An Act of National Suicide by David R. Tolson

I could smell the singed manuscript of Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda handbook as the Tea Party inspired Conservatives rode a wave of public anger to re-securing the House of Representatives on Tuesday. He, Goebbels, must be dancing on those hot coals right now. Hyperbole aside, this may be the cleverest campaign that any political party has ever waged: The Republicans offered suicide to the electorate and peddled it as a remedy to their ills. In what can only be described as the lambs being led to the slaughter, the American public has returned the same gangsters to power that unleashed the seven deadly plagues from the bottomless pit. If the election of Barack Obama renewed my faith in the electoral process; November 2nd demonstrated that democracy is, at best, an illusion, and at worst, it may be a prelude to this country’s ruin.

The historians of the future will examine twenty-ten America and declare that it was the most gullible society that the world had ever seen. My good friend Mike calls this age the tailgate generation: “Americans are more interested in sipping a beer over a barbeque grill and discussing whether their home sporting team will make the playoffs, than they are in taking time to determine what the elected officials on Capitol Hill are doing to destroy this country.” We have C-Span 1, C-Span 2, and C-Span 3, which gives us uninterrupted coverage of the theft that is taking place in America in broad daylight, yet the American public has entered into another unsavory agreement with the same larcenists who have mortgaged this country to the brink of insolvency.

The cliché, “follow the money,” is as old as the first legal tender, but it rings truer today than ever. The Tea Party is the latest in a long list of con artists who have promised the public that they would reign in the government’s insatiable appetite for spending. Every president since Ronald Reagan has pledged to harness the pork-fest on Capitol Hill. Congress responded in 1985 with the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which called for automatic cuts in discretionary spending when certain deficit-reduction targets were not met. Notwithstanding Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, Reagan nearly tripled the public debt from a little less than $1 trillion when he entered the White House to $2.8 trillion by the time he left office in 1989.

Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush, continued the unrestrained spending and increased the government’s debt by an additional $1.6 trillion dollars to $4.4 trillion by the time he left office in 1993. Bill Clinton also campaigned on the promise to reduce government spending, and despite an increase in the National debt of approximately $1.3 trillion during his eight years in office, his second term saw a significantly reduced rate of deficit spending. And by 2000, he had balanced the budget and during his final year as President, he had a surplus.

Now enters President George W. Bush.

During President Bush’s two terms, the national debt soared from $5.7 trillion to $12 trillion; a number that is mind boggling. If the $6.3 trillion in deficit spending that accrued under Bush were seconds, the clock would tick for more than 200,000 years. These numbers are truly astonishing and cannot be properly grasped by the average human mind.

In summary, Presidents Reagan and both Bushes were involved in a masterpiece of reckless spending. And in order to truly appreciate the financial chaos that Barack Obama inherited from Bush 43, you must also weigh the fact that in addition to the $12 trillion in debt that he was saddled with; the Ill-advised war in Iraq, the financial collapse, the mortgage crisis and the near meltdown of the automobile industry all converged during his (Bush’s) administration and was the starting point for President Obama.

It does not take Albert Einstein to recognize the pattern that has emerged under Republican administrations, Republican controlled Congresses and Republican controlled Houses during the last 30 years – spend recklessly and call it national security: Reagan gave us Star Wars; Bush 41 gave us the first Gulf War; and George W. outperformed his two predecessors with the War on Terror, Tax cuts for the super rich, a furtive energy policy that produced $5 per gallon gasoline, and a bailout of the financial and automobile industries. If these men were CEOs to any of the fortune-50 corporations, they would have been dismissed for dereliction of duties and possibly prosecuted by the shareholders for failing their fiduciary responsibilities.

My spiritual leader once told me, “If the dog bites you once, it is the dog’s fault, but if he bites you twice, it’s yours.” But I guess I should not have expected any less from a voting public that gets its news from a Fox, who, by the way, now owns the keys to the hen-House.

 

 

David R. Tolson

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