Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Follies: What, Me Govern?

Why does no one listen to this man?

Troika: Three Stooges

"House Republicans, on the other hand, want to take everything that's bad about the sequester and make it worse: canceling cuts in the defense budget, which actually does contain a lot of waste and fraud, and replacing them with severe cuts in aid to America's neediest. This would hit the nation with a double whammy, reducing growth while increasing injustice."
--Paul Krugman

"I've cut spending, reduced debt and made government more accountable. More recently, I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes. But in their wake, we can learn a lot about grace, a God of second chances and be the better for it. In that light, I humbly step forward and ask your help in changing Washington."
--Television ad by Mark Sanford, for governor of South Carolina. (Mad Dog kids you not. You cannot make this stuff up.)

When you think about defense spending, if you are a Republican, you can think, "Let's keep America safe. Keep our military second to none."  Of course, we spend more on airplanes, soldiers, ships and weapons systems than the next ten countries in the world's combined, so one might ask, "To whom could we possibly be second?" We are so historically first that for the first time in the history of the world, all the other countries, including Germany, have decided they do not need any real military--just let the Americans do it.

The bald fact is defense spending has nothing to do with defense any more. It is a moderately large federal welfare program for the states of Congressmen who have a lot of defense programs in their state. New Hampshire has the Portsmouth naval yard, which keeps nuclear submarines working. It is difficult to imagine the seacoast without the shipyard, and every Congresswoman and Senator has fought to keep it open.  There is never any real thought about whether or not we need nuclear submarines any more. 

From Mad Dog's uninformed point of view, submarines have always seemed smarter weapons than surface ships, but what does Mad Dog know?

Newport, Rhode Island once had a huge naval base which Richard Nixon closed because Rhode Island was a deeply Democratic state and he took special pleasure in sticking his finger in its eye. Rhode Island had spent millions to build the Newport Bridge across the Narragansett Bay tall enough so aircraft carriers could pass under it, and then--poof! No more aircraft carriers. Shortly thereafter the Americans lost the America's cup race which brought millions to the Rhode Island economy. 

Rhode Island should have withered and blown away. But somehow, Newport did just fine without the Navy and the state actually rebounded smartly.

It's always amusing to see Republicans, who are all about free enterprise, the private sector and small government doing back flips to keep those federal dollars flowing to the military bases in their districts. They are all about small government until it means losing government dollars in their own pockets. 

If Mad Dog reads those pie charts correctly, the military is actually not even that big a slice of the federal spending budget--agriculture subsidies are far larger, and you know just how grateful those big agriculture states are to the tax and spend Democrats.  It's really amazing how Democrats cannot even buy the love of rural voters. 

Many Republicans, like the former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford,are great anti government men, who have never had a real job in the private sector. They have been on the government dole, oh, excuse me, they have been "in government service" all their lives. Sanford had to resign, after he skipped town to hike the Appalachian trial with his Argentine mistress. Now, he is humbly asking the blessing of the God of second chances. Literally, that's in his new advertisements. He is favored to win in South Carolina, where he who eats the most humble pie typically does win. As Francis Underwood has told us in "House of Cards," humility is the coin of the realm in South Carolina, if you are a politician.

So, the government will shut down March 1. That's what the Republicans/Tea Party want. They want to humble the arrogant federal government. 

And the Democrats have not been able to articulate what harm that will do. 

I guess we'll find out.
Mark Sanford Humbly Asks for Your Vote


  1. Mad Dog,
    You have to give it to Mark Sanford for living large. When he sins he really goes for it-no quick tryst with one of the local gals at the no-tell motel for him. He's off to Buenos Aries with his Argentinian love. And when he's redeemed it's also splashy-he's got none other than the Almighty (aka God of second Chances) leading the way and giving him the go ahead to "humbly step forward" to fix Washington. There's brilliance there. It's not fair SC gets to have all the fun- they have the former Mr. Livin la Vida Loca and we have Kelly Ayotte. Kelly needs to shake things up a bit-maybe moonlight as a pole dancer before being visited by the God of Second Chances-it would make 2016 so much more interesting...

    If the sequester cuts take place this week, hopefully the public sees just how far the TP Republicans are willing to go to protect the top 1%. Ridiculous.

    It was to bad "Lincoln" didn't win best picture last night ( although "Argo" was really good)-but it was nice to see Daniel Day Lewis get the Oscar.

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  3. Maud,

    You say such things.
    I may self edit, but I never even imagined Ms. Ayotte as a pole dancer. Even that, however would not put New Hampshire into competition with South Carolina. The only serious competition comes from Texas, Arizona and Mississippi.
    Much has been made of docudramas and their obligation to the truth. In that respect, Lincoln was likely the least offender.
    I did love Lincoln, once I got past the Spielberg moment of boo-hoo gooey gooey.

    Mad Dog