Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Joe Conason on "fiscal conservatives"

Joe Conason writes about the selective concern for fiscal probity of Blue Dog Democrats who are trying their best to gut health insurance reform in Blue Dog Math PolitickerNY 07/22/09:

Indeed, [Georgia Democratic Congressman Jim] Marshall [of Georgia] is typical of the Blue Dog mentality in his enthusiasm for useless military spending. He is an outspoken advocate of the missile defense program — perhaps the biggest waste of money ever undertaken by government, because it doesn’t work as advertised and almost certainly never will — at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars so far. As far as the Blue Dogs and their Republican allies are concerned, there is hardly ever such a thing as a wasteful military contract—and certainly never in their own districts. The United States now spends on defense roughly the total amount spent by all the other countries in the world combined, yet the fiscal conservatives rarely ever find programs worth cutting. We also spend more per capita on health care than most developed nations, yet our politicians cannot figure out how to make that huge expenditure pay for universal care, although every other wealthy nation does it.

So whenever someone describes the Blue Dogs as fiscally conservative because they oppose health care reform, remember how promiscuously they spend our money on projects that are far more wasteful and far less likely to benefit anyone, except the contractors who donate to their campaign coffers. Remember that self-righteous posturing over spending has very little to do with saving public money or serving the nation’s greatest needs. When politicians say they’re fiscally conservative, chances are they are anything but. [my emphasis]
Besides this matter of poor priorities, the Democrats really have to get over their hand-wringing over deficits. Republicans just use that to oppose constructive Democratic programs and then when a Republican President gets into office, they can't run up the deficit and the foreign borrowing fast enough by cutting taxes for the wealthiest and pumping more billions into boondoggles like the Star Wars program.

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