CONGRESS' BUDGET-CUTTING IMMORALITY

If President Obama had lunch with Republican leaders and kindly asked one of them to pass the salt, the whole bunch would denounce the very idea of passing anything he wanted, accuse him of overreaching his Constitutional authority, and declare the sharing of salt to be socialism.

If President Obama had lunch with Republican leaders and kindly asked one of them to pass the salt, the whole bunch would denounce the very idea of passing anything he wanted, accuse him of overreaching his Constitutional authority, and declare the sharing of salt to be socialism.

It’s tough to contend with such knee-jerk political naysayers, but we need a president who’ll at least try. Unfortunately, though, Obama is giving in from the start on the solid principle that America can’t simply cut its way to renewed economic greatness. Especially with tens of millions of Americans either unemployed or barely employed, grassroots revival requires bold, invigorating grassroots investment.

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The President’s own budget proposal, however, slashes such obviously-needed infrastructure programs as airport expansion, water treatment improvements, and environmental restoration. The no-can-do, visionless Republican leadership is willing to let the future of America and our workaday majority slide, yet Obama seems unwilling to fight them.

Of course we should be dealing with an ever-rising budget deficit. But America’s red ink flows from a debt amassed during the past decade by two unwarranted wars, absurd tax giveaways to the wealthiest elites, and an economic crash caused by Wall Street’s insatiable greed. It’s both economically and morally wrong for Washington now to put the budget burden on the already-strained backs of working stiffs and the poor – who did not cause the deficit, much less profit from it.

Meanwhile, guess whose spending level is not even being nicked by the GOP’s screeching budget hawks? Their own! While they’re gutting other agencies and programs, they’re assessing only a tiny four percent cut on congressional spending. But even that’s a deceit, for the House hiked its budget by 11 percent just two years ago – so they’re still ahead of the game.

“Beyond Reason on the Budget,” The New York Times, February 11, 2011.

“Obama Plan Said TO Trim Deficit By $1.1 Trillion,” The New York Times, February 13, 2011.

“Eat The Future,” The New York Times, February 14, 2011.

“Congressional Spending Feels Less of a Pinch in GOP Plan,” www.rollcall.com, February 4, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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