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Intro: "Republicans portray themselves as champions of fiscal responsibility. But as Michael Tomasky argues, they need the debt to push through their radical and unpopular agenda."

GOP Senators Orin Hatch and Mitch McConnell spaek to reporters on Capitol Hill, 06/29/11. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
GOP Senators Orin Hatch and Mitch McConnell spaek to reporters on Capitol Hill, 06/29/11. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

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+59 # Kayjay 2011-07-05 14:47
Many kudos to Tomasky in shining the spotlight on the radical right's hypocrisy over the debt. The GOP's behavior on domestic issues which affect everyone at home is based on FEAR. But instead of dropping bombs overseas to allay our fears, the republican rats are sawing off entitlement lifelines for the poor, whilst enriching the favored one percent. Unfortunately.. . fear works. Fear laden messages are easy to understand and resonate with the many. Hopefully , Tomasky's message will become a rallying point to turn the tide for the middle class.
+43 # DPM 2011-07-05 15:14
Hallelujah! I am sending this to as many people as are in my mailbox. Everyone should do the same.
-67 # Robt Eagle 2011-07-05 15:15
Tomasky's rant isn't even worth a comment by the liberals on this site. Great!
+29 # granny 2011-07-05 15:36
And on what planet do you reside?
+10 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2011-07-05 21:57
Quoting granny:
And on what planet do you reside?

Granny, this undercover "KochTeaRethug" live in a dimension of the "Twilight Zone," that was never mentioned Rod Serling in the opening credits; it's called the "Clueless Sector."
+9 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2011-07-05 22:01
Quoting Robt Eagle:
Tomasky's rant isn't even worth a comment by the liberals on this site. Great!

So hit the road you KochBaggerRethu glican! Go back to your own losers' blogsites and bore each other to death with your lies.
+26 # h.m.sutton 2011-07-05 15:27
Gee, why are we just discovering this! It's been obvious since Obama came into office. The nonsense came about when he started to think they were going to cooperate. No way! They wanted to make him a failure--and have to a large degree have done exactly that. Just look at the last election which brought a bunch of radical idiots into congress. How dumb can the Dems get? Well, let's see what stupidity they will demonstrate in the next election! The Repubs have been spinning their bullshit for two years and the Dems are doing a typical lousy job of countering their spin. Yes, as usual they will do so way too late in the program. Disgusting!
+51 # wwway 2011-07-05 15:30
Of course they love the debt! They created it so they can destroy public funding of everything from schools to roads. Do you know who's going to continue to pay taxes for nothing in return so that the rich don't have to? The Chickens who voted for Col. Sanders. The middle class Americans who voted Republican all these years.
+38 # Barbara K 2011-07-05 15:40
The Republibaggers think we are all as stupid as their followers and will blame Obama for what they have done themselves. The Rs are the cause of what is happening today. Their own stated goal was to make Obama a one term president. This is the most intelligent president we have had for a long time, and we need to appreciate that fact. This bunch of idiots are throwing us off the cliff with gramma and acting like the bunch of spoiled children they are just to make our economy as bad as they can possibly make it, and they've been doing that for the past 2 1/2 years. The Rs have done absolutely nothing, not one single thing to HELP US, they've only helped the wealthy and big corps, and don't give a crap about the people who pay their wages, insurance and retirement, while they deny the same things for us. We must dump the Rs if we want to save ourselves and this country, and the sooner the better.
+25 # futhark 2011-07-05 19:30
I think that Jimmy Carter was the last really sane and intelligent president we have had. It's just too bad that he was too ethical to run the kind of exploitive "feel good now" campaign that got Reagan into the White House.
+34 # angelfish 2011-07-05 15:45
Good ol' boy, Mitch "Aunt Blabby" McConnell has made it plain and clear, their SOLE purpose and goal of this entire first four years of President Obama's tenure is to see him FAIL. Idiot that he is, he doesn't CARE that if the President fails, so do WE! The ReTHUGs are TOO dumb to LIVE! They have pandered to the Fanatical Religious Right-Wing Nuts as well as their Mega-Wealthy "Puppet-Masters " hoping to defeat sanity and reason. Thankfully, there are many MORE of US SANE and REASONABLE folks to vote their sorry A**es OUT come Election Day 2012!
+4 # nadine 2011-07-06 20:07
Quoting angelfish:
Good ol' boy, Mitch "Aunt Blabby" McConnell has made it plain and clear, their SOLE purpose and goal of this entire first four years of President Obama's tenure is to see him FAIL. Idiot that he is, he doesn't CARE that if the President fails, so do WE! The ReTHUGs are TOO dumb to LIVE! They have pandered to the Fanatical Religious Right-Wing Nuts as well as their Mega-Wealthy "Puppet-Masters" hoping to defeat sanity and reason. Thankfully, there are many MORE of US SANE and REASONABLE folks to vote their sorry A**es OUT come Election Day 2012!

