Friday, July 15, 2011

The Great Fire of 2011

The Great Fire of Rome occurred in AD 64.  Only four of the fourteen districts of Rome  escaped the fire; three districts were completely destroyed and the other seven suffered serious damage. It was said that Nero, the emperor sang and played the Lyre as the city burned.  Substitute Eric Cantor or Jim deMint for Nero and that pretty much sums up the current situation regarding the Great Fire of Washington DC of 2011.  While President Obama offers realistic solutions, some Democrats might say overly generous solutions,  Cantor and Bachman shout, "My way or the highway!"  Protect the rich at all costs.

Eric Cantor, Rand Paul, Michelle Bachman, Louie Gohmert and a couple dozen or so other radical Right Wing House politicians stubbornly dig in their heels like two year olds in the midst of a tantrum, while the nation teeters on the brink of economic disaster. They say utterly stupid things in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.  Despite the fact that there will be insufficient monthly revenue coming in to cover actual expenses, for example, to pay the nation’s monthly checks for members of the arms forces, for social security and Medicaire payments for elderly in nursing homes, and other expenses beginning in August, Bachman and others say “there is plenty of money.”  That amounts to political malpractice.

Nearly all economists agree that while it is important to reduce the federal deficit in the long run, slashing the Federal budget at this tenuous time will greatly worsen the recession, further undermining jobs and eliminating essential services to economically disadvantaged and elderly people and those with disabilities.  These are the same people who ran for office in 2010 on a platform of producing jobs for Americans, but instead have pushed legislation to ban abortions in more than half of the states, bills to undermine voter rights in 32 states and increase subsidies to oil and other large corporations.  And now this. 

Here in Minnesota early behavioral intervention programs for children with autism are reeling from the financial consequences of such cuts. School districts are deciding which personnel will need to be laid off and programs eliminated.   Some community autism treatment  programs may not survive without Medicaire funding to cover the cost of their therapy employees’ wages. Their therapist have to pay their rent and buy food for their own families.  Such essential service programs cannot afford to go into debt and survive very long.  That is one of dozens of examples of services to people with disabilities, the elderly, battered women and other disadvantaged groups that face disaster because of these House members’ ignorant intransigence.  

Is it really worth bringing the nation to economic ruin in an attempt to defeat Barrack Obama in 2012, which as Senator Mitch McConnell has stated is the Republicans’ number one legislative priority?  Shall we wait for Washington to burn, this time not at the hands of the British during the War of 1812,  but instead the Republican Tea Party?

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