by JOHN YOUNG
You wondered if tea party Republicans cared about the little people. You should have heard those in Washington plead for victims of a federal austerity horror.
White House tours: canceled.
Colorado’s three GOP congressmen were voice-raw over this. They had promised tours to vacationing constituents. Sequestration squelched that.
Oh, the humanity.
Understandably, and subsequently, these caring lawmakers have no larynx left for truly desperate people in their snowy state. In the face of sequestration, agencies that serve homeless families are poised for cuts from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for domicile assistance. Laryngitis aside, this is of no concern to fitfully ensconced tea party constituents.
Observe the magic of “across the board” cuts so blithely and regularly recommended by those who think government can do only wrong (unless it is invading other countries).
Speaking of blithe: That word described most fiscal disservatives as the sequester arrived. Eighty-five billion dollars in automatic, indiscriminate cuts? No biggie.
A great howl came up, however, with the now-halted release of illegal immigrants from federal facilities. Then again, just what does “across the board” conjure to you? Does it not involve Immigrations and Customs? And if not, why?
Would you, Mr. or Ms. Lawmaker, like your “I Am Utterly, Totally Irresponsible” T-shirt in XL or XXL?
Of course, almost from the word “go” for sequestration, the Republican House was quickly trying to figure out a way to feed the military beast, for we know not a shred of fat lies within.
But enough about the absurdity of automatic cuts of any kind. Let us focus on the insanity of one party’s fighting with all its might to defend the nation’s most comfortable citizens while the nation’s least comfortable try to keep their fingers from freezing.
Let’s also reflect on tax policies that consciously painted the nation into a corner of red ink, the architects’ knowing that at some point those designer deficits would be, or would appear to be, untenable.
And since no one likes to raise taxes, even if federal revenue as a share of GDP is the lowest since the days of “Howdy Doody” and Roy Rogers – well, the fiscal disservatives pledge to fight any revenue enhancement to the death.
What’s amazing is that President Obama is simply playing off the tax recommendations of his 2012 rival. Mitt Romney, you’ll recall, wanted to close tax loopholes that unnecessarily benefited the super-wealthy. Oddly, though he railed against the deficit like a good Republican should (now that Republians don’t hold the White House), he didn’t intend to use so much as a dime of the revenue raised to cut the deficit. He and Paul Ryan would use the difference to lower tax rates.
That old voodoo. Then again, for some it never gets old.
Over and over and over again since the days of Reagan, Republican-inspired tax cuts served to facilitate growth – in the national debt. All along that path, the fiscal disservatives yawned. Didn’t matter if we were waging wars – plural. Didn’t matter if times were good or bad or in-between. It was always time to cut taxes.
Under Reagan, a certifiably ambitious revamp of the tax code could have raised sufficient revenue to wipe out the deficit. Not a chance. It had to be revenue-neutral.
So, here we are, trillions in the red, and of course this is the fault of the Democrat in office – for whom deficit spending was the only option to confront one of the saggiest economies since the Pilgrims landed.
The economy is dramatically better. The stock market is putting up Miami Heat-like numbers. The jobs picture is improving. And now? Sequestration and forever fiscal crises endanger middle-class public-service jobs like those of teachers, first-responders and more.
But don’t forget those hurt worst: Americans, out in the cold, tour maps in hand.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.