Just have to say THANK YOU angelfish! I do so hope you're correct
+35 # Saberoff 2011-07-05 15:46
This is a much needed, precisely true, well stated article. We need more clarification like this, from good writers. We need to get this message out to our friends, families and neighbors. The time has come to fight, even as it means our own discomfort for a while. Resist the bastards!
+14 # Still_Standing 2011-07-05 16:45
I guess what scares me most is the thought of Obama standing between seniors and the Republican marauders. Given his spineless, craven inability to lead and his endless proclivity for capitulating, what hope can any of us have?
+11 # camus11 2011-07-05 16:49
all true--obviously [it has been obvious for years]. So, why are Obama and the dems continuing to be the gop'ers chief enablers? The gop'ers are only being the evil fascists they have been since Reagan, and the dems encourage them so which party is worse?
+15 # sherry svec 2011-07-05 16:53
Read Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine' it says it all.
+20 # in deo veritas 2011-07-05 16:53
The turkey in the picture looks like he has just been presented with an arrest warrant. Just what he and the rest of the corporate fascists deserve!
+20 # D12345 2011-07-05 16:54
Well written. Remember David Stockman....Rea gan's guy, who said the whole supply side thing, cut taxes etc was designed to bankrupt the social programs.

What is very discouraging is that Obama conceded all of the Bush tax cuts in exchange for partial paltry unemployment benefits....and did not at the time start to make it clear that this would exacerbate the debt situation.

And now he is on to the "Just like your family, the federal govt...etc etc

I would propose that social justice such as it is existed for a brief moment in response to the threat of communism. Since the collapse of the world-wide left, and the new imperialism of globalisation.. ..(not just the raw materials from the 3rd world....also cheap cheap labor)
Since then, the war on the working class, on the middle class is vicious and savage.

Hard times....hard times.
+19 # rm 2011-07-05 17:22
Good Work, Michael. The repbulicans are practicing the classic "shock doctrine" that was the subject of Naomi Klein's book. This was Reagan's plan from the 80s -- defund government to the point that it is dysfunctional and then cut all programs that actually benefit people. As you show, it is a suicide strategy. The republicans are steadily cutting their own throats.

The US is politically totally dysfunctional. It cannot address the real problems it faces because the right wing has created so many fantasies and boogiemen to scare people. We are in the case described exactly by Adam Curtis' "Power of Nightmares." We are scared of shadows like the national debt, unfunded mandates, welfare, social security and so on -- all of which are not problems. The real problem is the cost of empire and the steady reduction in corporate income taxes.

