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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Saturday, April 09, 2011

No "Winning" in latest DC farce

The countdown clocks are going into mothballs until the next showdown -- over the debt ceiling -- and cable "news" can now go back to talking about "important" stuff like Donald Trump, and Charlie Sheen.

But the all the huffing and puffing over "winners" and losers" in the latest Showdown at Gucci Gulch hides the obvious fact that virtually everyone lost -- except for the big-spending special interests who continue to dominate our political and economic lives.

We don't know for sure what's included in the $38 billion in spending cuts (which will hit even harder coming in the middle of a budget year) other than military spending is barely nicked. Programs affecting the poor and disabled and the unemployed are probably at the heart of GOP hit list -- they always are.

Liberals can claim victory in that they headed off yet another (but far from final) conservative effort to stick their noses into a woman's private life. Conservative overreach on yet another settled issue -- like collective bargaining and Medicare -- will make a powerful campaign theme in 2012.

But none of this addresses the real issue -- that the United States doesn't have a spending problem, as the Tea Party claims. It has a revenue problem, mainly one in which the tax burden is not shared fairly.

The $38 billion is a drop in the ocean compared to the $1.3 trillion hole blown in our budget by the Bush tax cuts -- cuts championed by the very same "fiscal conservatives" now crowing. Not to mention a system that enables companies like General Electric to get refunds instead of pay taxes.

The media is complicit in this charade. More air time has been spent on Trump's faux presidential campaign -- and the equally specious birther movement -- than in serious examination of our tax and spending habits.

The loudest yellers -- found today on Fox News -- dominate the "discussion" by offering lies and half-truths that are never given serious examination.

And supposedly serious journalistic enterprises give front page play to the simplistic Tea Party message of "when we're cutting, we're winning."

Now that the latest "crisis" was averted with an 11th hour deal, we can once again laugh at Trump's hair and Michele Bachmann's struggle with facts. We can "win" with Charlie Sheen.

The shouting that passes for news coverage is over, until the next time. And when that time comes, serious journalism will sadly be AWOL once more.

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