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The Pot and the Kettle

It’s kind of funny.  As I’m writing this, I realize that, this blog didn’t start out as a conservative-bashing forum.  I also didn’t previously identify myself as a Democrat or liberal.  While I still won’t declare myself as a Democrat, I do now proudly proclaim myself liberal.  I have backed into this position over the last few years of listening to Republicans and conservatives spout nonsense that they say is in my best interest.  The scary thing is that I live in the “heartland of America.”  This is code for conservative hell.  I am basically behind enemy lines.  Maybe I should change the name of this blog…just a thought.  This post is a discussion of some of the hypocrisies that have driven me to this point.

I’ll start with the thing we are all so very sick of hearing about:  healthcare reform.  I’m not talking about whether it’s good or not, I’m more concerned with the outrage that all of the conservatives have about it.  You may have heard in passing that Republicans were the first group to suggest many of the reforms that the current law has implemented.  This is a fact that conservatives have glossed over every time I have heard it mentioned.  What everyone is talking about is the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993 (HEART Act).  This bill looks very similar to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  In fact, a look at the areas covered in the two bills leave only a handful of differences.  The most notable differences include the fact that the PPACA included the expansion of Medicaid, eliminated lifetime limits on coverage, and extended coverage for children up to the age of 26.  What is did include was an individual mandate.  What I find most interesting is that the HEART Act was sponsored by a Republican, Senator John H. Chafee.  I’ll go one step further – it had 20 co-sponsors.  Of those 20, 18 were Republicans!  Notable names on the list include Arlen Specter (when he was Republican), Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, and Bob Dole.  So this party, which is screaming that the United States as we know it has ended because of the PPACA, is actually responsible for the first proposal of the majority of the PPACA’s provisions.  Did you know this?  I mean really understand.  Think about it before you cast that vote in November.  The same people telling you that they will “protect your freedoms” are actually the ones to originally propose the very legislation about which you are complaining.
So we move on the economy.  If I never hear the words spending or deficit again I could die a happy man.  I keep hearing conservatives (which I use interchangeably with Republicans for the purpose of this post) talk about how spending is out of control and we can’t keep running these kinds of deficits.  My response is usually related to the fact that our country runs on Keynesian economics.  For those of you who don’t know what this means, here is an overly basic run-down:  run deficits during a recession and surpluses during a boom.  What I don’t usually get into is the hypocrisy that exists when Republicans are in power versus the times that they are not in power.  While I’m sure I can go into multiple examples of this…I’ll stick with words from the elephant’s mouth.  In a meeting with the Secretary of the Treasury in 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney was warned that the extreme budget deficits of that time were threatening the economy.  According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Cheney told him that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”  He continued by saying, “We won the midterms [congressional elections]. This is our due.”  Sooooo, they matter now?  Just not during the Reagan and Bush administrations?  Oh, I forgot, they earned that right by convincing the voters that they would actually work to improve their lives.  It’s their “due.”  
The last issue is the one something I have been hearing constantly since the Ron Paul bandwagon started to roll – The Constitution.  According to most of the conservatives I know, everything Obama has done since he took office has been unconstitutional…including the fact that he took office!  Try getting into a debate with a conservative about the merits of Obama’s term without his ethnic background or religion being questioned.  But, I digress…we will talk about the Constitutionality of Obama’s actions.  The healthcare debate doesn’t take much discussion.  It’s been before the Supreme Court, and the PPACA has been found Constitutional.  Unless anyone has the training and experience to refute the opinions of the five justices who determined that this was Constitutional (Including Justice Roberts – shocking), then all of your arguments are immediately moot. 
So let’s look at some other issues.  We’ll start with the mild uproar over the action in Libya.  People claimed that Obama’s decision to strike Libya without Congressional approval was unconstitutional.   This is a slightly more complicated matter.  First, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the military.  Congress is granted sole authority to declare war.  How many conflicts have we been in that weren’t actually declared a war?  So they were pissed because he did it without their permission.  Get over it.  Complicating this further is the fact that we never sent troops into Libya.  The surgical strikes used in the action managed to rid the world of a tyrant without the cost of American soldiers.  Dare I mention – John McCain is even quoted as saying, “I think the administration deserves great credit…Obviously, I had different ideas on the tactical side, but the world is a better place.”
On the other side of the coin, we have the Patriot Act.  This legislation was passed in 2001 and signed into law by President Bush a month and a half after the 9/11 attacks.  Basically, it reduces the requirements necessary for law enforcement to gather intelligence on people in the United States.  Here are some scary provisions:
Ø  A search can be executed without a warrant if an FBI agent provides a National Security Letter – and a gag order is instituted on the ISP’s, banks, credit card companies, and phone companies who must turn over the information!
Ø  Section 215 of the act allows the government to obtain records by simply showing “relevance” to a terrorism of espionage investigation.  Notice that I didn’t say “probable cause” as is defined in the Fourth Amendment.
Ø  “John Doe” roving wiretaps can be issued which do not name a target, place, or facility to be monitored.  (Senator Rand Paul’s Letter of Opposition to the Patriot Act)
So do the people that are so worried about the constitutionality of the PPACA have anything to say?  I see days of uproar over a tax and healthcare issue, but the government can get a blank ticket to spy on anyone they want without a warrant?  However, we’re not hearing about this right now because it was championed by a conservative.  You had better believe that, if Obama had introduced this legislation, we would be hearing about how he was turning the U.S. into a police state where no one would have any freedom. 
This list could go on forever…conservatives want a smaller government, but they want to enforce their religious beliefs on the rest of us, etc.  But I’d like to get this posted so I’ll end with a thought.  One of our greatest founding fathers, George Washington, warned us to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism,” in his farewell address.  What would you consider an imposture?  A group pretending to be morally outraged by legislation that they proposed themselves originally?  The same group crying out that we can’t handle the deficits that two of their own administrations ran?  The very same group that claims that the President has been acting unconstitutionally while they have passed a law that defies the people their constitutional rights?  All of this is being done in an effort to convince the people that they are the true patriots of our country.  While we seem to have forgotten most of what Washington warned us about, I implore you to heed his advice. 


