A.J. DiCintio
Much to gain everything to lose
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By A.J. DiCintio
April 2, 2011

Except for the 20% who self-identify as liberals, an increasingly angry, frustrated public perceived nothing but politics at its rotten worst when Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) reminded his Democratic colleagues to respond to Republican antidotes for the nation's toxic fiscal problems with the mindless slime of "extremism."

But despite its multiple stupidities, Schumer's comment doesn't change anything substantive in the debate about how to avoid the financial and social disaster that lies ahead because Democrats, with President Obama leading the charge, have staked their political future on the notion that financial problems represent less of a threat to the national body than a strained pinkie does to a robust fitness buff.

Want proof the Democratic Party has institutionalized an Alfred E. Neumanish "What — Me Worry?" attitude toward burgeoning federal spending and borrowing?

Then, check out Obama's plan to nearly double the nation's debt over the next decade or consider how congressional Democrats are screaming "extremism!" over Republican plans to cut a mere $60 billion from a budget that insanely borrows $1.5 trillion of its staggering $3.7 trillion total.

In a parliamentary democracy this madness by Democrats would likely lead to a victory by a party or parties that have laid out a markedly different economic vision aimed at avoiding a national catastrophe.

However, sad as it is to admit, our political system gives demagogic Democrats not just a good chance of thwarting real fiscal reform but one whose probability can rise close to certainty if Republican politicians fall into the trap of adopting the liberal/Democratic dogma that regards the people of the fifty states as incurably ignorant slobs.

For the best illustration of what I mean, think of June '09 when, in an act ordinary folks continue to perceive as arrogantly megalomaniacal or just plain nuts, Barack Obama, who had never discussed specifics with the American public regarding an issue that not only touches upon questions of life and death but also encompasses 16% of the nation's economy, announced he expected Congress to pass a comprehensive healthcare reform bill in less than three stunningly insulting months.

Is it any wonder, then, that to this day near landslide proportions of voters agree that much of the abomination which has come to be called "Obamacare" ought to be repealed?

Now, applied to the nation's current financial situation, Washington's long history of ignoring the will of the people on vitally important issues makes it easy to understand the frustration of Tea Party activists who demand immediate budget cuts of more than $60 billion

But for all who believe the federal government's fiscal path leads to disaster, there is something more important than making a statement about the FY '11 budget, which ends this September.

Specifically, it is this:

When the truly crucial fight beings over eliminating failed and duplicative federal agencies and offices, cutting the bloat from others, and reforming unsustainable entitlement programs, Republican politicians are almost certain to fail if they leap ahead with an agenda developed without first having discussed facts, facts, facts with the people in a manner that demonstrates a willingness to place the public good before the welfare of any special interest group.

Such a discussion keeps faith with Jefferson's incontrovertible truth that a just government can be based only upon the supremacy of "We the People" and affirms the undeniable wisdom of Washington's assertion that because democracy "gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion [in a democracy] should be enlightened."

Moreover, it recognizes that ordinary Americans, whose falling real income has kept them working harder and longer over the past thirty years, simply don't have the time needed to ferret out the truth regarding every lie politicians have long kept from being resoundingly rejected by embroiling issues in the twisted, despicable filth of name calling, obfuscations, and lies.

For example, these lies —

. . . That Social Security is entirely sound at least until 2037, because when, as early as 2016, it needs extra cash to keep its commitments, the system can simply draw from the $2.5 trillion of excess FICA taxes held in the horrible joke of a myth called the "Social Security Trust Fund," whose every last penny Congress has spent for apparently more important purposes.

. . . That the nation's inflation besieged healthcare system can be saved from disaster by the passage of a 2,000 page abomination that accomplishes little except to further bloat the federal bureaucracy, this entire "reform" another hideous joke that employs magic to find $500 billion in Medicare savings and ignores the professionally informed, eminently pragmatic suggestions offered by honest doctors whose agenda is neither to protect the medical industry's sacred cows nor the political industry's insatiable, arrogant, power loving hogs.

But Republican success in preventing a fiscal disaster doesn't depend only upon advancing ideas for budget cutting based upon a fair, honest, fact-based discussion with the people; it also requires proposals for fixing essential functions of Mitt Romney's "broken" Washington.

That reality explains why Republicans have a number of other key decisions to make in their quest to convince the public they represent the rational alternative to the infinitely worse than monkeyish "See no problem, Hear no problem, Speak no problem" Democrats.

For instance, Republicans must decide whether they will continue to insist big banks need not be subject to strict regulation even as they allow those institutions to grow as big as they wish.

How big? Well, currently, the assets of the nation's biggest bank stand at $2.3 trillion; Number Two, $2.1 trillion; Number Three, $1.9 trillion; and Number Four, $ 1.3 trillion.

Yet Republican leaders insist one or more of those banks can be allowed to screw up and "fail" without causing excruciating pain for the American people, an assertion everyone who has learned the lessons of the past few years will find as stupid as it is insulting.

Republican leaders must also decide whether they will persist in arguing they just can't find a way to establish a new, thoroughly professional, no-revolving-door-allowed, properly funded Securities and Exchange Commission even as they continue to espouse their devotion to the wisdom of investing in America's markets.

Once again, ordinary Americans now know a thing or two about how hedge funds, short funds, computerized trading, speculation in inscrutable derivatives, and a host of other stratagems, including those employed by modern disciples of Mr. Ponzi, are making a mockery if not of the Efficient Market Theory then certainly of the estimable Benjamin Graham and his common sense "value investing."

So when Republican leaders tell those citizens they can sleep sweetly after they invest in unregulated or under-regulated markets, the money invested earned through the daily sweat of a lifetime, they will surely respond with a "Really!" infused with all the sarcasm they can muster.

The discussion presented here is a mile from being complete; but it is sufficient to demonstrate that while conservatives, independents, and libertarians reject the fiscal pathology the Obama administration has intensified to an astonishing degree, they are also demanding a new politics from Republican politicians.

Those politicians had better listen; for when a political party confronts great problems and solves them by employing courageous, honest, innovative thinking, it has much to gain.

However, history teaches that if a party fails in a great endeavor because of cowardly, selfish regressiveness, it may lose as much as everything.

© A.J. DiCintio

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.

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