Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Wimpy

We are slowly learning that all deficits are not created equal. There are good deficits and there are bad deficits; there are deficits that wear white hats and those that wear black hats.

Last week Senate Republicans shot down a bill that surely would have fed ammo to a black-hatted deficit when they killed legislation that would have extended unemployment benefits for the estimated 1.2 million Americans whose jobless benefits will be exhausted by the end of the month, according to The New York Times.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada did what Senate Democrats do best—he wimped out and announced he would move on to new business since he didn’t have the votes to stop a Republican filibuster against the bill.

Of course a fool might ask: Why not let the Republicans hold their filibuster. Let every Republican senator who stands up to speak against the bill be duly recorded by C-Span. Then when the 2012 elections roll around play clips of their dulcet rhetoric over and over again to let the nation see exactly what the GOP stands for.

According to the Times,”The Obama administration has not fought aggressively for the legislation.” But this is to be expected. Obama continues to float in Never-Never Land as the Pentagon leads him to and fro by his nose, and the Democrats wimp out.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said, “The only thing Republicans opposed in this debate are (sic) job-killing taxes and adding to the national debt.

Which brings us back to the distinction between good deficits and bad deficits: In Republican eyes, bad deficits are those that help alleviate domestic economic suffering. It all gets down to the Right’s doctrine of personal responsibility. The unemployed would not be unemployed had they not forced their manufacturing plants to relocate overseas because the once-employed demanded a living wage.

Good deficits, on the other hand, are those that help America maintain her military erection. Deficits are to the Pentagon as Viagra is to the fifty-something male. Here are a few examples of good deficits:

1. B-52 bombers consume 47,000 gallons of jet fuel per mission per plane, leaving a contrail of red ink in their wake.
2. When an F-16’s afterburner kicks in it burns through $300 worth of jet fuel per minute as red ink pours out of its exhaust.
3. The Afghan War is costing us $57,077.60 per minute to lose. I’d say we’re up to our keisters in red ink on that one.
4. A contributing factor to that cost is that the “fully-burdened cost” of pumping a gallon of gasoline in Afghanistan is $400. All those tanks, Humvees and other vehicles are blowing red ink out their exhaust pipes.

However, according to both Republicans and Democrats, these are good deficits because they are “feel-good” expenditures. Being a military superpower is such an ego trip that our leaders are loathe to give it up so the funds being burnt up on a useless war could be diverted to relieve the ever growing suffering on the home front.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to float in Never-Never Land while the Pentagon leads him around by the nose, and Sen. Reid comes up with even more creative ways to wimp out less he incur the wrath of America’s Rabid Right.

Our children may go hungry; more and more tent cities will spring up as more homes are lost, but, by God, both the Pentagon and its military contractors will continue to prosper. And nobody, but nobody seems willing to make the connection between domestic suffering and the money being wasted on an useless and unnecessary war.

Go figure.