24 September 2010


DOWNHILL. In today's NYTimes, esteemed economist Paul Krugman pokes holes in the already-perforated Republican Party's alleged "Pledge to American". Krugman notes that, as in past empty promises to the public, Republican math just does not add up. Far from decreasing the federal budget deficit, their agenda would actually increase the deficit -- just as they have done in every Republican administration since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Krugman cites Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center -- "the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (A) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (B) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won't cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government. No more National Parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicare (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and for others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress."

So how does Republican rhetoric make any conceivable sense? If the party's plan for reducing the deficit makes no mathematical or fiscal sense, why are they proposing it? Well, for much the same reason they trotted out their "Contract with America" in 1994 -- in a naked grab for power. The American electorate is gullible to pompous promises (Nixon's "secret" plan to end the war in 1968 comes to mind), and in 1994 the electorate swept Republicans into power in both houses of Congress. As Krugman documents, modern conservatives make no bones about it -- being in power trumps responsibly serving the people every time. Once in power, conservatives also make no bones about their real goals -- "privatizing and dismantling Medicare and Social Security."

Yeah, that's what I really want to see, LESS accountability, FEWER governmental services for my tax dollars, and MORE money falling into the welcoming pockets of already-obscenely-wealthy CEOs (who donate handsomely to Senators and Representatives who serve them). The truly dispiriting aspect of all this? Voters had such a short memory, and so little interest in really informing themselves about the issues, that they'll likely swallow the conservative bait, as if they had not already tasted that barbed hook before.

A MILESTONE. I began posting on this blog on 13 February 2008. Yesterday, for the first time, the number of daily visitors reached 100 !!! Small potatoes for many widely-read blogs, but an encouraging achievement for this modest e-epistle. Thank you, gentle readers. Spread the word, and please feel free to click on "comments" at the end of each post to leave your remarks or questions. Below you will find graphs showing (as of this hour) the number of daily visitors for the past month, and the number of monthly visitors for the past year. Click on the image to enlarge.

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