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"Shrinking government" in American political discourse has, for decades now, meant the following. We enlarge the government's budget through taxation and penalties on working people and through borrowing and printing money. We not only tax the wealthy and corporations less, but we massively subsidize them with public funds. We move away from taxes and fees meant to limit the damage greed can do to the world, and we defund regulation of and law enforcement against the oligarchy. We transfer an ever greater share of the budget to the military. We expand the domestic and international surveillance-police states while merging the two. This, again, we call "shrinking government."
If Snoopy had ever pointed out to Charlie Brown that Lucy was just going to yank the football away again at the last second, Charlie would have only heard barking.
I hope all the good people chattering away about how cutting Social Security would be political suicide, and therefore won't happen, can hear more than barking in the following.
In the best case scenario, and least likely outcome, the Super Congress will fail to produce a plan or to pass one through the actual Congress. In that case, the backup disaster plan will kick in and deem itself passed automatically. Those who had voted against setting up this deal will claim innocence. The others will claim that their only other choice had been Armageddon.
"The Democratic Party is running away from its traditional role of protecting the poor, the elderly, and the working class," writes Congressman Dennis Kucinich. "To whom do these groups now turn?"
We turn to ourselves, Congressman. You know that. And you know I love you. But we've got to stop turning to people, much less parties. It's killing us. We can work with you and all of our friends, but we're going to have to do this ourselves. There's nobody so poor, so elderly, so working class, so sick, so weak, or so wounded that they can't help this country a hell of a lot more themselves than can your colleagues, Congressman, the vast majority of whom, politically speaking, aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit.
Time to take out the good ol' fashioned paper and pen and create your budget. As George Lakoff once wrote, a budget is a value document. So enter numbers based on your values. When you're done, scroll down to compare your budget with the one governing United States federal spending.
Directions: Enter a percentage of the budget that you would spend on each of these six broad categories. (If you're feeling industrious, fill in each little line item.) Make sure the total equals 100%.
FRIENDLY FOREIGN RELATIONS____%
Economic development aid to select foreign countries, medical aid to poor nations, and development aid to poor nations, the Peace Corps, and disaster relief abroad: ____%
State Department: ____%
United Nations, peacekeeping, weapons nonproliferation: ____%
HOSTILE FOREIGN RELATIONS____%
Military and Homeland Security Department and military "aid" to other nations: ____%
Current wars: ____%
Veterans' benefits: ____%
Job training, mass transit, and a jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure and mass transit: ____%
Management of public lands: ____%
Pollution control and Renewable energy research: ____%
Subsidies to small farmers: ____%
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH____%
Elementary and secondary education, and higher education, and special education for students with disabilities: ____%
Medical research: ____%
Scientific research: ____%
Law enforcement and federal prisons: ____%
Housing for the poor and elderly: ____%
Paying off national debt: ____%
BIG AGRICULTURE AND BIG TRANSPORTATION____%
Airports and railroads and highways: ____%
Subsidies to big agriculture: ____%______
Now compare what you did with what the White House projects for 2015.
What if the imminent banging of Uncle Sam's skull into the looming debt ceiling isn't a crisis, but the very concept of debt is? The debt ceiling has been lifted numerous times without fanfare or fainting spells. All we face this week is a fabricated opportunity to gut social programs and trusts under the guise of a phony crisis and a discourse constricted to exclude taxation of the wealthy or cuts to the war machine.
By David Swanson, RootsAction.org
The wealthiest nation on earth is not actually obliged to starve our senior citizens. We don't need a military 670% more expensive than the next largest one on earth. We don't need to fund health insurance corporations instead of healthcare. And we don't need tax breaks for billionaires. In fact, we don't need billionaires. That's the message RootsAction is taking to Congress.
Imagine how radically different the current debate over the Giant Debt Ceiling Monster would look if we moved it to one of those nations we're bombing into a democracy. Imagine us all still U.S. residents with the same views we have now, but imagine that our representatives in Washington, D.C., were obliged to give a damn what we thought.