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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adult conversations

Tea Party-backed Republicans swept to victory at the state and federal level by promising to have "adult conversations" about taxes and spending -- all the while promising to focus on job creation. How are they doing so far?

House Republicans opted to chop $61 billion from the current fiscal year, not by focusing on defense, farm, oil and gas subsidies or other areas where out-of-control spending has benefited those with high-paying lobbyists.

Instead, the party of adults has taken an ax to its long-time ideological bogeymen -- Planned Parenthood, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Environmental Protection Agency. Chump change from a group promising champ efforts. Window dressing over substance.

But the biggest bogeyman assault is taking place in Wisconsin, where a Republican governor backed by the uber right wing lobby, Koch Industries, is following in the sainted Gipper's foot steps by attempting to bust unions.

The fact little noted by the media that have been flocking to Madison as if it were Tahrir Square, is that Gov. Scott Walker is only taking aim at unions that did not endorse his gubernatorial bid.

Adult behavior? Only if you are into pornography.

Regular readers know that I have taken issue with some union behavior -- particularly the Boston firefighters insisting on raises in exchange for drug-testing and the recalcitrance of other public employee unions in agreeing to help bring down municipal health and retirement costs.

A unilateral elimination of the right to collective bargaining is another matter entirely. Particularly when the motivation comes from deep-pocketed ideologues who are willing to condone petty backroom politicking like Walker's to achieve their ends.

It's been six weeks or so since the "adults" took over and I have yet to see anything that approaches a serious discussion about who we are, what we can afford -- and how to share the pain equally.

It would be nice if the media actually looked at the reality behind the rhetoric spewing from Washington and Madison.

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Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

An adult conversation would include how Planned Parenthood helps fight diseases such as breast & cervical cancer:
"One in five American women has used Planned Parenthood’s services. The vast majority of care — more than 90% — offered at Planned Parenthood health centers is preventative. Every year, Planned Parenthood carries out nearly one million screenings for cervical cancer — screenings which save lives. Every year, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses give more than 830,000 breast exams — exams which save lives. Every year, nearly 2.5 million patients receive contraception from Planned Parenthood — a service which prevents enormous numbers of unintended pregnancies and, by extension, an enormous number of abortions. Every year, Planned Parenthood administers nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV — tests and treatments which save lives, extend lives, preserve fertility, and maintain reproductive health."
These cuts now will only cost us more in the future as more women suffer from diseases that could be treated sooner and more efficiently.

February 20, 2011 9:28 AM  
Blogger DEN said...

Talking about adult conversations - the Democrats in Wisconsin flee the state to deny the (elected) majority a quorum. This is just chickenpoop politics! None of the politicians, it seems, has pure intentions. The crisis remains: States are going bankrupt because no one wants to sacrifice any part their entitlements. Somehow, we need to start having those adult conversations or we will end-up with another financial collapse.

February 20, 2011 9:58 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Den, what do you think about US Senate Republicans using the filibuster to ensure gridlock? Is that chickenpoop too?

Stories I've seen say the Wisconsin union folks are willing to make the financial concessions, but unwilling to just give up on collective bargaining. And why should they when millionaire athletes have those same rights?

February 21, 2011 5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, has the party newly in majority control engaged in those adult conversations, or have they just scratched their decades long ideological itches, which is it? As for Wisconsin Democrats fleeing the state to prevent the majority Republicans, spearheaded by a barely elected governor from overturning fundamental labor rights, again an ideological itch, they were using the only weapon available to them in a desperate situation, to prevent the Legislature from having the quorum needed to conduct business. Is it something to be proud of, no, but neither is the behavior of the governor to put them in this position.

February 21, 2011 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abandoning the state is the equivalent of taking your ball and going home. Using filibusters is playing within the rules of the game as it is set up, and has been used often on both sides.

February 22, 2011 5:08 AM  
Blogger DEN said...

I don't see abandonment of post as equivalent to filibustering. But, yes, I disapprove of all tactics that try to thwart the results of legitimate elections.
The difference between bargaining by public employees and millionare athletes is:the sports management is talking about thier own money.
There is no real incentive for politicians to resist the demands of public employees, since the only one who gets screwed is the non-union taxpayer. Frankly, I would disolve with all public service unions.

February 24, 2011 1:57 PM  

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