Posted on 05-02-2010
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

One of the more amusing (yet sad) events in the past few months has been to watch Republicans preening as they proclaim their new found desire to trim the budget deficit (ignored in all of this is their contribution in the past 8 years to creating the fiscal straitjacket the country finds itself in).  Of course it is all talk with no plan rooted in reality.  Republicans and Democrats are committed to no cuts in social security and Medicare, an understandable political impulse since pissed off old folks actually vote.  Republicans go further in wanting absolutely no cuts in the military budget (whether the United States can keep spending as much as the next five nations combined is a debate for another day) and absolutely opposing any tax increases (and actually wanting to cut taxes some more).  Somehow the trillion dollar deficit is to be magically erased by trimming the small remaining faction of the budget devoted to discretionary spending.

But as the President pointed out earlier this week, Republican commitment to cutting discretionary spending wanes when Republican districts are impacted.  After bloviating about the stimulus before the revelation of his extra-marital affair, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is now heading to Washington to get more stimulus funds (formerly known as pork) for his state.  See link. But the cake goes to Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama who seems to be trying to validate the caricature of the Party of No by blocking all 70 pending nominations President Obama sent to the Senate for confirmation.  The administration has drawn the Sentor’s ire by axing a couple of home state projects.  See link. As the article shows this is not the only time a Republican Senator has held up a nomination for issues unrelated to the nomination and to secure pork funding (I am sorry, critically needed funding for a dire emergency) in their state.  Shelby has tried wrapping his decision in the flag by citing the national security importance of funding his pet Alabama projects.  But how exactly is national security protected by placing intelligence and diplomatic positions on hold?  See link.

Holds and filubusters have been a problem in the Senate for the while, but lately they have gone out of control providing even more evidence that the Senate is broken.  Shelby’s actions have caused Paul Krugman to bring comparisons to the liberium veto that destroyed the Commonwealth of Poland (See link) causing my brother to joke that the Nobel laureate must have read my blog (See previous blog post on the liberium veto).

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