Friday, March 27, 2009

Public service: A summary of the GOP budget proposal

The 19 page GOP budget proposal is here. One annoyance which we should be able to avoid in the short term is the spectacle of lawmakers whining that 'I haven't had time to read it' when they pop up to discuss the document on the news shows. It's a pamphlet, only nineteen pages including the cute little graphics. To anyone used to government boilerplate, this is a really fast read, and for the rest of you, it's a medium fast read. Don't be intimidated by those nineteen dense pages, however; it's easier than you might think. Take a look.

Page 1: Cover page. Midnight blue. Very tasteful. Page count 0

Page 2: A letter to the American people. 18 point type allows a couple of lines about your dissipating retirement savings to fill half a page. Then begins a very abbreviated Executive Summary, the type George Bush was so fond of. The bullet points are shown, with theme 1 and the first two bullets closing out the page. If you're keeping score, there are three budget themes: 'Curbs spending', 'Creates Jobs/Lowers Taxes' (I know, but they insisted on three), and 'Controls Debt'. Pretty good themes, eh? Page count .75

Page 3: Why, it's the other four bullet points. Here is bullet 3, 'Lowers Taxes', which is the most important bullet of them all. "Instead of raising taxes on all Americans in the midst of a recession, Republicans seek to reduce the tax burden on working families and small businesses, in order to create jobs and unlock private capital." The page finishes up with signatures from Boehner et al. You'll be pleased to know that page three includes the first of many pictures of circles linked with lines in a strikingly non-causal relationship. And it takes up a lot of space. Page count .5

Page 4: Another cover page. For theme one. Page count 0

Page 5: Limiting the budget. Obama's budget is big, real big, and it's irresponsible, and furthermore, do you know where that money goes? "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'."
The 'Republican solution', in two short paragraphs, is to not spend that money. If this was my pamphlet, I would call that an 'alternative' rather than a 'solution', since there's no bonus points for consistency. A nice chunk of space rounds out the page. Page count .75

Page 6: Health care and entitlements. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going broke, and while the cost goes through the roof, you're going to see your bureaucratically controlled health care go to hell. "Consider 12-year-old Deamonte Driver who literally died in 2007 from a tooth infection—the result of months-long waits for care in Maryland’s Medicaid program." A full page of text, but not a hint of any GOP ideas. Page count 1

Page 7: Another full page of the misery that awaits you. ("It is a death sentence for me. I feel absolutely gutted because there is no way I can find that sort of money. My life is dependent on getting this drug and without it I will die…") Whew! That quote was from a citizen of England, but that doesn't mean it won't happen here. GOP ideas 0. Page count 1

page 8: The welcome return of the circle line pictures, and their trusty side-kick 'blank space'. And 'Republican solutions' so vaporous as to be easily inhalable - health care tax incentives, more quality, the right to buy insurance across state lines, and the ever popular "penalties for trial lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits". None of which would seem to do much for those failing entitlement programs that they just spent two of their valuable pages on. Just saying. But there is a reluctant recognition of the growing disparity in living standards - "Republicans support the notion that wealthy seniors like Warren Buffett and George Soros can afford to pay $2 per day more for their Medicare prescription drug coverage." Page count .6

Page 9: Yay! Cover page, point two. Page count 0

Page 10: Lower taxes. You might have heard about this page on the news, because it has an actual proposal on it - tax cuts! with a top rate of 25% (down from 38%), fix the Alternate Minimum tax, and for God's sake, cut those capital gains, whydoncha? Oh yeah, and some new business tax cuts. And no more death tax either. You might think that since this is an actual proposal, there would be something in here about how to pay for that, but come on, this pamphlet only has nine pages left to go, give me a break. Page count 1

Page 11: Keeps energy costs low. Exhausted from composing the previous page, the GOP falls back on their standard boilerplate about what energy dicks the Dems are, even including the old chestnut about how Senator Kennedy doesn't want any windmills where he sails. And the Dems will increase your energy cost by $3,128 a year. Page count 1

Page 12: Not kidding, the Dems will increase your energy costs $3,128 friggin dollars a year. Followed by a nice chunk of blank space. Followed by the 'Republican solution'. Does anybody remember the phrase 'Drill baby drill'? Nuclear power is pretty swell too. Page count .75

Page 13: Oh yeah, oil shale. And that'll do it. Page 13 includes the very best of the circle and line pictures, going all the way down before veering off to the right. One of the circles has an oil rig inside it, and one has a solar panel. Page count .2

Page 14: Cover page, point three. Page count 0

Page 15: End the bailouts / Reform the financial system. Fannie and Freddie broke the economy, with the aid of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. And Jimmy Carter, way back in 1977, with his Community Reinvestment Act, and then, I dunno, things got crazy and there was this TARP, and the blunt truth is that the Feds can't afford to keep saving everybody. Page count 1

Page 16: What I just said, cause "If losses are socialized, it is likely that profits will soon be as well, meaning Americans will no longer be free, not just to fail, but to succeed." 'Republican solution': Here is a guaranteed winner - "Ensure that this crisis never occurs again". And we need less control (i.e. regulation) of financial institutions. Put them on their best behavior instead. And no more bailouts. Ever. Page count .75

Page 17: As previously mentioned, Fannie and Freddie are bad, and so are all Government Sponsored Enterprises, so de-charter them, privatize them, and let them fail in the open market place, that's how you reform the financial system. Bonus points: One of the circles has a happy family inside of it. Page count .25

Page 18: Keep the cost of living low. The Fed is printing money like it owns the printing press, and whoa boy, inflation is right around the corner, this is going to be just like Jimmy Carter, maybe even double Jimmy Carter. 'Republican solution': Prevent runaway inflation, and remember "Republicans support maintaining the cost of living after witnessing the booms and busts triggered by loose monetary policy." Page count 1

Page 19: Blank. Back of pamphlet. Page count 0

And that, my friends, is the Republican budget proposal. Actual page count: 9.55, number of main points 3, number of bullets 6, number of circles 27. They must be proud.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the summary. This actually makes it more likely that I'll read that POS lol