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During the last election, I had a conversation with one of my neighbors who had not one, but two “McCain-Palin” signs up in his yard. After attempting to convince me that Obama was an illegitimate Muslim foisted off on us by evil socialist conspirators, he also indicated that he wasn’t so keen on the McCain part of the McCain-Palin pairing. He would vote for McCain as the lesser of two evils, but he reserved his enthusiasm for Palin, a woman who is “just like us everyday people.” The obvious point being that the problem with government was that it was run by elites, the “best and brightest.”

I ask you to consider this point of view in the light of the the following facts:

— When George Bush left office the national debt was close to 11 trillion dollars.

— The biggest drivers of that debt were the Bush tax cuts and the Middle Eastern wars Bush initiated.

— The current debt is nearly 14 trillion dollars

— The biggest  additional driver of the increase in debt is the recession that began in 2008 as a result of the policies of the Bush administration and its GOP congressional cohorts.

— Thanks to a relatively small stimulus, we entered a weak recovery, but a recovery nonetheless.

— After getting all fired-up over the horrifying prospect of health care reform that would actualy cut health care costs, the Tea Party sent a bumper crop of folks “just like themselves” to Washington D.C.

— After only a year of the GOP Tea Party push to stop the very federal spending that was fueling the recovery,  economic growth is sputtering to a stop.

— If we let the Bush tax cuts expire – and we would still have the lowest tax rates  of almost all industrialized nations – we would substantially decrease the deficit.

In the face of facts like these, the “folks just like us” that the Tea Party sent to Washington in 2010 have done nothing but try to scare Americans about a deficit crisis that doesn’t exist instead of addressing our very real jobs crisis, a stance that has culminated in a push for a balanced budget at all costs – a budget balanced solely with spending cuts.

The GOP horror of deficits ignores the fact that folks “just like us” frequently need to borrow money when times are hard. Businesses and families borrow when they need to do so and as long as they borrow wisely and meet their obligations, such borrowing often leads to greater prosperity.  

Our government needs this flexibility as well. Don’t believe me? Consider our current economy which is slowing to a stop in response to decreased federal spending. Or just wait and see what happens when the indiscriminate cuts the GOP has extorted kick in. Better yet for us oldsters, wait until they go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  

Yet Missouri’s Tea Party contingent and the rest of the state’s GOP – spineless fools who got swept up in the flood of Tea Party bombast – doubled down and took the full faith and credit of the U.S. hostage in order to secure our economic downfall, a budget slashed via means of a knife held at the throat of a hostage economy. Consider the way our smug, down-home, “just like us” Missouri Tea Party congresspersons mindlessly regurgitate the balanced budget talking points, no matter how deeply discredited they may be among real economists:

Vicky Hartzler:

There is so much talk in Washington of the need for a “balanced approach” to our budget situation. America does not need a “balanced approach;” it needs a “balanced budget!”

Billy Long (R-7):

We don’t need a balanced approach, we need a balanced budget,” Long said. “While the party of Obamacare is busy lecturing Republicans on bipartisanship, Republicans have provided yet another common sense solution to tackle our country’s debt and get our fiscal house in order

Todd Akin:

Conservatives have stood their ground which has produced a new proposal that will now address the fundamental problem facing our nation.  Reckless deficit spending is putting us on a path to ruin.  A balanced budget amendment to our Constitution is the only proposal I have seen that would fix that fundamental problem.

Heard enough? As it was put in the French newspaper, Le Figaro:

The American politicians supposed to lead the most powerful nation in the world are becoming a laughing stock.

I’d laugh too, but I’m trying to figure out how to weather a double-dip recession at the same time that these goons are gutting our social safety net.

Would it have been any worse for those of us in the middle and working class if the Democrats had faced the terrorists down and let the economy default? Only time will tell. What I do know, though, is that I’m pretty sure that in the future I want the best and brightest running my government, not folks just like the worst of us.