11.04.2005

The Republican Welfare System

Thursday night the Senate voted to cut federal spending, with the hopes of also reducing the federal deficit, by passing the first spending reduction bill since the right wing conservative government took power.

In less than five years Bush’s compassionate government has increased federal spending to the largest levels ever, created the largest federal deficit ever seen, provided the largest tax breaks to the wealthiest of people and corporations ever sought possible and borrowed more money to pay for a growing list of expenses than any administration in American history.

The spending cuts target a wide barrage of social programs and government grants and subsidies. Those on the right usually laud all cuts on social programs, and I’ll totally agree that federal spending should be curbed. I sometimes hate to even use the word “social” because of the stereotypes it creates in political conversations. If it is true that most conservatives and right-wingers hate social programs-- and I’m not convinced that all conservatives do, it’s more of an argument of being fiscally responsible rather than doing away with the programs-- but if the end of all social programs is their goal, then the largest social program this country has is the Congress itself. According to the right wing argument shouldn’t we do away with the Congress also?

Those who are elected to our Congress enjoy the most spectacular social benefits this country has to offer. Maybe it is not well known to voters, though it is only a matter of sitting down and thinking about what Washington is doing, but the families of those in Congress are raised with the kindest socialism this world might know.

The members and their families are covered by the best medical benefits plan in the nation, universal healthcare that allows the employee and spouse to be covered for life. Their pension system is full of luxurious options, matching funds, including the choice of investing some of their retirement money into private funds or stocks, which draws money out of the Social Security fund that the rest of us taxpayers (voters) depend on. They also have the pithy responsibility of granting themselves pay raises, usually every year. It is a communal group plan that the conservatives in charge have only voted to increase in scope. I must also add that I have never met a poor member of Congress either. Meaning that the Congressional welfare system is a rich man’s communism, held in check by a dynastical family of two presidents and a governor with entire families of beneficiaries to the system.

Thursday’s plan is supposed to eliminate about “$35 billion over the next five years by cutting federal spending on prescription drugs, agriculture supports and student loans, while clamping down on fraud in the Medicaid program.” The bill, however, does nothing to cut pork projects in Republican districts, or to cut any funding on the social programs offered to the Congress. Fareed Zakaria notes, “The highway bill of 1982 had 10 "earmarked" projects—the code word for pork. The 2005 one has 6,371.”

Indicted House member and Texas Republican Tom DeLay a few weeks ago noted that there was no more pork left in the budget to trim. But on Wednesday DeLay “repeatedly apologized for excessive spending by Congress, including recent highway legislation that was loaded with lawmakers' pet projects.” Even going on to admit that while “House Republicans have voted to cut taxes ever year since winning the majority in 1994, DeLay acknowledged, [o]ur record on spending has not been as consistent, unfortunately." A flip-flop of words and deed.

While Republican candidates rally a base that disdains “hand outs,” it is the Republican leaders who benefit totally from a socialist elite form of government. Vote for me and I’ll curb handouts to the poor, but will raise my family and our friends from the handouts that I receive from taxpayers such as you, is the Republican stump speech. What is the moral argument for Republicans that vote to end government programs specifically for the poor while excluding cuts in the same social programs they receive?

Cutting services to the poor while expanding them for the rich is the new conservative platform. It’s a class-preferred system favoring the rich and mostly Republican elected officials who so desperately need the votes from their die-hard capitalist, conservative, morally Christian, no more “handouts” base. You who oppose all things socialist, vote to keep the most successful socialist program in power and well oiled.

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21 comments:

Jack Davis said...

"Cutting services to the poor while expanding them for the rich is the new conservative platform"

I'd agree with you, except for one word: "new." It's been a tradition of right-wingers in Congress for many years. There are, in fairness, some conservatives like Ron Paul or the Cato Institute who want spending cut across the board, but they are the exceptions. It only makes sense: Republicans represent richer districts and try to bring money to them, while the Democrats represent generally poorer districts and try to redistribute wealth to their constituents.

Good post,
Jack D.