2 thoughts on “The Pot and the Kettle

  1. First Bush was not a conservative. His education bill with Ted Kennedy, His prescription drug plan and his overall spending prove this.A conservative, at least in my opinion, is someone interested in individual liberty and rights with minimal government intrusion. The Patriot Act in many ways I find just as appalling and offensive as Obamacare. Both trample on the constitution and individual liberties and choice.As far as the U.S. being an economy of Keysian Economics, this is not true. Various economic theories have been used in our nation’s history, but free market capitalism is the reason for our prosperity as a nation. Our current economic failure is the blame of both Republicans and Democrats that put forth policies to stifle free market principles. Too often they enact legislation or policies that cause businesses and individuals to act in ways not consistent with good judgments based on markets, but instead based on taking advantaged of some government incentive or tax policy. Deficits and spending do matter whether under Reagan, Bush, Obama or any other administration. Basic economics teaches that federal deficits are funded by selling of national debt this in turn eventfully increases the money supply and causes inflation which is the greatest hidden tax. Also with QE1 and QE2 the money supply has already been significantly increased. A major worry of an economic recovery is inflation. The fact is the final year of Bush and all of the Obama administration has produced the largest deficits as a percentage of GDP. This can be a serious consequence of out of control spending. I have lived through double digit inflation and interest. Believe me we do not want to go thru that again.

    Posted by Hal Gambrel | July 3, 2012, 10:13 pm
  2. I don’t disagree with what your theory of a conservative is. In fact, you make my point about how prominent conservative politicians are hypocrites. How can they shout so loudly about government intrusion and be responsible for the very intrusion that they are condemning? Keynesian economics actually work hand-in-hand in an capitalistic economy. We have seen it happen in our major times of recession and depression. While people will argue about the actual impact of the New Deal on the Great Depression, not many will dispute that a major factor involved with the recovery after the Great Depression was World War II. The war put people to work and enlisted a lot of people in the military. My guess would be that the reason for the recovery had a little to do with both the war and the fact that people were put to work in the New Deal. All of this amounted to spending. That is Keynesian economics in action. The same principle applies with the recent recession. The federal workforce has grown in the last few years as people have been put to work. The rest of the spending was an effort to stabilize companies in the hopes that companies would be able to save jobs and homes. Unfortunately, greedy executives chose to use the money poorly. Either way, it is another example of Keynesian economics in practice. Now, the recovery isn’t going as well as people want, but that is very likely a result of the fact that the amount of spending wasn’t high enough. In fact, some prominent economists even said that the amount needed to be higher. If we needed more proof, we can look at Europe. Europe was resistant to use bailout funds to directly support their banks. Recently they reversed that decision because they were in such a desperate situation that they knew they couldn’t continue to allow their banks to fail. I agree with you that inflation is a risk with recovery periods. The way to keep inflation in check with by running a surplus when we are fully engaged in a growth period. Right now the markets are still very unstable and need to be supported. When we reach a true period of growth we need to be running a surplus, but that time is not now. Ultimately though, you actually supported my argument. Conservatives are guilty of the very things that they are trying to convince the American people that they will save them from. The problem is that too many people are falling for their hypocrisy and lies.

    Posted by Sho'nuff | July 3, 2012, 11:46 pm

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