Is it safe to say that—by now—Americans are completely fed up with the Kabuki Theater that is politics? Republicans blame Democrats for job-killing policies. Democrats blame Republicans for elderly and child killing policies (because, as we all know, Republicans have a secret desire to kill children and old people).
Here we are, once again, with yet another budget “crisis,” and we faced yet another government “shutdown” mere weeks after the last one. One marvels at the tone-deafness of those in D.C., and how they don’t seem to understand that most Americans are so “over it.”
But, hey, happy days are here again, right? By the skin of our teeth those courageous, hard working public servants in Washington worked and worked so very hard and came up with a magical budget that is oh-so responsible. Well, of course it is, right? The Republicans are in charge of the Legislative and Executive branches, and they are forever complaining about debts and deficits and warning us about how much our children and grandchildren will owe as we kick the can of responsible budgeting down the road. Right?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m afraid you’d be wrong. Just like when Republicans controlled those branches during the first years of the George W. Bush administration, they don’t appear to have any inclination toward being responsible.
Don’t get me wrong—tax cuts, particularly the recent Capital Gains tax cuts—are great and spur the economy (as we’ve seen by the myriad companies raising their employees’ salaries and giving them bonuses). But if tax cuts aren’t accompanied by spending cuts (particularly when our spending has been out of control for decades), that is irresponsibility, plain and simple.
Enter Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on the Senate Floor Thursday night.
While I don’t agree with Sen. Paul on everything, he is consistent on the budget and, for that, I am grateful. I can imagine many of his colleagues grimacing as he began to speak—and for good reason.
The senator from Kentucky railed against Republicans and their hypocrisy in putting forth a budget as bloated as a dead whale washing up on the beach. And he is right.
"The reason I'm here tonight is to put people on the spot," Paul said. "I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, 'How come you were against President Obama's deficits, and then how come you're for Republican deficits?'"
- The budget is 700 pages long. And they got it
the night before.
- We borrow nearly $2 million/minute
- It increases spending 21%!
Twenty-one percent?? What would it be like for you to have an increase in your pay, immediately, of 21 percent? Most of us will never know, since we can’t simply print extra money like they do in D.C.
He shared this anecdote discovered from a recent Department of Defense audit: Last year, you were nice enough to pay $45 million for a natural gas gas station in Afghanistan (which was originally projected to cost $500,000, but, hey, that’s only 9,000% over budget, so, no big deal). Why were American taxpayers forced to pay for this gas station? To reduce their carbon footprint, of course! But guess what? The Afghanis (like most Americans) don’t have natural gas cars. So, you bought some for them! But they also don’t have money to buy the gas. So you are paying for credit cards for them to use to buy the gas from the gas station you bought for them to put in the cars you also bought for them.
But, man, there is absolutely no place to cut!
Indeed, Rand Paul is not the only member of Congress who is opposed to the reckless, dangerous, and I’ll even say delusional spending in Washington. But I’m grateful he took to the Senate Floor to point out the hypocrisy we’re all witnessing.
As the senator neared the end of his remarks, he noted, “no American family lives the way your government does. It’s completely and utterly irresponsible.”
That is completely and utterly true. The question remains: will Americans continue to elect the same people who, year after year, spend us closer to oblivion? Will we still allow ourselves to be made fools of by our “public servants” who come home to you and tout the goodies they’ve brought to your district, assuming that will buy you off so they can continue to live high on the hog with their lobbyist buddies in D.C.?
Will we ever see through it? Will we take our place as the adults in the room, since they are behaving like children in need of discipline? History doesn’t encourage me, but perhaps our increasingly desperate situation will at last cause more people to pay attention and to hold their elected officials accountable. We only have ourselves to blame if we don’t.