Thursday, May 16, 2013

Republicans: Feeding at the Trough

Republicans are defined by many things:  Bible Thumping, opposition to  abortion, endorsement of gun rights, sanctimony, a tendency to demonize and vilify their opponents, resentment of people who sport brand name educational institutions in their resumes, resentment toward government in general, but not, in specific.

Republicans love government when it comes to bringing government power to bear on people who speak in opposition to prevailing dogma (see Bong Hits for Jesus) or when it comes to supporting police intimidation, as in strip searching persons arrested for rolling through stop signs or for walking down the street while Black, or when it comes to defense contracts,  or when it comes to preventing local governments from passing strict gun ordinances or when it comes to preventing a fourteen year old girl who has just had unprotected sex from buying and using Plan B, so she does not get pregnant.

Republicans hate government, until the point they want government to do something for them or to other people.

In that, they are not all that different from John Q. Citizen.

When you look at the pie graph of government spending, it strikes Mad Dog, there are surprises, pleasant surprises, in the way our federal government chooses to spend dollars.  Republicans, of course, think we spend too much money on everything, except for the things they want to spend money on--like weapons. 

But look at that pie: We spend only about 14% on Defense, roughly what we spend on "welfare.'  Of course, how you define "Defense" is crucial. If spending on the Veterans Administration, with all those prosthesis for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan comes under "Health Care" then the small slice of the pie for Defense is misleading.

If we spend roughly 20% on healthcare Mad Dog would say that's money well spent, although it should be noted, Europeans, who in general have better health care than Americans spend only about 10% of their budgets on healthcare.

Roughly 20% on "pensions" which likely includes both federal government pensions and social security is money well spent because it keeps senior citizens out of poverty, off the bread lines and out of the emergency rooms. It probably saves money in the long run, and it certainly prevents much misery.

But look at that "interest" slice: If that 6% is all we spend on servicing our debt, I'd say we're doing pretty well. Republicans will tell you our deficits are killing us. Paul Krugman says they are paranoid schizophrenics on this score. Mad Dog tends to believe Professor Krugman on this one.  They are paranoid because the threat they perceive is non existent. and they are schizophrenic because they are split personalities, of two minds. Spending 6% on debt is intolerable but spending 14% on defense, including spending on weapons systems and ships and airplanes which make us no safer, make corporations richer as a form of corporate welfare, that is just fine with our Republican friends.

With friends like these, as the saying goes, we don't need enemies.

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