Friday, March 27, 2009

Bubbles will save us

So I finally got a look at this here Republican "budget" (which you can download here--it's not a big file *snicker*), and it really is as funny as people have been saying. Some part of me assumed they were exaggerating, but no. The bubble diagrams are really there. Some of them have seemingly random pictures inside. I think my favorite is the picture of a shop window saying "Yes we are OPEN" linked to the picture of stacks of cash money. Both in nice little blue circles. So cogent is the Republican economic vision that it doesn't even need words.

I forget who said that this was like what would happen if The Onion came out with a budget, but they were absolutely right. I can't believe it. No wonder Eric Cantor is leaking to the press that he thought this was a lousy idea from the start. I'm half-surprised it's still prominently displayed on the party website; most everybody must be running, not walking, away from this thing.

I mean:

I also found this bit to be pretty rich. From the "curbs spending" bubble section:

Who are the recipients of such largesse? International organizations and foreign aid recipients, including millions for reconstruction in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Labor union bosses participating in a new “green jobs” program. The National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Americorps, Title X Family Planning, and a host of spending programs that will do nothing to help our economy recover. And even community organizers, such as ACORN, performing “neighborhood stabilization.” Hundreds of programs deemed ineffective by prior Administrations are funded, despite promises from the President to go “line by line” to examine each program’s effectiveness.

Labor union bosses participating in a new green jobs program! Community organizers funded by the government! Outrageous! (How do you like the little shoutout to ACORN paranoiacs?) More seriously, I will grant that reasonable people can in fact disagree over the legitimacy or necessity of the NEA (though I am certainly a fan), and that every President does promise to eliminate wasteful spending and not much ever happens (because this is more complicated and difficult than people appreciate, and because "wasteful spending" of this kind does not actually come to that much money in the context of Social Security, the Pentagon, etc). However, most of the other programs cited here with such righteous rancor, while potentially debatable on other grounds, are pretty unimpeachable when it comes to stimulating our economy. Title X Family Planning would have been one of the best possible additions to the stimulus; it helps women avoid unwanted and expensive pregnancies, and believe me the money for the subsidized birth control would have been spent right quick. PBS, community organizations, etc. are keeping a lot of people employed with those federal dollars. I could go on, but for god's sake I'm arguing with the bubble people.

The next paragraph was what actually made me laugh.

In addition to securing our nation’s major entitlements, by enacting common-sense reforms and weeding out waste, fraud, and abuse, Republicans propose to undo the recent reckless and wasteful Democrat spending binge included in the so-called “stimulus” and omnibus bills. In addition, Republicans would cut overall nondefense spending by reforming or eliminating a host of wasteful programs deemed ineffective by various government entities. And Republicans would fully fund our ongoing commitments overseas while devoting the entirety of any savings from reduced fighting to deficit reduction, rebuilding our military, and funding our commitment to
our veterans.

See what we did there? We are going to stop spending money on everything but the military, which is of course not at ALL a fiscal giant on par with entitlement programs, certainly not ever wasteful (what are you IMPLYING?!), and in no way overlaps with the foreign aid and assistance programs denounced as wasteful and unnecessary in the previous paragraph. Did you notice how fully funding the "ongoing commitments" (which I am assuming, with the air of a desperate person clinging to a raft at sea, would include said foreign aid and development, since those are commitments and I hope we actually don't want to piss off more or less the entire world) will lead to reduced fighting, which will lead to savings, which we will use the military? Which beast should we be starving here?

This whole document gives me the sense of a mad--yet prim--old lady aunt who has very strong opinions about very, very crazy things, but is also quite the pearl-clutcher should you mention reality. Oh, and I guess she has some graphics skills, what with the bubbles and all. Hilzoy and Steve Benen have more.

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