Roasting GOP Chestnuts By An Open Fire

These people on TV keep talking about the same old things the same old ways. I’ve been hearing the same political talking points since I can remember. Neither party is immune to this overuse of recycled campaign rhetoric, but the Republican chestnuts – lower taxes, lower deficit, less government, less regulation -- are starting to sound like a line in a song, they are repeated so often.

But what do they really mean? What are they really saying?

Our government took in 2.524 trillion dollars in 2008. We spent 2.983 trillion.

Our government took in 2.105 trillion dollars in 2009. We spent 3.518 trillion.

Cutting spending in either of those years to equal what came in the door would actually cut back on a lot of corporate welfare, and practically decimate the entire defense industry. But more important than that, balancing the annual budget would not reduce the trillions we have in long term debt by one dollar.

Doing that would require even more draconian cuts -- if you ran the government like a business. I agree that we spend money on stuff that isn't necessary. But the remedy for the problem we have isn't lower taxes for companies that barely pay any as it is, and leave their profits offshore when their accountants can't gin up a way around the tax code stateside.

Because if you talk about these things with actual numbers instead of emotional catchphrases, it sounds like a lot different tune than the one they are trying to get the rest of us to hum along with them.

Government was indeed limited for most of America’s history. Up until about the middle of the last century, in fact – somewhere between World War I and World War II, back when most families had one toilet, one car, one TV one radio, and one telephone. Back when you didn’t worry about illegal immigrants because white laborers and black laborers were readily available, and easily expendable if they lost a foot or an arm or an eye.

We of the general public made it through a hundred and fifty years of less government, lower deficit, lower taxes, and less regulation by the skin of our teeth. The taste this period left in the mouth of the public was so foul from all of the abuses our industrialists and capitalists perpetrated upon the defenseless American workforce, up to and including cold blooded murder in the case of striking workers, that we welcomed additional government regulation with open arms.

Since the mid 20th century, we have accumulated more stuff, bigger houses, access to multiple cutting edge communications devices, and the mountains of debt that go along with it – mountains of debt that have helped our corporations thrive and generate enormous profits even as our individual citizens struggled to keep making the payments on all of these conveniences. Our attitudes towards debt as a nation are not as easily changed as a peel and stick label. We like the things we get in exchange for signing on the dotted line a whole lot more than we like the things we could get if we had to pay cash for everything.

So when politicians talk about the ideal situation -- where America has no long term debt; where taxes on corporations are next to zero; where no one needs Social Security because they have all wisely invested enough of their savings in the stock market to replace it and provide for a comfortable retirement, without ever having to touch a penny before they turn 65; where no business, especially those with Christian owners, need regulating; where every war is a good war because bullets are free and dead soldiers come back to life when the president hits the “reset” button -- we need to send them history books by the millions, blood soaked history books piled next to them in their beds while they sleep the way the mafia dons took the heads they hacked off of horses and put them in the beds of their enemies…

…because these are your enemies, make no mistake about it, who are sworn to an oath that the general public shall remain sheep to be fleeced in perpetuity.

If I were you, since its so cold outside, I would simply roast these chestnuts over an open fire. Because that's about all they are good for these days.

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