thievery going on right before our eyes. Yet, we the American public, are so caught up in the show, we forget why we came to watch. Which, in the end, plays so very well with what is really going on here in Washington. Keep them entertained and they’ll be happy. God Bless America!
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