Friday, September 24, 2010

Starving The Beast

Paul Krugman in the Times this morning thinks the Republicans are making the country ungovernable, and their policy prescriptions at frank odds with reality:

...the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while simultaneously (a) making the Bush tax cuts permanent and (b) protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t cut, is to completely abolish the rest of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”

The “pledge,” then, is nonsense.

Hard to argue. They've been talking about starving the beast and drowning it in a bathtub for decades. They've been talking of government help as something to be feared, of government regulation as tyranny. Anybody who's been listening has been saying, also for decades, that you don't give a hammer to someone who doesn't even believe in tools. Anybody who's been watching has seen example after example of problems arising from Republican failure to govern.

And it'd be a damned shame were historians in 100 years to attribute the long-sought destruction of American government to the ease with which a black man in the White House could be delegitimized, and the insufficient response to their hatred and bigotry from those who knew better.

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