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Republicans Have Offered No Vision For Their Cuts

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In railing single-mindedly against the federal budget deficit — as open to charges of hypocrisy as it is — Republicans provided a rationale for their new, unrelenting rampage of budget cuts.

The stench of hypocrisy, of course, comes because the GOP began crying about the deficit only after it forced a temporary extension of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, all of which are financed by deficit spending.

Nevertheless, let’s leave that 800-pound double-standard alone for the time being.

What the Republicans have failed to do, however, is offer the American people any explanation of why they want to cut the specific programs they’ve targeted with their fiscal ax.

Why, for instance, do they want to slice environmental protection to the bone, and eliminate spending on PBS and NPR, for instance, but leave the bloated Pentagon budget pretty much as is?

Indeed, Republicans actually want to grow the federal deficit by nearly a half-billion dollars to fund a jet engine even the Department of Defense says is unnecessary.

Let’s also leave the dubious wisdom of that decision alone for now, given that the discussion of it would fill an entire column by itself.

Taken as a whole, however, Republicans have provided us citizens no roadmap to what they want to chop, and what they don’t.

In other words, to borrow a phrase, they seem to lack “the vision thing.”

And that absence has not gone unnoticed.

It’s not Democrats or other partisan opponents that care, but folks who Republicans need and want to be on their side.

People like H. Bliss Dayton. Dayton’s a banker from fiscally conservative New Hampshire, but even he doesn’t get why Republicans are doing what they’re trying to do.

“I see a lot of potential for reckless cutting,” Dayton told a Washington Post reporter for a story about the GOP’s spending plans. “What I don’t see is much discussion of what’s the purpose of having a public sector, and how should it be designed?”

Slick buzzwords like “limited government” and generalities won’t cut it.

Voters like Dayton want particulars. They want to know just what kind of government Republicans plan to provide, specifically what it would do and what it wouldn’t do.

At least one Democrat, on the other hand, already has her specifics at the ready.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois produced her plan last year as a member of President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission.

Schakowsky’s presents an approach to cut the deficit without “further eroding the middle class in America.”

Schakowsky knows people may criticize some of her ideas. That doesn’t bother her, as she says that “I gladly subject my ideas to the public, knowing that protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits, investing in jobs, and asking the richest Americans to contribute more, represents a majority view despite the inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom of what is possible.”

In other words, she understands that Americans like our friend the banker from New Hampshire want something more than slogans and glib promises.

And that’s something Republicans haven’t yet shown the courage for.

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About Scott Nance

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I’d vote for Ike today – I really would! But as I’ve stated many times on BC, I was once a Republican, but then I started seeing through them in the early nineties.

  • My good man, you’re going back a long time.

  • Boeke

    I did vote for Ike in 1956, and I’d do it again. I was a confirmed republican and conservative, then. But the republican party walked away from me.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    Eisenhower also allowed a 91% top marginal tax rate for the entirety of his presidency.

    THAT, sir, is why defense spending and everything else were “in quantities relative to tax income well above the present on a per-capita percentage basis.”

    But what do we see now? Republicans absolutely horrified that we’ve got a 35% tax rate…and one that does not charge progressively higher rates as it did in Eisenhower’s day. Given that – and his prophetic warning about the military-industrial complex – I’d vote for him…but how many modern-day Republicans do you think would vote for him?

  • Cannonshop

    #15: Dwight David Eisenhower, in the fifties. Interestingly enough, did it in spite of funding quantum leaps in aircraft technology (Most of the “Jet Age”), with an average national tax-rate of 3%, low unemployment, and (IIRC) the massive interstate highway project, as well as defense spending in quantities relative to tax income well above the present on a per-capita percentage basis.

    Eisenhower’s government was significantly smaller, as well. weird, huh?

  • kurt brigliadora

    Mr.Nance …Great debate,but for all you “cloud computing” geeks~ here is some food for thought to masticate on; sorry to say …things will never be the same, only getting worse …no matter what the “noise”… “George Soros” the currency master manipulator and his crew will decide how and when to pass out the crumbs!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    (don’t bother – Cheney said it for you: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”)

    But Clavos, I’d appreciate if you’d respond to my comment #16 on this thread.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos and C-shop –

    Both of you [Edited] discuss my perpetual partisanship, about how I keep pinging on the Republicans and conservatives in general…

    …but if you could refresh my memory, when was the last time a Republican president balanced the budget? Just wondering….

  • Clavos

    You’re not going to get to 0 without cutting entitlements.

    Or raising taxes…

    In reality, probably both.

  • You’re not going to get to 0 without cutting entitlements.