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

This is not surprise and it is also should annoy all of us and make us angry. The people of this country need to really look at what is going on with spending. There needs to be some kind of mandate that every American have the facts shoved down their throat.
The pork should be cut and the money should be put into education and health care period.
This stuff should be in every paper in the nation.
There are so many studies as to ways in which the poor over time could be elevated in socioeconomic status that to me it would only make sense to put the money their now and hopefully alleviate future problems…. Starting with not cutting student loans. In a time when it is well known that the biggest difference between the have’s and have nots is education, and with the facts showing that more and more people are unable to go to college how on earth can they even think of cutting back n that area? How much more blind is this government going to get to the real needs of the people they govern?



It is all perplexing. Nice read MJ.

CaliValleyGirl said...

I agree with you to a certain extent...it's a problem with politicians overall. Fatcats are everywhere, it's not just a Republican phenomenon.

What one calls services for the poor, and redistributing the wealth, is seen by many capitalists as unhealthy for promoting economic growth. It's one thing to support education and afterschool programs. A completely different one to remove economic incentive. Somehow I am feeling the need to protect capitalism here, as I am seeing the effects of too much socialism first-hand. Germany is a great country, with great social programs. It rehabilitates its criminals instead of just punishing them. It offers education to everyone. However, on the other hand its welfare programs have of late been so great, that it discourages anyone from seeking gainful employment, as they would often be earning less money than if on welfare. And thus they are losing the funds to support their social system.

So while I am entirely against political hand-greasing, please don't drag capitalists through the mud with them. They aren't just greedy, they also think they have the nation's best interests at heart.

It's also wrong to call politicians' redistribution of funds to their political allies as being socialist. It's just corrupt.

That is one of the things that makes me angry with career politicians...they start seeing themselves as the center of everything, instead of servants to the whole.

Hopefully people like you can make a difference.

Chris said...

Jack, true enough. I do like the Cato Institute. And all the while, the Republican districts are upheld by the voters who think their representatives share their interests, but are actually living a very socialist lifestyle. Thanks for reading.

Alice, I agree we all should pay more attention. Of course if one were to ask Tom DeLay or any other neocon if the Congress was a socialist system they would argue that it's a job that the people have entrusted them to do, and would deny totally that Congress is a socialist program. Just imagine, though, if we the people actually did get mad and do something about it. What a different world we could have. Thanks for reading; I owe you some visits.

CVG, good to see you back. I also appreciate your feedback on this. I will have to respectively disagree with this not being a Republican phenom, however. The bill S. 1932, which drastically cut funding for social programs as well as everything else mentioned on the main page post, is a Republican bill. Thus, it is the Republican Party pushing for cuts in social programs intended for lower income peoples while doing nothing to cut those exact same social programs that they themselves also benefit from.

It is also this Republican administration who is still bent on phasing out Social Security, while doing nothing to phase out their own Congressional private gentlemen's club Social Security program that allows them to retire comfortably. The Democrats have done nothing of such.

I think this post is more about hypocrisy maybe more than anything. If Republican Senators can vote to slash funding for social programs then shouldn't they also include their own programs in the cuts? The Democratic Party is not running bills and passing legislation that specifically targets the poorest among us while living fat off the very same hog.

I have to contend that it's the Republican representatives, who entirely live within a socialist system and then deny the very same way of life to their constituents, that are doing more harm to capitalism than any one person or movement is doing. If the Congressional social system is good enough for those we send to Washington to vote in our best interests, then is it not also good enough for us who are not members of Congress?

If capitalism needs a defense I think it should be defended from those who live in work in what is probably the best socialist program in the world and then tell the rest of how great capitalism is.

I do agree with the corruption thing, and I probably agree with you more in general than what this reply will make it look like. Thank you for the visit and thanks for commenting. You are always very well read.

Girl on the Blog said...

It is against every fair, just, righteous, seemly, honest, good, virtuous, upright, commendable, conscientious, noble, principle of humankind. More tax cuts for the rich at the cost of the elderly, the poor, the children, and the physical or mentally handicap, tells us where their values lie.

Any person who considers themselves to be respectable, or moral, could endure this boggles my mind. This has become a country with no sympathy and/or humanity and a country up to their eye balls in decadence that we no longer have any right to chastise other countries on the way they run their governments.

