15 July 2011

Duplicitous Republicans May Be Insane with Spending; Republicans Don't Like Clean Water Either

While the republicans, especially those in the tea party wing, would like you to believe they want to cut spending, they aren't making the most noble effort to actually limit spending.  Their aim is to make us think that they are trying to curb government spending.  But this is just not true.  Last week members of of the House voted 336-87 to increase military appropriations for 2012 by 2.7% up to an incredible $649 billion.

If that sounds like austerity, then austerity must now mean indulgence.  At one time in the history of English 'nice' meant wanton.  It is possible that we are in the midst of a great shift in the English language.  Chances are higher that this is just simple duplicity carried out by the republican party.  The key to understand the tea party movement is that these people do want to cut some government programs, specifically those that help US citizens, while they raise the funding for other government programs, specifically those that help businesses send more jobs overseas, which in turn provides more money to their election funds, and those that enable our military to keep growing at a comparable to North Korea, China, Russia, and half the world.  

Between the defense/military budget, Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security, the government is dishing out $2 trillion a year.  People are quick to blame Obama for the spending but they quickly forget that it was Bush who penned his name to the Medicare bill that will cost from 2003 to 2013 about $1.2 trillion.

I would argue it was necessary.  But it is also necessary for everyone in the country to have the same coverage.  It makes no sense that some people, including our congress people who couldn't run pantyhose let alone the government, have government health care while others either have nothing, emergency coverage, or whatever they can afford.  We are the only developed nation in the world that doesn't insure its citizens have access to health care.  It's a travesty that needs to be remedied if we expect to continue to be the great democracy that we purport to be.

The Economist reports that the number of uninsured hospital visits rose last year to 800,000 a 14% increase from 2009.  For those that are insured, average monthly premiums rose by 12% between 2006 and 2008.  Republican will claim that the health exchanges failed to create viable competition.  But that's hogwash.  Taiwan has a single payer system much like the Canadian system.  Costs are low, the system is efficient - there are no waiting lines, and they are rated as providing higher quality care. 

At some point we all need to ask ourselves if it makes any sense to vote for people who wish to fund the US war machine and yet sacrifice the welfare of the people.  I understand that some people vote against abortion or against gay marriage, well it's time to grow up.  There are greater concerns than two men fucking.  They're doing that anyway.  It can't hurt any more than it does if they're wed.

Start voting on issues that really matter.  Instead of spending all of our money fucking the world up let's focus on spending money on getting fucked up.  Some of these politicians could use a little fucking up.  We introduce a few bongs into the chambers.  Get some good ganja - medicinal - not that skunk weed.  You don't hear of too many Rastafaris planting roadside bombs, blowing themselves up in the name of Ras Tafari, or threatening to wipe Florida off the map, or invading sovereign nations.  That's not so difficult, is it? The feds can obtain good shmit - hell they've got a drug czar, right?  We've got a drug czar for a reason - he's got all the best shmit.  We've already admitted the drug war was a failure anyway - so if you can't beat 'em ...  Let's all light up.  Cheer some of these bastards up and get the people some damned health care coverage for chrissakes.

Find budget documents here.

Find the Commonwealth Health report here, in which the US ranks last.


This week republicans introduced a bill that seriously limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) powers to set clean-water standards under threat that Pres Obama will (justly so) veto it.    As reported in Bloomberg,
The bill blocks the EPA from tightening water pollutant limits without a state’s consent if the agency previously approved the state standard. The measure, which passed 239-184 yesterday, is part of an effort to rein in what Republicans say is an agency’s regulatory overreach threatening the economy. Sixteen Democrats joined Republicans to support the measure.
The democrats who joined the republicans on this are clearly out of their minds.  What are these knuckle heads thinking?  Supporters of the bill "said limits on the EPA would give farmers, coal companies and other businesses that discharge pollutants into waterways greater certainty that standards won’t be changed."  What does that even mean?  Standards won't change?  Discharge pollutants?  The logic behind that explanation makes no sense.  Perhaps what supporters meant to say was that lax regulations will ensure that there are low standards that will cost businesses less money to meet so they can continue dumping pollutants unchecked into our water.  Now that's a bit more wordy but much more accurate.
Like so many bone-headed moves by the right wing (I mean, Michele Bachmann, seriously?), this bill makes no sense and is not supported by the science.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), who grade US infrastructure viability, US drinking water and wastewater receives a grade of D-.
The nation’s drinking-water systems face staggering public investment needs over the next 20 years. Although America spends billions on infrastructure each year, drinking water systems face an annual shortfall of at least $11 billion in funding needed to replace aging facilities that are near the end of their useful life and to comply with existing and future federal water regulations. The shortfall does not account for any growth in the demand for drinking water over the next 20 [tip:years.=Fix that leak!
A faucet dripping just once per second will waste as much as 2,700 gallons of water per year. Fix any leaking faucets.]
 The ASCE lists solutions that include more funding for the EPA and Clean Water Act, not less.  While the republicans would like all of us to baa in unison and thank them for trying to rescue American business, what we should really thank them for is exemplifying what is clearly dysfunctional in our government.  There are idiots showing up for work on Capitol Hill.
 Here are the set of recommendations from the ASCE:
  • Increase funding for water infrastructure system improvements and associated operations through a comprehensive federal program;
  • Create a Water Infrastructure Trust Fund to finance the national shortfall in funding of infrastructure systems under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, including storm-water management and other projects designed to improve the nation’s water quality;
  • Employ a range of financing mechanisms, such as appropriations from general treasury funds, issuance of revenue bonds and tax exempt financing at state and local levels, public-private partnerships, state infrastructure banks, and user fees on certain consumer products as well as innovative financing mechanisms, including broad-based environmental restoration taxes to address problems associated with water pollution, wastewater management and treatment, and storm-water management.
When will the myopia of the right wing end?  Probably not until serious damage is done.  Just look at Wisconsin where Scott Wanker's cuts will be felt all over the state soon enough.  Nothing has come up in association to the tort reform passed in January yet but it will.  County transit systems are feeling the pinch.  My bus line used to run every half hour, then every 45 minutes, now every hour.  Rates are going up too.  It's going to get ugly really quickly and we'll all be carrying guns when that happens.
Scott Wanker decided to give a speech at a Gateway Technical College even though he's cut funding to community colleges across the state.  Almost as rich as creating the public employee of the year award.  What a real putz.

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