    Or raising taxes…

  • Baronius

    IIRC, we could cut the Defense Department budget down to one $600 toilet, close down the State Department, Interior, and Energy, fund the TSA off the spare change they find in people’s pockets, privatize NASA, end farm subsidies, move OSHA out of their nice, safe offices, and stop inspecting drugs, and we’d still be losing half a trillion dollars per year. You’re not going to get to 0 without cutting entitlements.

  • Cannonshop

    #9 Clavos, I expect Contrarian to be unable to look beyond the party-line. It’s how he defines himself in this persona (on Blogcritics), in his case, it really isn’t a defect, but, instead, a feature. He fills the same role on the left, that certain posters do on the right here-keeping the site from becoming a one-sided lovefest, and providing a kind of baseline to evaluate the “left scale” of commentary here.

    besides, it’s amusing to watch him when he about-faces to stay in step with the Party.

    We NEED articulate statist-robots, they provide a valuable service.

  • Cannonshop

    “Visions” are overrated. A vision, plus a dollar eighty will get you a gourmet cup of drip coffee at Tullys or Starbucks.

    The Small cup-that costs about a buck eighty when you add the tax in most places.

    As for “Illegal Wars”…well, that goes back all the way, doesn’t it? 1805 or so, IIRC, though you could call the entire period of the indian wars, the U.S. support of the Texas War of Independence, or the various interventions between the eighteen nineties and today that were not declared wars “Illegal”.

    So, how ’bout we get out of fantasy-land and stop with all the “Visions” bullshit? It’s a very simple question: we have X income, and Y expenses and we want to accomplish Z goals.

    Insert hard numbers on values X and Y, and then cut Z down to something that results in a positive number. Maybe it involves cutting some defense, but guess what?

    You’re going to have to cut the social programmes too-all of them. and the Entitlements, and reduce your exposures in terms of shit you have to administer domestically.

    A REAL solution isn’t going to make Democrats OR Republicans happy-especially not demanding constituencies and the panderers they put in office on both sides of the aisle.

    The thing about Liberty, is that in terms of financial expenditures, it’s CHEAP. Fewer Regulations, means fewer regulaTORS, fewer clerks and fewer archives, fewer offices and fewer jails, less money going out, because the government isn’t paying for EVERYTHING all the time.

    For those who love power, who thrive on power over others, this is a nightmare. Limited government means loss of the ability to enforce the personal morals of one segment of the population on the rest, it means ending the practice of using tax-law to fight ‘sin’, whether at home, or abroad, and it means that you can’t send the troops in to intervene wherever or whenever it’s politically expedient to do so.

    It means you’re going to have to give up the illusion of security created by having over a dozen separate duplicate agencies under an ‘umbrella’ agency, it means maybe you’re going to have to trust the airlines to screen their own passengers and cargo, instead of hiring burger-flippers and dissolute gen-x’ers to feel up grandma.

  • Clavos


    As long as you persist with your intractably never-ending partisanship, Glenn, you’re part of the problem.

    Cannonshop’s observation (and wish) (#4) was noticeably non-partisan; your reply was anything but. Forget that it was a rehash of circumstances which have already been covered repeatedly on these threads — mostly by you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I notice you didn’t include defense, Baronius.

  • Baronius

    The vision sounds constitutional – preserving only those functions which the federal government is obligated to do, and cutting the rest. As for the bigger $ cuts, if they’re going to be made in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, I’m pretty sure they don’t have to be made before the March 6th deadline.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if that had been the attitude of the Republicans when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, instead of sending us on an illegal war and slashing taxes while greatly increasing spending?

    But I really don’t hear too many conservatives making those particular observations – they’re too busy blaming everything on the Democrats….

  • Clavos

    Damn! Would it ever!

  • Cannonshop

    Interesting… an aircraft five years late (okay, OVER five years late), chosen mainly for its resemblance to another aircraft (external resemblance only), needs a new engine design.

    Maybe they should’ve stuck to the Boeing offering after all, instead of trying to make it all things to all users.

    Oh well.

    Personally, i think I’ve had a bellyfull of “Visions” from Politicians. Maybe Congress should get down into the whole “argue snarl and fight” over what gets funded instead of being so damn bipartisan, and maybe some sacred cows should be ground into hamburger in the process.

    Forget “Vision”, how ’bout if we make ’em fuss and fight with each other by demanding hard limitations on how much they can spend, and then make them fight it out over what gets funded, like they’re SUPPOSED to do.

    wouldn’t that be refreshing?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    What in the defense budget was cut? I mean, other than Boehner’s pet F-35 engine boondoggle?

  • Dave,

    Actually the Boehner crowd appears fearful of real cuts in defense spending.

  • The one notable error in this article is that you claim that Republicans didn’t cut the defense budget, but in fact almost half of the $100 billion cut was from defense.