Reduce the deficit! Halt runaway spending! Starve the beast! Shrink government! It’s time to take our country back!
All lovely-sounding slogans, designed to snag votes. Something that House Speaker-elect Boehner and the rest of the Republican establishment know, however, is that actually making good on the exhortations is a much tougher proposition than shouting them out from the cheap seats.
We have learned from this election that in these times of extreme hardship, the American people are nothing if not impatient. It doesn’t matter who got us into the mess, it only matters that two years have passed since the last election and things aren’t getting better.
The Republicans and their Tea Party wing did an admirable job of getting themselves elected without having to delve into specifics. Let’s face it, there are two ways to reduce the deficit: raising revenue and lowering expenditures.
Since a Republican House will never raise taxes, that leaves cutting programs (the part they avoided talking about during the campaign). The military and national security are off the table, they tell us, so that leaves…
Social Security? Can’t cut people already getting it, or even people who are old enough to smell it. They’ve all paid into the system already. Young people? How can you expect them to keep paying in if you welsh on their future benefits?
Medicare? “Huh, whassat? We’re gonna have to start paying for Grandma’s dialysis? NO WAY, BOZO!”
And--finally--earmarks, which amount to almost nothing compared to the rest of the budget, anyway. “You mean we ain’t gonna get that civic center (or fairgrounds, or underpass, or highway spur) our congressman promised us after all?!!? We’re votin’ Democrat next time!”
Congratulations, Mr. Speaker…and our condolences.