America does not have a financial crisis. The world's dozen or so biggest banks have a financial crisis. They have about 600 to 1000 trillion dollars of bad debt and investments on their books. They are determined to make the governments of the world "re-capitalize them"; that is, buy out all of their bad debts. In order to do that, the living standards of every human on earth will have to go down dramatically. That is what the Republicans and Democrats are committed to doing -- solving the debt crisis of big banks.
+27 # humanmancalvin 2011-07-05 17:46
How much more obvious could the Republicans possibly be that they do not care one iota for the average American citizen? It says plenty that the Red states that are the GOP's staunchest supporters have the least amount of education & are by way of simply just not being too intelligent the most easily led by the propaganda & outright lies that outline the Republicans platforms. When large groups of citizens vote against their own self interest, something the GOP with their lie machine is working & working well. Governing through fear & fabrication are the hallmarks of this group of bought & paid for political group of phony patriots.
Wake up America before it is too late.
+8 # Barbara V. 2011-07-05 18:49
Humanmancalvin: Beautifully said. But it would be miraculous if the Americans in question knew enough to wake up.
+2 # rm 2011-07-06 06:27
humanmancalvin -- it is already too late. Amerians won't wake up. They have been brain damaged by massive psychological warfare operations directed against them. They are nearly brain dead. They will do and think only what they are told. Fear is a very powerful form of psychological torture. Americans have been fear mongered for too long. There is no hope now. They are being moved into the debt peonage and wage slavery. They will work only for their ruling elites and they will militarize and terrorize the rest of the humans on earth.
+27 # Lee Black 2011-07-05 17:48
An unnecessary war in Iraq, a 10 year war in Afghanistan because we went into Iraq instead of finishing up Afghanistan in 2003, 10 years of tax breaks for the wealthy - brought to us by 'fiscally responsible' Republicans.
+9 # futhark 2011-07-05 19:26
Faux conservatives love government debt because it allows them (arms contractors, energy companies, etc.) to suck at the public teat without having to give anything back to the community. It's the same approach they use in "developing" (really, exploiting) depleatable resources like metal ores, petroleum, or coal: get it out of the ground and onto the market as soon as possible and let future generations deal with the consequences... or, once everything is totally exploited and consumed, a magical carpenter from Palestine who died 2000 years ago will come down from the sky and save their butts.

Either approach is totally irresponsible and irrational and is contrary to any possible logical association with the word "conservative".
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2011-07-05 20:39
Why does everyone thing this crap is all new? the only fiscal budget they want balanced is their own payrolls, checking accounts. This Government has been recklessly spending money since Ike!

Only the Federal and State, Local Monies are not theirs. So it is time to put your taxes into escrow...let them eat crow! Where is cheney's gun when you need it?
+4 # BradFromSalem 2011-07-06 08:21

Actually the money belongs to all Americans. When you talk about your family budget, all income is pooled, then split up. First you pay for food, shelter, medical, and expenses related to maintaining an income. Next you make sure each family member has sufficient funds corresponding to their standing as a money earner, chore doer or favorite kid. The last thing you put in your budget is for a howitzer to blow up your neighbor's house.

The US is buying the Howitzers first, keep all the money away from those that have little or no income.

Holding back our taxes will only serve as a reason to point the howitzers at us.
+4 # rm 2011-07-06 05:22
The photograph of two prominent republican senators tells it all. The guy in the foreground looks like the produce of several generations of inbreeding. The guy in the background could be a serial killer. These are the people running the country. God help us!!!
+8 # dkonstruction 2011-07-06 08:28
Debt is a weapon of mass destruction. It always has been. So, how about we stop just complaining and start making practical suggestions about what to do (beyond just voting for someone new which if we read a bit of history we would understand that meaningful social change -- from labor laws to the civil rights legislation etc., etc., only happen when there is an organized mass movement pushing for change.

But, when it comes to "money" how about two basic demands:

1) public employee pension funds should be controlled by the employees and not given over to the investment banks and private money managers. here in nyc the public pension funds have more than $100 billion in assets. Think what we could do with $100 billion. How about pulling all of these funds out of wall street and starting a real community development bank which makes investments by building affordable housing for its members as well as other working class people?

