Wednesday, November 10, 2010


You can almost never get the Tea-Partiers to tell you their definition of waste.  The problem you see is that ferreting out waste in government is sort of like shopping for antiques.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  No politician wants to offend a potential voter who might believe that all day kindergarten is an absolute necessity for future generations of Texas while another believes it is wasteful and an intrusion into family responsibility of training children at home.  It seems that not having learned from past experience on this point, Americans are buying wholesale into the Tea Party line that we can balance the budget and cut taxes all at the same time.  

When challenged to define what they would cut, the best you will get out of any of them is the old saw about putting everything on the table, looking it over and then making the decision about what to cut.  Although I cannot predict the future, I can promise you without fear of being proven wrong that if sufficient cuts are made in Texas’ budget to balance it without any new revenue measures, you will be unhappy with the results.

Buying into the Tea Party line that we can balance the budget and cut taxes is sort of like buying an automobile based solely on its low cost.  Imagine for a moment that you go to the Tea Party Automobile dealership, attracted by the advertisement that the lowest cost transportation is available.  While shopping for autos you discover that accessories for the automobile are an unknown factor. 

What if you didn’t know, for example, whether or not the automobile had air bags, a spare tire, mileage estimate, a radio, CD player, heat or air conditioning, electronic turn signals, a gas gauge, windshield wipers, cruise control, adjustable seats, power steering, power brakes, a sun roof, windshield washers, 8 cylinders, 6 cylinders, 4 cylinders or two, a warranty?--How about trunk space for luggage, or outside rearview mirrors.

In today’s climate, most Americans would not seriously consider buying an automobile not knowing whether any of the above-listed items came with the car. And yet it seems several million of our fellow citizens are quite willing to buy into the Tea Party line of eliminating all waste in government without knowing what the Tea Partiers consider wasteful.  
Trusting a car salesman who only a short time ago sold you a lemon is very much akin to trusting the Republicans/Tea Partiers who financed two wars off the books, kowtowed to special interests, drove up our deficit by tax breaks for the very rich and now say “trust us; we will define waste as we go along.”  
While I would consider maintaining social security at my age a necessity, I’m not sure a 35 year old healthy Republican would take the same view.  Cancer research to a victim of breast cancer might be a necessity, but to a healthy young man, it could quite well be an expenditure we don’t need to make right now.  
Isn’t it strange how quiet George Bush supporters are now about his attempts to privatize social security.  Unfortunately, they are the same individuals who now want to criticize our president and Democrats in Congress for putting consumer protections on Wall Street.  How strange that the same advocates for free enterprise who demanded  the government do something to stop the free fall on Wall Street now consider the very same implementation of regulations on the banking industry socialistic.  

It really needles me to see people list as a qualification for holding office that they are not schooled in the art of politics, have never held an office and have never really participated in the functions of government.  Trusting a person who makes such boasts with important leadership positions is like shopping for a car, or buying a car, from a fellow who doesn’t know a carburetor from a transmission.  To buy a car from a fellow who professes to love horses and buggies better than automobiles is much the same as putting a guy in charge of government who expresses hatred for the institution. 

We, as voters, should never forget that while good motives, honesty are essential qualifications for leadership in a democratic society, we should not overlook  the importance of selecting well educated, visionary and compassionate individuals to guide our local governments, state and nation.

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