Republican "Business As Usual" in Washington

by | Apr 19, 2011

You think I’m overstating it when I say the world has gone mad? Then listen to our leaders — most of them Republicans, the very ones who claim they want to change the status quo within our government. Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Republican (and Tea Party favorite) Rep. Paul Ryan spoke generally about […]

You think I’m overstating it when I say the world has gone mad? Then listen to our leaders — most of them Republicans, the very ones who claim they want to change the status quo within our government.

Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Republican (and Tea Party favorite) Rep. Paul Ryan spoke generally about capping domestic spending and “financial controls” that Republicans are seeking “in conjunction with raising the national debt limit.” When pushed for specifics, Ryan said: “We’re not really interested in negotiating with the media.”

Translation: “I’m not prepared to speak the truth.”

When asked what Republicans would do if Democrats didn’t go along with party demands, Ryan would only say: “We shouldn’t just accept the premise that we should just rubber stamp a debt increase.”

When translated, this means: “We’re going to cave and raise the national debt limit with or without substantial budget cuts. We know that Obama won’t give us any meaningful cuts. But we have to at least make it look like we’re getting cuts.” Sure, “cuts.” Just like the $100 billion in cuts that was compromised away to $38 billion in cuts — that turned out not to be cuts at all. Is that what you mean by cuts, Rep. Ryan?

So much for changing the culture of Washington.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of the “Gang of Six” senators negotiating a bipartisan debt-reduction plan (translation: tax increases), said on “Fox News Sunday” that lawmakers serious about the debt problem need to put their congressional careers on the line to get this done.

“What the country needs to hear from the leaders in Washington is that we understand how big this problem is and that we’re willing to lose elections to do what’s best for the country and that’s what’s not happening now.”

Uh-oh. When Republicans talk this way, it sounds like they’re getting ready to sign on for … tax increases. They’re hoping they won’t lose their careers in the Republican Party. They know they’re safe in Washington, so long as they keep the loot coming.

The movie “Atlas Shrugged” (part I) is currently playing in theaters across the country. The movie, based on Ayn Rand’s monumental novel, speculates on what would happen if the wealth producers — the ones Ayn Rand called the “men of the mind” — went on strike, and literally stopped thinking and producing. One wonders what Sen. Coburn would do if the best, brightest and most productive — the only ones who will ever produce wealth — simply stopped producing.

And: How much paper money can the government arbitrarily produce before it becomes worthless?

“There is a compromise, but the compromise is not to raise taxes,” Sen.Rand Paul said. “The compromise is for conservatives to admit that the military budget is going to have to be cut. Conservatives will have to compromise, and we will have to cut military spending,” he said. “Liberals will have to compromise and will have to cut domestic welfare. The compromise is where to cut, not whether to raise taxes.”

We have heard that all before. The military may be cut. “Domestic welfare,” the far greater portion of the budget, will not be cut, not by these people — not by anybody in Washington D.C. Not so long as government can control the currency and make up the rules of monetary policy as they go along.

It’s tempting to ask Sen. Paul: What happened to not compromising on principle, something you promised only months ago? Of course, to be fair, libertarian types like Sen. Paul don’t believe in a strong defense. They simply believe in less government, even valid functions of government enumerated by the Constitution. How are we to avoid being nuked, or otherwise obliterated by threatening enemies? No answer is ever given.

If you think Sen. Paul is sincere about cutting domestic welfare as much as the military, think again. Sen. Paul demurred when asked about his plans to filibuster an increase in the $14.3 trillion national debt limit, saying “that’s yet to be determined. We haven’t yet determined what our strategy will be … The people of Kentucky elected me to shake things up; they didn’t elect me to raise the debt ceiling.”

Sen. Paul, you’re in the middle of the biggest budget battle in American history. The country is on the verge of total economic collapse. And you still don’t know your strategy? I expect this from the hapless John Boehner, but not from the firebrand Rand Paul. From the fiery rhetoric of the Tea Party and the 2010 election campaign — to demurring, avoiding, sidestepping and evading. All in a few short months. Evidently the political culture of Washington D.C. does corrupt.

It’s clear that something is going on behind the scenes. Republicans have caved — even the Tea Party favorites have caved. The “new and improved” Republicans basically stand for two things: Raise the debt limit on the Democrats’ terms, while making it look like their own terms; and never, ever, shut down one office of the federal government, not even for two hours (call it the John Boehner doctrine).

Who’s in charge here? You guessed it. The people who favor business as usual. I’m honestly not surprised. I didn’t expect the fall to be so swift, so decisive and from even the core of the Republican Party’s most rebellious and new members.

Donald Trump, the liberal Democrat turned Republican only recently, comments on his intention to announce his run for the Presidency before long. “I wish I didn’t have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country. And if you asked me, what are the odds, I’ll let you know some time prior to June. But I will tell you, I am giving it serious, serious thought. And I’m honored by the polls, because people agree with what I’m saying. I am honored by the polls.”

We’ll see how much the country loves it when 25 percent tariffs are imposed on countries Donald Trump doesn’t like, tariffs designed to hurt other countries which will in fact drive the cost of goods up in the United States even more. We’ll see how much the country likes it when Trump delivers on his promise to deliver health care, and all manner of social welfare services, to the masses with public money. If you think we’re bankrupt now, you haven’t seen anything yet. Trump will be Obama on speed. By the way, if Trump ultimately runs as an Independent or otherwise splits the Republicans, none of that will matter. Obama will sail to a second term.

Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says Republicans are assuring the administration that they will pass an increase in the government’s borrowing limit in time to prevent an unprecedented default on the nation’s debt. Geithner tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Republicans gave this assurance to President Barack Obama at a White House meeting last Wednesday. Geithner says Republican leaders told Obama that they recognized that they couldn’t play around with the government’s credit rating and he’s confident Congress will act in time.

Credit rating? What credit rating exists other than in the minds of politicians, and other wishful thinkers, who think our trillions and trillions in debt — rising in the billions even as you read this article — represents any kind of credit at all?

Nevertheless, I still believe Geithner more than Republicans. Actually, if you read Republicans between the lines, they’re saying the same thing as Geithner. Republicans have caved. They promised their Tea Party supporters they would not raise the debt limit without massive, guaranteed spending cuts. As it turns out, alleged spending cuts on paper are not even spending cuts. And, Republicans seem to be suggesting, we might not even get those. And there will be tax increases, at least if Republicans in the Senate get their way.

And this is divided government? I’d love to see at least one major thing done — or even proposed — to reverse course on the disastrous Big Government policies of the last few years in particular.

My conclusion: Americans are not going to be saved by the current batch of Republicans. It may frankly be too late. The country will have to endure whatever it has to endure, because the government and — let’s face it — its politicized currency became unhinged long ago. The better economists warned of trouble going off the gold standard and converting to a currency controlled by politics as long as a century ago. They were right. I cannot predict what will happen, and I remain optimistic that course reversals are always possible. America has so much to lose, and we’re in the process of losing it with each passing day with these idiots and morons in charge. Will Americans ever revolt and fire all of the bums in both parties? The problems seem deeper than that, and will take more time to solve. One thing is certain. Don’t look to these pseudo-advocates of capitalism and individual rights currently controlling part of the Congress to do the job. Republicans are the enablers to end all enablers, working hand in hand with liberals to destroy the country.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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