This is just one more method in their policy of diminishing the population. They are without any doubt not going to do that by destroying the rich. When there's less of us middle class and poor, there will be more for them and of them.

avereragebusinessman said...

Great read and great comments, such a great group;
I don't think that we have to promote or take away the incentive for people to work. It is clear the welfare system we have needs a revamping some sort of a stronger gate, so to speak, so that there will be no incentive to except social programs. They should be there for the truly needy. The money should be spent on education and on health care as someone already pointed out and to cut these programs while keeping some of the significant pork is something we need to start caring about.
Thanks MJ for something to think about.

JT said...

I hate to be a walking talking point, but it seems like conservatives aren't addressing spending that deals with no-bid five-year contracts with firms that eventually inflate their itemized costs by millions. WTF?

David Schantz said...

I don't think we'll ever be able to do away with Congress but we can vote to do away with members of Congress that vote to give themselves pay raises year after year for 20 plus years. Good post.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic

DBK said...

The bill increases the deficit because it also cust taxes on the wealthy again by $70 billion. The net result is a $35 billion increase in the budget shortfall. These are the "spend and borrow" Republicans.

By the way, the wealthy (call it "those with more than a million a year in income") actually pay only around 23% in taxes, which is lower than what people pay who are making $90k a year. That's because they have the loopholes to get out of paying taxes. Even Bush admitted this in a speech last year. Funny how that got so little notice.

Craig said...

Something that I am dealing with right now is to stop drinking the party "kool-aid" as conservatives like to apply to Liberals and keep away from themselves. Conservatives feed it too.

I am discouraged at the Republicans in power. And although Bush does not set the budget, he still has veto power. The fact that Republicans and Conservatives have let this budget get out of control is atrocious.

War and disasters happen. Most of the time without much warning. Spending on these is important. Some spending on "social" insurance programs is also intregal. However, it seems both sides of the aisle has it wrong.

Republicans can't complain about social programs while taking bigger pay raises and allowing pork projects filter through. And Democrats can't lecture about spending when they refuse to see the impending doom of Social Security.

MJ, I know you want to blame Republicans and focus on their faults, but last time I looked, the Democrats in Congress were just as wealthy as the Republicans and don't feel a neccessity to cut their benefits either.

The truth is this. Politics as we see played today are simply ruled by people who have more money than most of us will ever see. Their idealis views are never to be achieved, and honestly never worked for. They don't want to change the "way it's always been done", and actually fight to keep it that way. No matter what party or individual, one constant stays the same, they do not have the best interest of American or the understanding of what our founding fathers want.

By the way, good to see your as lively as ever. Sorry to miss out on so many discussions. Peace brother.

Graham said...

Excellent post MJ,

I agree that when it comes to cutting spending it's remarkable how much easier Republicans in congress find cutting social programs than their own pet projects... the truth is that in all of these areas government has to strive to find new ways of dealing with social ills and social problems, because government can't be putting its future citizen into mounds and mounds of debt, but this requires a fundamental appreciation of why these services exist in the first place, instead of just implementing what might as well be across the board cuts on everything.

They just don't care, it really is that simple.

DBK said...

Painful as it is for me to say this, I believe that most politicians on both sides of the aisle really do care, but that they have differences of philosophy and it manifests itself in bad ways. Also, the way legislation must be bartered for makes for bad results sometimes as well. But the closer I have become to politicians over the past couiple of years, the more I have seen that they really are honestly trying to serve us well. There is a difference between being disinterested and being out of touch.

Chris said...

Girl, right on. Love to see a post from you about this stuff. Thanks for reading.

businessman, very correct, this group is the best. You all make this commentary happen. Thanks for reading.

JT, of course they will never touch those bids. Why would they? Haliburton is the neocons largest donor. Those no bid contracts are political corruption at its highest level. Thanks for reading.

Schantz, true but then there would be no Republicans left ;-)

dbk, thanks for bringing that up. More tax cuts for the wealthy. Reagan proved trickle down economics does not work.

Chris said...

Craig, is that really you?? Good to see you back. Oh, by the way, I banned the use of the term "kool-aid" in all its forms from the site, you must of missed it. That phrase has to be the most retarded political expression I've ever heard. I think once we start comparing people with opposing views to that of suicidal maniacs then the debate is lost right then. Oh, and those of Jim Jones would probably vote Republican in today's world hahahahaha. Alright I'll get serious.

