Walter Rhett

spending frenzy: Are the Republicans the new Democrats?

In Perlo on April 28, 2010 at 3:25 am

Sean Mahoney, a National Committee member of the Republican Party is my kind of Republican. He believes not only in fiscal conservatism, downsizing government budgets and programs, but also holds true to the principle of fiscal responsibility, the elimination of wasteful, frivolous, unnecessary spending by those in power and in politics.

People in power have track records, but the electorate often assesses officials’ votes by views rather than by costs and benefits. Among those who oppose Obama’s views and policies, how many received tax credits and lowered their tax liablities or received refunds this year? It’s estimated that 100 million Americans received tax cuts this year.

But personal and small business tax cuts are at odds with run away government spending and deficit building. Shifting employment patterns have resulted in continued high unemployment; expanded health care coverage didn’t reign in raising costs; rescuing the economy came at a hefty price.

Should we fear the future or fear the evidence of unbridled spending at present, in and outside of government?

While the Democrats are mortgaging the future of America’s grandchildren, the Republicans are spending away their immediate political futures.

And that’s where Sean Mahoney comes in. The 39 year old MBA graduate of Harvard’s Business School who is the publisher of Business NH and has climbed Africa’s tallest mountain, had this to say when he unannouced and without consulting New Hampshire officials, resigned his National Republican Committee seat and blasted the National Committee for excessive and frivolous spending: “Not only has the out-of-touch, free-spending culture of Washington come to completely dominate the United States Congress, but I have watched with growing unease as the same mentality has seeped into our own national party.” According to Maloney, the spending binge shows a “lack of respect for donors,” by party leaders who spend lavishly and irresponsibility.”

Mahoney’s letter went on to say Republicans have ignored their own alarm bells: “Today, our party leaders point fingers and lament our out of control spending . . . a trillion in so-called stimulus spending, . . . but they fail to acknowledge that Republicans are part of the problem, Republicans got this ball rolling. [/wr emphasis].

There’s more: “When given the chance to oppose the Bush administration’s ill-conceived TARP bailout, many of the go-along-to get-along rubber stamps in Congress from our party turned their backs on the small businesses that create jobs on Main Street, supporting instead the big Wall Street bans that helped create the current economic mess in the first place.

Mahoney goes on to criticize the Republican National Committee’s “overspending on private planes, limousines, remodeling, catered parties and high prized junkets,” and a PowerPoint presentation that “mocked” the Republican Committee’s “own donors.”

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Mahoney’s junket refers to the widely publicized night out to a West Hollywood strip club featuring bondage where the tab for the Republican money guys came to $1946. (Whether this includes tips for the performers, who stimulated sex in nets hung from the ceiling, is not known.)

In politics, is this submitted and itemized expense, the new male “bonding” or a Republican “stimulus” for the economy of working girls?

When they should have been covering their eyes, and using their brains, they got hooked, caught with their feet in their mouths. Their out-of-touch attitude is reminiscent of France’s Marie Antoinette: when told citizens had no bread, she replied, “let them eat cake.”

Or perhaps Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too

Laughable and pathetic, expect for the bigger, more immediate 43 states’ fiscal crises that Republicans have chosen to ignore, or in some cases profit from.

Bigger than the growing federal deficit is the close-at-hand fact that 43 states have 2010 budgets with combined deficits of $100 billion.

Oklahoma the only state in which Obama did not carry a single county has a projected budget deficit of $1.3 billion. (In a 2009 survey only 2.8% of high school students can correctly identify the first President of the US, the length of a US senator’s term, the names of the two American political parties, or the governing document for the country.)

Utah, perhaps America’s most red state, has a projected deficit of $700 million and one Republican legislator has put forth the idea of eliminating the 12th grade from public schools to save an estimated $600 million.

Ten states have deficits larger than 20% of their total budgets.

While state’s face an unfathomable crisis, Republicans in several states dance and fiddle like Rome’s Nero. Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer is being asked to audit the party books. Top Republican county and state leaders the party faithful have nagging questions about the state party’s spending on chartered jets, five-star hotels, sports tickets, and even purchases from men’s clothing shops.

South Dakota’s Republicans, who control the state legislature, approved a state budget increase of $600 million from 2009, $4 billion up from $3.4 billion, while also accepting $500 million in federal stimulus money.

As early as December 2004, Business Week contended that “Republican deficit hawks have all but vanished.” In 2010, Republicans stand against former Republican Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, once the Senate’s Republican Whip (second ranking Republican) and now the co-chair of the National Commission to Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a new Obama Commission to recommend ways and means to eliminate the deficit and balance the federal budget by 2015.

blog post photoSen. Simpson once asked a Republican caucus “Is anybody here for the country?”

In Newsweek, Simpson recently cited as a problem the national cynicism on deficit reduction: “the outlook we have, that this country is just going to sink into the swamp, so it doesn’t make a rat’s fanny’s worth of difference what you do.”

Hearing a different drummer down in the bayou, Louisana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, sees the enormity of the state’s crisis and has acted to reign in his state’s spending. Jindal vetoed over 250 earmarks in his state’s budget, a reversal of his penchant for federal largess when he ranked 14th in earmarks (many of which were for indigent health care for the poor in his district)as a US House member in 2007.

California Senate Republicans, too, have introduced 24 job creation bills in the state’s “8th Extraordinary Session,” referring to legislative sessions beyond the regular calendar. CA Republicans have sponsored a “Jobs First” campaign to help the state’s more than 2 million unemployed. Their plan has five simple themes:

  • Stop California Jobs from Leaving,
  • Restore California’s Competitive Job Creation Climate,
  • Cut Government Spending and Bureaucracy in the Budget,
  • Initiate Regulatory Review and Relief,
  • End Frivolous Lawsuits That Are a Full Employment Act for Attorneys.

Yet California’s state budget deficit is still extant at more than $20 billion, and proposed to cut $626 million in health care services and coverage to the state’s poorest children and families.

In an unreported flip-flop, the Republican National Committee has asked for its money back from the person who received the reimbursement for the strip club expenses, citing no reason as to why.

Perhaps asking for fiscal conservatism back might not be a bad idea for all Republicans who in serve policy and public service positions and in the legislatures of the Federal government and all 50 states.

But can the Jacks be put back into the box—especially after America has seen stirring ad infinitum examples of their smug and complacent selfishness spinning out of control?

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12th graders
Thanks for reading! /wr Stir the Perlo, leave a comment.
(All photos, fair use.)




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