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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A bankrupt(cy) policy

The moral bankruptcy of the Bush administration -- on clear display in the failed effort to "rebuild" Baghdad or save New Orleans -- is about to be overwhelmed by its financial bankruptcy.

The Theocons who always dismiss Democrats with the epithet "tax and spend" have, in truth been the party of "no tax and spend." Starting with Ronald Reagan, the GOP fostered deficits as far as the eye could see for such follies as Star Wars and of course, the "liberation" of Iraq. The ultimate irony is that the Democrats are no truly the fiscal "conservatives" around here.

Republican tax cut strategies have been eloquently summed up by Grover Norquist as designed to "starve the beast." Money is like oxygen to government, they say. Take it away and government will die. And what better way to take it away than to give it to your friends and cronies, using names like "the death tax" to hide the fact it is an unconscionable giveaway to small percentage of people.

Never confuse Louisiana and New Orleans as models of efficient government, believers as they are in the idea that you can get something (services) for nothing (low taxes). But some folks, like those on the libertarian end of the scale, do believe government has some valid roles -- mainly in the area of defense and public safety, things totally lacking in the federal "response."

Katrina exposed the moral and financial bankruptcy of the "starve the beast" model. When push came to shove, public safety collapsed amid cronyism, incompetence and folly. Throw in some good old fashioned stubbornness and you have a recipe to bankrupt government, our children and our grandchildren. OK, maybe not the children and grandchildren of George and his friends.

And of course there is the "compassion" side of the equation -- a continuation of the Reagan philosophy of "I've got mine, f- you." That was amply on display in the words of Oklahoma Troglodyte Tom Coburn, who suggested the people of Louisiana must absorb some of the cost of the reconstruction. After all, he implied, they chose to live in the path of the hurricane.

Memo to Senator Coburn: you live in Tornado Alley. You live there by choice.

The morale GOP majority has already achieved compassion bankruptcy. The race for the bottom continues.

Addendum to an earlier post: The latest Bush straw man, witnessed by his New Orleans performance, is race. I don't believe anyone accused the Coast Guard of discriminating against African-Americans during their rescue efforts. Heck, the only people left to rescue were African-American. And that is the real issue -- not the straw man George drew up.

Because of the GOP's callous disregard for poverty, the overwhelming majority of the poor people left to fend for themselves in New Orleans were black. That's the issue, George. Nice try at changing the subject. You are not a racist. You are a faux populist and a third generation Connecticut Yankee who is clueless about how real people live.


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