We have spent the last forty eight hours watching the Democrat/Republican budget debate and we have actually read the details of the President’s proposal. Having looked at both sides of the issue with an open mind and an honest desire to see both sides, we have come to this conclusion.
This is a joke. These are not serious people. Or at the very least, these are not serious proposals that we should be expect to take seriously.
Let’s start with the Democrats and the Obama administration.
How can the President expect to be taken seriously when he cuts Pell grants for low income students and heating oil assistance for the poor after he supported extending almost $1 trillion in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires?
How can the President expect to be taken seriously when he boasts that his budget will cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade when a month ago he added $1 trillion to the deficit by supporting those tax same tax cuts?
How can the President expect to be taken seriously when he boasts of $50 billion in cuts to the Pentagon after extending our stay in Afghanistan from July of 2011 until at least 2014 at a cost of $2 billion per week?
The Republicans are no better.
How can Republicans expect to be taken seriously when their proposal eliminates public broadcasting, AmeriCorps national service program and unspent stimulus projects after they blackmailed Congress into extending the aforementioned tax cuts for the wealthy?
How can Republicans expect to be taken seriously when they claim that we are broke while lobbying for a $465 million dollar “extra engine” for the Joint Strike Fighter Jet; an engine that the Defense Secretary Gates says they don’t need nor want? (Actually the reason is because the GE/Rolls Royce “extra engine” is made in House Speaker Boehner and Whip Eric Cantor’s home states.)
How can Republicans be expected to be taken seriously when after campaigning on “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” Boehner ridicules the increase in government jobs during Obama’s’ first two years and says “if those jobs are cut during this process, so be it.)
How can either party be taken seriously when these cuts focus on 12% of the budget and ignore the remaining 88% encompassing Defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?
The simple fact is they can’t. No one with half a brain would expect anything offered so far to be a reasonably thought out solution to the county’s financial difficulties. And millions of lives will be forever altered while our elected leaders play their political games.
So why should we listen?
The pundits and political experts tell us that these proposals are just the preliminaries. They say that the process is slow and will take time to come together. Lawrence O’Donnell, former Senate Staff Director for the Senate Finance Committee says it will probably be three years before a final agreement is on entitlements is reached. We just need to be patient.
We have seen what being patient can do to our society. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed went without benefits while our elected leaders negotiated over tax cuts for the rich. Hundreds of thousands of gay military service men and women served their country with distinction yet were forced to hide who they were while our leaders played political games with their sexual persuasion. The list goes on and on.
Why do we have to be patient? What will be different? What will change in the next two to three years other than another few trillion more added on to our already staggering debt?
Perhaps a new group of politicians armed with the courage to do the right thing.