The only thing I will disagree with you about this time is that Social Security is not in impending doom, check the office of budget, which is controlled by Bush, and you will see it's far from doom. It needs adjustments, just like all economic models, but not in doom.

You are correct about Dems being just as wealthy, but the Dems are not voting to cut social programs or any program intended for lower income peoples. So I'm not sure your comparison works. The Republicans are doing just that. They want to do away with all these social programs for everyone else, but keep their own social welfare program stronger than ever. If the Dems are doing anything, they are wanting to expand the programs that they benefit from to the lower classes. That is the bottom line. Republicans want to rebuke socialism but raise their families from what is probably the best socialist program on Earth. The Dems want all Americans to enjoy what those of the privileged Congress do. They may not be voting to cut their own benefits, but at least they are wanting to expand it to the people.

This place is always lively man...good to see you back.

Chris said...

Graham, simple indeed.

dbk, I believe most do care, but I do believe that most put themselves first before anything else. But if the social programs that the Congress has is good enough for them and their families, then it's good enough for mine and yours. Thanks for reading.

stormingamerican said...

MJ thanks for the welcome back! Good to be back. I enjoy your reading your blog and a few others you have linked up here as well. Thanks! Keep it up.

avereragebusinessman said...

Right On MJ
I don't care what people do with their own private money but I don't want my tax money to go for pork or programs that benefit the rich.

Mr Bob said...

See you went to my site and left a one sentence response..."that's crazy" As eloquent an argument as it was, I had to pop over and see your site too!

"created the largest federal deficit ever seen" is spin and you know it.

It is the most in dollars because the federal budget grows every year, but as far as a percentage of GNP it is far from the largest...not even close and it has gone down a great deal in the last year because of the booming economy. The next president, no matter who he is will have the biggest budget in history too. Government spending goes up..every year no matter who is in charge.

"provided the largest tax breaks to the wealthiest of people and corporations ever sought possible and borrowed more money to pay for a growing list of expenses than any administration in American history"
This too is spin, but you probably actually believe it. Helping business helps people, even the janitor at the company. Why don't socialists get this?...oh yes their socialists! So why then do they object to Republican spending on social programs? I always wondered about that.

OH yes here comes the CUTS argument...as usual we want to starve children and kill old people. No we want to slow the growth rate. Slowing the growth of an increase in spending...is not a cut, to say otherwise is a lie, one the likes of Pelosi, Kennedy and Durbin love to tell.

I agree, congressman should be subject to everything we are, the rules should apply to them too. And I agree they've got quite a gravy train set up for themselves...there needs to be term limits, it should not be a lifetime job, just like the prez. Then they can kill all these benefits that don't compare to the real world..which you and I pay for. I agree with you on those points about congressocialism.

You can blame the conservatives which you of course are want to do, but when those plans were put into place we were under a 40 year democrat reign.

I also agree with you on the pork. If the R's don't get it together and do what they were elected to do...and drill in ANWR they are going to lose their base. They are acting like democrats and we have had it. It is starting to look better that a democrat be in the whitehouse so the R's will actually curb spending..seems they just can't if they like the Prez.

last paragraph; not cuts, slower growth, but you know that. It isn't a class preferred system to want to help business. Its economics. Our economy in spite of huge problems is on record pace..because of this. This helps not just the "rich" but the middle class. The decline of 2000 saw my sector's jobs die. I was lucky to have a job, some of my friends didn't. Now once again, jobs are plentiful because of conservative policies of helping the so called "rich." Socialism feels good, but it doesn't work for long term solutions.

Mr Bob said...

I saw that you went to my site and left a two word response..."that's crazy" As eloquent an argument as it was, I had to pop over and see your site too to see who thought I was crazy! :-)

"created the largest federal deficit ever seen" is spin and you know it.

It is the most in dollars because the federal budget grows every year, but as far as a percentage of GNP it is far from the largest...not even close and it has gone down a great deal in the last year because of the booming economy. The next president, no matter who he is will have the biggest budget in history too. Government spending goes up..every year no matter who is in charge.

