The Old Republican Fiscal Piety Blues
In my experience the same Republicans who preach so loudly about fiscal responsibility and living within ones budget are nearly always at the front of the line at the great American public appropriations buffet. They address the cameras with carefully powered faces twisted into expressions of shock and concern, their mouths dripping with pecuniary piety and repeat the same mantra over and over again.
They accuse the Democratic Party of being the party of “tax and spend” and pontificate about the way they will save America by cutting taxes on the wealthy, cutting services to those who need and deserve them, then, with open grasping palms, flee into the back rooms with their lobbyist masters and grovel for their cut of the loot.
In his column at the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaasen offers a lovely and touching example of this in a tale of appropriations largess in Tallahassee, Florida:
The myth of Republican frugality is graphically exemplified by an ornate new state courthouse, about six miles from downtown Tallahassee.
It will soon house the First District Court of Appeal, and it was financed primarily with a $35 million bond issue that was slipped into the 2007-2008 budget at the last minute.
Originally (before a splatter of bad publicity), plans called for the new courthouse to provide each of the 15 appellate judges with their own 60-inch, mahagony-trimmed flat screen televisions.
Architectural features included individual bathrooms and kitchens, as well as a fitness room. A grand dome was installed, modeled on a Michigan courthouse that some of the Florida judges had toured, traveling there on a private jet paid for by the builder. Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald Someone give these guys memory pills .
In the strange and terrible realm of the republican side of the mirror there is always a few hundred million to help out a “small businessman” or a “job creator,” terms that in republican parlance refer to their wealthy and connected cronies, or often…relatives.
There is never enough for education, nor for jobs training, health care, nor the runaway unemployment caused by the runaway financial crimes committed largely by the same circle of friends.
As the bridges collapse, the oil rigs explode and contaminate our oceans, as the pipelines of suburbia kill our neighbors in their sleep, the republicans continue to insist on cutting government regulation and oversight, continue to ignore our crumbling infrastructure and all the jobs that would be created in the restoration of it, in favor of the same pork barrel politics they have always been known for.
When you go to the polls and I hope you do, take your friends with you and remember this: Friends don’t let friends vote republican.