Monday, September 26, 2005

The Three Great Lies

Hey, this one was fun. At what point do these die-hards stop believing that George W. Bush will respect them in the morning?

East Valley Tribune, Sept. 25, 2005

It’s time to revisit the “three great lies.” Oh, “the check’s in the mail” and “I’ll respect you in the morning” still stay on the list. ‘Wingers used to like to say that the third lie is, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” But President Bush has ruined that one.

After all, anytime somebody criticizes this administration’s policies, their response is to pretend that the critics were attacking the front-line grunts. Concerned about the administration’s woeful planning and dreadful execution of the Iraq war? Their response is outrage that anyone would think that our brave men and women on the ground aren’t doing the best they can.

So the next time somebody tries to claim the “third lie” is that government one, just do what Bush does: Hit back with outrage at the horribly unfair denigration of those members of the Coast Guard who risked their lives to save stranded hurricane victims off roofs, or the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries officers who were out in their boats saving people almost the minute the storm passed, or the National Guard troops still protecting property and saving lives. Attention, ‘wingers: All those folks are from the government, and they are indeed there to help.

Instead, these days the third lie is when Bush and the GOP Congress say, “We’ll pay for it by cutting spending.” This is nonsense on several levels. First, Bush and the GOP have been promising fiscal discipline, but instead delivering deficits and excuses, for five consecutive years. Fool me once, maybe twice, but five times?

Second, is there really $200 billion in waste, fraud, and abuse in this year’s budget? If so, Republicans put it there. They’re running the government, and it’s their budget, so it’s their waste, fraud, and abuse. Are they really doing that bad a job? And doesn’t it bother anybody?

Third, if you’re unwilling to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, defense, and interest on the debt, then all other so-called “discretionary spending” amounts to about $500 billion annually. Apart from those items, everything else (help for border hospitals, student loans, education, research, you name it) would have to be slashed by 40 percent to pay for Katrina. It just isn’t going to happen. It’s so “not going to happen” that anybody who pretends it could happen is either lying, deluded, or can’t add.

But apparently there are plenty of people who, so long as it’s George W. Bush speaking, still pretend to believe that the GOP will cut spending by $200 billion. They’re probably willing to believe, as long as it’s President Bush telling them, that the check is in the mail. And I guess that when Bush says it, they still believe that he’ll respect them in the morning.

Speaking of morning-after respect, Sen. Jon Kyl, who accused me of “playing on the grief everyone feels for victims of Katrina,” isn’t above playing more than a bit himself. As reported by Time, Kyl and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., were talking about new difficulties they faced trying to eliminate the estate tax, something that in 2003 would have benefited a grand total of 328 taxpayers in Arizona. Apparently, concern about spending some $200 billion on Katrina may make some people less certain of the need to cut taxes so much for so few.

Sessions left an anti-estate-tax proponent a voice-mail message, “Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with.”

In Kyl’s world, there are natural disasters that level whole counties, leave major cities unfit for human habitation, and render tens of thousands homeless. Then there’s the possibility that somebody might have died unexpectedly with too much money. Guess which of those problems actually concerns Kyl?

Despite vigorous searching throughout the Gulf Coast, the estate tax people haven’t found a dead rich guy to “push back with.” He must be a myth, a non-existent “urban legend.” Just like “compassionate conservatism” -- or Jon Kyl’s heart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So Sam, just how do you explain the spending spree that we are living with now?