"provided the largest tax breaks to the wealthiest of people and corporations ever sought possible and borrowed more money to pay for a growing list of expenses than any administration in American history"
This too is spin, but you probably actually believe it. Helping business helps people, even the janitor at the company. Why don't socialists get this?...oh yes their socialists! So why then do they object to Republican spending on social programs? I always wondered about that.

OH yes here comes the CUTS argument...as usual we want to starve children and kill old people. No we want to slow the growth rate. Slowing the growth of an increase in spending...is not a cut, to say otherwise is a lie, one the likes of Pelosi, Kennedy and Durbin love to tell.

I agree, congressman should be subject to everything we are, the rules should apply to them too. And I agree they've got quite a gravy train set up for themselves...there needs to be term limits, it should not be a lifetime job, just like the prez. Then they can kill all these benefits that don't compare to the real world..which you and I pay for. I agree with you on those points about congressocialism.

You can blame the conservatives which you of course are want to do, but when those plans were put into place we were under a 40 year democrat reign.

I also agree with you on the pork. If the R's don't get it together and do what they were elected to do...and drill in ANWR they are going to lose their base. They are acting like democrats and we have had it. It is starting to look better that a democrat be in the whitehouse so the R's will actually curb spending..seems they just can't if they like the Prez.

last paragraph; not cuts, slower growth, but you know that. It isn't a class preferred system to want to help business. Tax cuts should benefit those who pay taxes. Its economics. Our economy in spite of huge problems is on record pace..because of this. This helps not just the "rich" but the middle class. The decline of 2000 saw my sector's jobs die. I was lucky to have a job, some of my friends didn't. Now once again, jobs are plentiful because of conservative policies of helping the so called "rich." Socialism feels good, but it doesn't work for long term solutions.

11:04 AM

Mr Bob said...

sorry, it posted twice, I only hit it once...ahh blogger.

Chris said...

Mr. Bob, thanks for the visit. Don't worry about the double posts, it happens to me all the time.

I'm a little confused here. My phrase, "created the largest federal deficit ever seen," you call spin. But then starting off the very next paragraph you agree that it is the largest deficit in history in terms of dollars. Then you want to measure something against GNP. In terms of dollars is how everything is measured, correct? No matter if the federal deficit is measured against GNP, GDP, total population or whatever factor, it is still the largest federal deficit in history, in terms of dollars and whatever else.

Then I'm thrown for a loop when I re-read your third paragraph because it seems that you are confusing the federal deficit with the federal budget. I'm not talking about the budget here, I'm talking about the deficit. Yes the budget grows every year, under Bush at least, but again I'm writing about the deficit, two very different things.

Are you talking about the budget or the deficit? I'll agree with you about budget growth, but that's not the point I'm stressing at all in my main post.

It does appear, however, you think I'm a spin machine. I do thank you for the compliment. I do think that you have totally missed my post, just like most conservatives who have read it and left comments.

I have no problems doing across the board cuts. I do have a problem with cutting social programs for people while the Republican Congress does nothing to cut their own socialist programs. I'm not sure I can make that any clearer. Do away with all social programs, or whatever floats your boat, but don't cut programs for poor people while the fat Congressman enjoys the best socialist program in the world. It's hypocrisy, and it's very wrong.

The 40 year reign of Democrats is true. But the social programs have been increased two fold since 1994. And wouldn't your argument make more sense if you could argue that after a 40 year reign of a Democratic, socialist Congress the Republicans took charge and turned it into a working capitalist program that the whole country should emulate? You can't argue that because it's not true. The Republicans have increased the size of the Congressional welfare program more in 9 years than the 40 years the Dems had it.

Again, don't tell me how great capitalism is when Republicans vote to keep the largest and best form of socialism alive and well.

And probably your last two paragraphs completely sum up my entire argument and my main page post. You argue for a system that you think should happen, an economic model completely capitalistic. And then you admit that the Republicans are doing the exact opposite of what you argue. That the Republicans are not doing what the people elected them to do. Sounds like a party detached from reality and its constituents. I'm glad we both agree.

Thanks for the visit, and I'm not trying to be harsh here. I do think that we are actually arguing the very same things. I'm sure I will give your site more visits and hopefully leave more than two words :-)