2) how about creating genuine public financial institutions? The state of North Dakota has its own state bank. this means when the state has to borrow monies it borrows from itself and given that it considers itself a pretty good risk it gives itself a decent interest rate. North Dakota is the only state in the union without serious fiscal woes. Think what we could do with public control of public monies!
-2 # boudreaux 2011-07-06 10:23
I am so with you on private banks. This is something that I think we should do, this way we can know who is in charge of our money by who we put in there. The goverment finally is out of the picture.
0 # BradFromSalem 2011-07-06 11:33
But, but; people that work at banks will lose jobs. Who will get the bonuses? And fees for using a bank service will become another tax so the polticians can make people dependent on the public teat. The government will have enough dough to provide health care and aeducation and shelter for the needy and jobs for everyone. Why, some of the people getting all these benefits might even be unlegal immigrants. This is a bad, bad idea. Its almost Communism. Boudreaux, you must be one of those French type people, and the lord almighty only knows what a dkonstruction is!
You is bad, bad people. Busness will show us jobs and even let some of us work at them! The bosses will get lots of money, giving us poor dumb slobs an incentive to work as hard as they do and get a promotion to be a rich boss, so we can play golf all day.

No, no; this is a very, very bad, bad evil, idea.
+2 # dkonstruction 2011-07-06 08:42
Before everyone starts toasting Mr. Tomasky's whatever i would direct people's attention to this line buried near the end of the piece:

"We see it all over the place. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich could have behaved more like other governors around the country who’ve won labor concessions, like New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo".

So, the alternative to Scott Walker is Andrew Cuomo? Sorry folks but this is not a real alternative. Cuomo's budget was the same attack on working people as the ones coming from those that Thomasky sees as the "evil republicans." It also cuts other vital services to the states most needy and vulnerable citizens. It is an outrage and the fact that organized labor and the rest of the working population did not have the power to fight back is a trajedy.

For those not from New York -- the reason Cuomo "needed" "concessions" from labor is that he refused to reinstitute the millionaires tax for the wealthiest New Yorkers and has not called for the state to actually collect the stock tranfer tax that is already on the books. These two things alone would give NY State billions in surplus.

It's time for us to totally reject this kind of "kindler and gentler" austerity from the likes of Mr. Thomasky and the rest of the neoliberal class and propose real alternatives.
+1 # dkonstruction 2011-07-06 09:19
And, before everyone starts toasting Mr. Tomasky, sending him flowers or whatever i would draw people's attention to the following line buried near the end of the piece:

"We see it all over the place. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich could have behaved more like other governors around the country who’ve won labor concessions, like New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo."

So, Andrew Cuomo (and other like-minded neo-liberal democrats) is the alternative? Sorry, Mr. Tomasky, no way.

For those not from NY, the only reason Cuomo "needed" "concessions" was that he refused to restore the state's millionaires tax or to collect the stock transfer tax still on the books. These two things alone would give NYS a huge surplus. So, no Mr. Tomasky, Cuomo-like democrats who call for a "kinder, gentler" austerity is no alternative at all (Mayor Michale Bloomberg is also calling for similar draconian cuts even though the city still has a surplus!).

Cuomo's budget is every bit as much of an attack on working people, the poor, the elderly etc., as what has been proposed by those "evil republicans" that Tomasky decries...and now, Cuomo's big economic development plan for the depressed upstate region is to lift the ban on hydrolic fracturing.

Mr. Tomasky is in fact not proposing any alternative at all.
0 # dkonstruction 2011-07-06 09:54
sorry for the repeat...didn't look like the first one was posting.
+4 # m 2011-07-06 21:58
Well DUH...

