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Dum Dems

June 5, 2013

Republicans have sold weapons to our enemies. They got away with it. They cut tax rates and increase spending. The deficit goes up every time a Republican so much as snaps a photo of the White House.

But they’re unstoppable. Reagan, Bush, and Bush established a shiny new Republican tradition — jack up the deficit, keep it high, brag about fiscal responsibility, deny all knowledge of George Orwell.

Nation-building on a credit card? Check. Blank check. Let the bankers rob us all blind? But of course!

Let’s have a debt clock at the 2012 Republican convention! You betcha! Our goal is to redefine chutzpah.

Unfortunately, Obama-the-great-and-powerful scared a lot of people with his all-Democrat, trillion-dollar stimulus plan. So guess what? They’re baaaack.

Today, they control the House and are hard at work protecting their robber-baron constituency. Medicare? Can you say voucher? Warren Buffet pay the same tax rate as his secretary? No way! He has to be rewarded for his success with super-low tax rates. We mustn’t have “redistribution of wealth.”

The redistribution of wealth  — upward — is proceeding steadily. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the top 2% didn’t even slow down the redistribution. Game. Set. Match. Republicans.

If the Dum Dems had brains in their heads, they would call the multi-decade bluff of the phony fiscal conservatives and pass the balanced budget amendment the R-people say they want.

A constitutionally mandated balanced budget would not only begin a new era of fiscal responsibility, it would be good for social programs. Plus, it would put an end to the Republican party as we know it today. How’s that for a side-benefit, Dum Dems?

“But the R-people gave us low tax rates,” you say. “And we still have our social programs.”

Unfortunately, you’re right. Dick Cheney explained the strategy: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said. Deficits don’t matter. Yes indeed.

Now we have a whole slew of unpaid-for social programs and a monstrous debt. The Cheney Plan was a Trojan horse.

We have reached the point where an amendment to the Constitution mandating a balanced budget would favor Democrats. Ironic, ne c’est pas? The idea is simple enough: cut deficits on a regular schedule (Democrats do that anyway); balance the budget in ten years (Clinton did it in five); allow a deficit only in a national emergency (would require a Congressional supermajority); use automatic across-the-board spending cuts (also known as sequestration) as the enforcement mechanism.

Republicans have proposed essentially this amendment. If Dems said okay, a few R’s might get suspicious, but most would probably vote for it, signing their own death warrants. With Democratic support, it would sail through Congress and then, perhaps, get ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

Soon after the amendment passed, Republicanism as it currently exists would find itself in the political fringe (where it belongs) for one simple reason: no one actually wants their government programs cut. After a couple of huge and hugely painful sequestrations, everyone — registered Republicans, registered Democrats, and independents — would demand a balanced approach including tax increases. Surprise! We like our roads paved. We need our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. We want to keep Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid too.

What Dum Dems don’t get is this: A government that pays as it goes is the best protection imaginable for social programs and the worst thing in the world for today’s Republicans.

Are you a progressive? You are terrified of a balanced budget amendment, aren’t you? But ask yourself this question: Do you think Mitt Romney is going to pay taxes at a lower rate than a school teacher if the government actually has to fund the social programs that are overwhelmingly popular? Mitt’s tax rate would double; social programs would be safer; progressives everywhere would sleep better. A balanced budget is nothing to be afraid of.

Are you an old-fashioned conservative? Guess what? The bankrupt-the-government-and-bring-back-1880 extremists currently parading under the banner of conservatism do NOT represent your interests. Suppose we pass a balanced budget amendment, people decide they want their social programs, a handful of Republican nut jobs are hounded out of office, and taxes go up a little. Is this so bad? Imagine a government where there is a place for real, honest conservatism: hard decisions can no longer be put off; wasteful government spending is immediately painful; nation-building on a credit card is extinct. You’ll sleep better too.

Liberalism and conservatism have a place in any government. Unfortunately, today’s social programs are being covered by promises instead of cash; meanwhile, fiscal responsibility has been reduced to empty rhetoric and debt-clock photo ops.

The country-clubbers currently running the U.S. House of Representatives say they want a balanced budget amendment. Give it to them. They say they want a clause that stipulates automatic sequestration if the government doesn’t collect enough in taxes to run its programs. Let them have it.

A Democratic party with gumption would say “I call” and would push all of its chips into the middle of the table. And turn over aces.

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