Rep. Billy Long (R-7) seems bemused about how
physically large the U.S. budget document is:
FY2012 hit my desk, 4 Volumes – Budget – Historical Tables – Analytical Perspectives – Appendix & it weighs more than any Bass I ever caught
If you go to his Web page, however, you will better understand his apparent surprise that a sophisticated, powerful country with a population north of 300 million people might need more than a three page budget. That good ol’ Billy, who’s been on a budget cutting spree with his GOP homeboys, is a man of few words is readily apparent in the section devoted to his views on spending cuts and debt which reads in its entirety:
Spending Cuts and Debt affect us all and dealing with these issues are important to my work in Congress.
Is this what people mean by “laconic”? In case you think he dealt with the issue elsewhere, here’s Billy on the related topic of the economy and jobs – and, I assure you, there’s no more than this:
The issues of Economy and Jobs are important to our district and to my work in Congress.
Billy may not know all the facts – or any of the facts – but he does seem to want to keep quiet about it. Not so Vicky Hartzler (R-4) who had this to say about President Obama’s 2012 budget:
Citizens of the 4th District want their government to cut spending and help create jobs, … This budget proposal fails these tests in every respect. We’ve got to do better for our children and grandchildren.
Somebody ought to tell her what John Boehner acknowledged today – the budget cuts that the House – including little Vicky – wants to enact will cost mucho jobs*. And what’s worse, Boehner admitted that he and, presumably, his rank-and-file GOP House members, don’t really care. Vicky ought to check in with her leadership now and then. At the very least, she needs to know what it is she owes to the children and grandchildren, doesn’t she?
And while Vicky’s working on her attitude, she ought to have a word with Rep. Akin (R-2) who seems to be reading from the same script. I suspect if I were to visit the pages of the rest of our House GOP members, I would find statements that indicate that these folks are all equally careless about the nature of the real world and the role of finance.
After all, the incessant GOP babble about “fiscal reality” is coming from people who went after the 2011 budget like a troop of blind-folded axe murderers. If enacted, their proposed cuts would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and put vastly more vulnerable people at risk.
In fact, the Center for American Progress (CAP) tells us that the House Appropriations Committee shoe-horned a hack-job on the budgets of 12 of the 15 federal agencies into a two week period. This time frame means that:
… not only will those voting on the proposal have little opportunity to understand it but the authors themselves will not have fully vetted or completely understood what they are proposing. There have been no hearings, no requests for testimony, and no opportunity even for staff charged with proposing the cuts to do agency-by-agency analysis of the possible negative consequences. Members will vote next week on the package without fundamental knowledge of how major budget changes in literally thousands of federal programs will impact the country in general or their own constituents in particular.
Then, of course, there is the fact that the cuts, although plenty destructive, don’t really amount to a hill of beans when it comes to deficit cutting:
The $44 billion that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is insisting we take out of the domestic spending is “peanuts.” With a $1.5 trillion deficit it could be lost as a rounding error. But applied to only a selected sliver of the entire budget it could do immense damage to critically needed government infrastructure and services.
There is also the fact that in many of the agencies these cuts will mostly result in personnel cuts – CAP gives the example of the FBI – where termination costs will wipe out most of the savings, not to mention the expense that will be incurred when displaced stafff move onto the unemployment rolls. But, oh frabjous day, the hatchet job will have the effect of rendering agencies like the FBI nearly toothless.
I’ve read that ol’ Billy Long is sitting back and savoring the pleasures of a job completed in regard to the 2011 budget the House has produced: “we got her done” he is quoted as saying. I wonder if he and the rest of the gang has any idea what it is they’ve actually done? Are our elected GOP officials even capable of a process that, as CAP puts it, “insures we all understand what we are cutting and what benefits and costs of those cuts will be”? Yet indications are that these same thickwits are aching to shut the government down in the name of budget cuts the impact or effectiveness of which they don’t begin to fully fathom – all so some Tea Partiers can make a “dramatic statement.”
* Link added to TPM article describing the scope of job loss.