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What Republicans Would Cut

October 10th, 2010

The Republicans always promise cuts, but are too gutless to actually say what they’re going to cut. One reason for this is simple: most of the things they want to cut are popular, and if they gave a complete list of full cuts, it wouldn’t amount to nearly as much as they claim they’ll save. Of course, the biggest reason is that they’re slick political operators: they know that any specifics will piss off someone, and so they remain as vague as possible whilst sounding as adamant as can be, knowing that most voters will stupidly buy the sham hook, line, and sinker.

But they made a bit of a slip in their “Pledge to America”: they said they would cut 21% from $477 billion of domestic discretionary spending in the Stimulus. And since we know what is in that spending specifically, it is possible to get a few things the GOP would rather we not see–that being actual specific. And the specifics are not pretty, as we reflect on the fact that–unlike the GOP plan to cut taxes for billionaires–most if not all of what the Dems want to spend is actually productive and badly needed. Bloomberg figured out a few things that the GOP would actually cut:

  • $15 billion from education
  • $13 billion from money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure
  • $6 billion from health research, such as the National Cancer Institute and other research
  • $5 billion from student tuition in the form of Pell Grants
  • $400 million from police forces nationwide

Not hard to figure out why they didn’t get specific, is it? Now, military spending, they’ll protect, especially stuff like the missile defense program, stuff that pours billions into corporate research that pays off the least in terms of jobs and infrastructure, but does great for their patrons. But you and me? We can go suck it.

Daniel Dilger at Roughly Drafted had a good sum-up in his piece on large corporate mergers (Microsoft and Adobe are looking to get together), saying:

We now have the product of a decade of pro-consolidation, anti-regulation public policy: banks and massive corporations control the government and entertain the middle class with the notion that they should give up any demand for “socialist” benefits in exchange for providing multinational monopolies with the freedom to pay low wages, syphon their profits into tax shelters, and pay no regard to any sort of environmental issues or invest anything into the proper education and critical infrastructure of the nation.

Understanding this setup helps one see why Republicans hate the kind of spending listed above. Education money does not go into the coffers of large corporations; if teachers get paid and schools get supplies, how does that help the establishment? All it does is make the next generation a bit smarter, which does not help the establishment maintain control. And infrastructure? If the government builds it, how can private industry charge for it? Health research? Doesn’t that cut into Big Pharma’s field? And a lot of that might be research telling the corporations how dangerous their products are.

No, money going directly to people doing their jobs and young people learning to think are counterproductive to the society that today’s GOP wants to build. They don’t want people to be employed without private industry getting their cut off the top, they don’t want the electorate to get too smart (especially off the public’s dime, which goes equally for everyone, or–gasp–to the poor, who need it most), and they certainly don’t want people to see government doing anything right for fear that private industry would not be able to do the same thing while charging more for the profit they skim.

Sorry, just felt like a rant today. Short story: cuts always hurt someone, they always gore somebody’s ox. That’s why government abhors not spending.

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  1. Geoff K
    October 12th, 2010 at 13:03 | #1

    Nobody bothered to comment on this, so I guess I will. It’s comments like yours that have the Democrats huddled down in the bunkers, waiting for the disaster to strike. Sure, spending cuts can be painful. But when you’re broke and getting even deeper in debt, cutting your spending is the first step to recovery. You sound like kid in a candy store “Oooo I have to buy this. I can’t not buy this.” Too bad the Democrats don’t have any Grown-ups who can make hard choices for them.

    * $15 billion from education

    In other words $15 billion to Teacher’s Unions and administrators, to be frittered away with minimal value to children. There’s very little proof that Federal spending on “Education” has had any positive effects on learning or test scores. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is violently opposed to school vouchers or school choice. The President’s kids get to go to an elite Private school, but he doesn’t want to give regular Americans that option.

    * $13 billion from money to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure

    The same only for Construction Unions. If roads and bridges need work, float a bond and charge tolls. Why does the Federal Government need to bankroll this?

    * $6 billion from health research, such as the National Cancer Institute and other research

    This is worthwhile in the abstract, but, again, we can’t afford it. Drug companies and Universities are hard at work on research. Losing some Government support won’t stop them from continuing.

    * $5 billion from student tuition in the form of Pell Grants

    In a perfect world, nobody would have to pay for College tuition. Or for housing or food or for pet rainbow unicorns. Sadly, people and Governments can’t give away money forever. Tell these kids to take out a student loan instead.

    * $400 million from police forces nationwide

    Another good thing that doesn’t need to be bought by the Federal Government. Local Police forces can be paid by local town and state taxes. The urge to Nationalize every aspect of life is one of Obama’s worst traits.

    So I’d support all of these cuts and lots of others too. And if the Democrats don’t want to be forever branded as “the party of tax and spend and big Government”, they should look at some of the Pork here and cut it as well.

    In three weeks Voters have a simple choice:

    D: More Taxes, More spending, bigger deficits, bigger Government.

    R: Lower taxes, Less spending, smaller deficits, smaller Government.

    Polls say the majority of voters like choice “R”. After the last two years of Obama/Pelosi/Reid budgets, who could blame them?

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