Monday, February 14, 2011

The Conservative "Making America Poorer Project"

Paul Krugman proposes that the Republican deficit plan be called "Eat the Future."

If you didn’t understand that logic, you might be puzzled by many items in the House G.O.P. proposal. Why cut a billion dollars from a highly successful program that provides supplemental nutrition to pregnant mothers, infants, and young children? Why cut $648 million from nuclear nonproliferation activities? (One terrorist nuke, assembled from stray ex-Soviet fissile material, can ruin your whole day.) Why cut $578 million from the I.R.S. enforcement budget? (Letting tax cheats run wild doesn’t exactly serve the cause of deficit reduction.)

Once you understand the imperatives Republicans face, however, it all makes sense. By slashing future-oriented programs, they can deliver the instant spending cuts Tea Partiers demand, without imposing too much immediate pain on voters. And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.

There's no reason to fault Krugman as an economist, but "Eat the Future" is too conceptual for a bumper sticker slogan.

Why not call it "The Making America Poorer Project."

That's short, catchy, and accurate.

Because the Republicans don't just want to rob from the future, they want to rob from the future in a way that makes most Americans poorer.

For example, Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is proposing to roll back the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin state workers.
According to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer "The proposal would effectively remove unions' right to negotiate in any meaningful way. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt." He also says this plan is non-negotiable -- as in, he's cut off negotiations with prison guards, teachers and other state workers.
Losing their rights to negotiate means that Wisconsin prison guards, teachers, and other state workers are going to be poorer now, and that's the intent. Tea Party guys like Scott Walker don't believe that people like teachers, prison guards, and state workers should be living as well as they do now as a result of their union rights and they're determined to neutralize the unions as a way to bring down the living standards of union members.

Walker is exempting police officers and firefighters from his efforts to make public employees poorer, but there's no reason to think that he wouldn't have also included them if he thought it was politically feasible.

Making America Poorer--that's what the Republicans are all about.


Anonymous said...

As a teacher who is not in a "real Union" I support Gov. Walker. If the state government is broke it is broke. Where do you propose the money needed to pay all these high union wages should come from? You have stated more or less that you don't want to see the entitlement programs cut. I for one would much rather take a pay cut, that be laid off all together.

Ric Caric said...

The "budget crisis" in Wisconsin is almost pure fiction. What Gov. Walker did was pass a couple of tax cuts that reduced public revenue and then declared a "crisis." The key thing is that extreme right-wingers like Gov. Walker have always hated Government and unions, have never thought that middle-class people have deserved to live as well as they do, and are now using the last recession as a pretext for making everybody poorer. The activist right has a strongly anti-social mentality and are seeking to break most of American society down to what they view as its "natural" level.