How come it has taken this long for anyone out there who calls themselves a Reporter, especially a POLITICAL Reporter who has an actual public commentary outlet to express themselves to thousands, if not millions of readers, to begin to REALIZE AND EXPRESS THE STARK RAVING FACT THAT THE DEFICITS RUN UP UNDER BuSh WERE DELIBERATE..?
After 20 years of trying to Legislate a 'Smaller Government' (impotent government) into existence on behalf of Global Corporate Want and GREED, the Bushie-NeoCON-G OPS--> National Backstabbers and Manipulators, decided to simply drain the treasury into their Global Corporate Sponsors' Pockets, run up massive, overwhelming deficits and hence, STARVE THE GOVERNMENT TO DEATH- i.e.- STARVE THE ENTIRE NEW DEAL, GREAT SOCIETY, MODERN US GOVERNMENT FRAMEWORK TO DEATH, right along with everything created under that framework, Social Security, Medicare, Worker Rights, EPA, OSHA, FDA, You name it... Anything and everything that 'INTERFERES' with Global Corporate Profits. Such as those pesky REGULATIONS and those profit shrinking TAXES and those damned revenue shrinking SOCIAL PROGRAMS.
Its all about GREED.
And its all being sold as the path to prosperity for ALL through 'American' Media which is now almost exclusively owned and exploited by just a very few GLOBAL Corporations for the sake of GLOBAL Corporations.
+2 # VSweet 2011-07-07 08:38
The REPUBLICANS have nothing to LOSE!!

REPUBLICANS are NOT wasting their invested monies in their own businesses....T hey ARE wasting America's dollars they have not contributed their fair share to maintain our NATION financial stability.

If they were not EXEMPT from the many TAX BREAKS they receive as ENTITLEMENTS, they would rethink and refocus their values for our nation with a REAL Budget. If Republicans were locked into the same health care system they place all POOR citizens into, they would rethink and refocus. If the Republicans were TAXED HIGHER for their CORPORATE OWNED businesses in other countries thereby out-sourcing jobs, they would rethink and refocus and increase employment in our Nation they serve as ELECTED OFFICIALS. They would rethink and refocus!

Republicans are HYPOCRITS! They are FORGETTING our NATION is a Melting Pot of Multi-race of people, a land of Plenty, Opportunities, Liberty, Freedom etc.

Albeit, they are trying to undermine and strip away the rights of the poor disadvanted, the unemployed, etc. They will be right here seeing the devestation they are pouring out in our Nation. Only their MISFORTUNES will be WORSE! They will curse themselves!!
-4 # bruce baker 2011-07-07 14:22
Number one, Democrats were the majority party of congress since 2007 and in 2009 and 2010 needed NO republican votes to fix the economy and set a budget, oh ... and where is that budget for the last two years, they kicked it down the road and continue to bet they can point fingers to everyone but themselves to kick it down the road. TWO.. as bad as the republicans screwed up the Bush years, the USA was headed for a recovery in 2006 but we began the downhill fall in 2007, let alone even the hardcore Obamaa/ Democratic pundits are beginning to sound like Constitutional Conservatives as they FINALLY come around to COMMON SENSE and realize the triple deep hole Obama AND Democratic majority CONGRESS put us in. Make up whatever slurs and false facts about how Bush and the GOP sent the USA into economic hell, but in Two years the DEMS have SET A NEW RECORD for ECONOMIC HELL!
+2 # DaveM 2011-07-07 23:07
There is a very simple, though not easy, solution to the fiscal woes which plague this country. And it will not come from government. All that is necessary is for every concern with employees to pay those employees enough that they can afford to shop or retain the services of their employer (a few obvious exceptions, st people who build yachts don't buy them).

This technique was used by Henry Ford to build his company from a firm operated out of a garage to an empire. His workers could buy homes--he even helped them get financing. And above all, Ford employees could buy Ford cars.

A return to this concept will mean more disposable income, more consumption, more production to fill demand (as long as we don't send it to China), and more taxes paid (plus lower unemployment).

The government isn't going to bring this about. But Wal-Mart, whose employees cannot afford to shop there and have been known to receive food stamp applications with their employment paperwork, could be a trendsetter with ease. It worked in Sam Walton's day--it can again.
+3 # lin96 2011-07-08 02:17
Why the Republican would like to see the debt ceiling fall??? How about so corporations can buy up the US debt, own the US, throw out the Constitution, and privatize it with a dictatorship. Close to what we have now only legal.

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