Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Leno Exposes Intellectual Bankruptcy of Norquist Crowd

Grover Norquist , who has said that bipartisanship is equal to date rape, is still at it. He's expecting that billions of dollars can be cut from state and federal budgets while not proposing an end to the biggest money-sucker of all - the Iraq war. Norquist has led an anti-intellectual movement that has made "tax" a word to which leaders have developed a professional allergy. [So-called] leaders have allowed themselves to be herded, because of political pressure, to sign a pledge, now clearly seen as a meaningless joke to anyone in their right mind, to always resist raising taxes.

California State Senator Mark Leno says it far more diplomatically than I did, appealing to the business community:
"I wouldn't think that anyone with a business mind or business concerns would in any way support the status quo right now."[source: SF Guardian]

Back in 2005, understanding the ideology of Bush and the Republican party that had been pushing hard and partisan for a doctrinaire national agenda, I recognized the intellectual bankruptcy of the President's ideas about his "ownership society." After the bitter realities exposed in post-Katrina New Orleans, I'd wondered where on earth Bush's "Harry Hopkins" might be [and he still hasn't emerged]:

Bush pushed his "ownership society" ideology during his speech, the Urban Homesteading Act for example, which is short-term Republican micromanagement of an insidious poverty that will still exist when the funds have run out. Does the President believe that he can accomplish a war on poverty without informing the American people that either their taxes will need to be raised or else they will suffer an ever-widening gap between rich and poor while government manipulates more tax breaks as a way to redistribute wealth to the richest? Somewhere along the way, we know that sacrifices must be made for what we've deliberately done in Iraq and for what nature did to us in New Orleans. The bill has been placed in front of us. Who's going to wind up paying the bill? If the richest are not called on by the Bush administration to pay their fair share, the middle class and the poor will be the ones who will suffer most, even though their taxes are not "raised". They will pay higher prices. Their schools will suffer. Their social programs will dissipate as spending becomes restricted to fighting in Iraq and rebuilding New Orleans. The gap between the "two Americas" will deepen.

The economic realities that Republican leadership have avoided, with an all-too-supportive FOX News giving cheerleader's megaphone, have hit us in the face. The Grover Norquist-"drown it in the bathtub" form of federal government was drowned by the floodwaters of August. This is a brand new day.

Where's Harry Hopkins?

[Iddybud blog/Jude Nagurney Camwell/09-16-05]

Flash forward to the present.

I wonder how many citizens are able to draw the exisiting line between 1. the starvation of federal support for anything resembling a safety net for the US worker and for the conscientious work that many unsung heroes of the already-underpaid nonprofit community are doing quietly each day and 2. the breakdown of the quality of life for those Americans who've done their best to keep afloat while being forced to compete with workers in the developing world in an unregulated business atmosphere where labor standards are few if they exist at all.

The anti-tax pledge was the joke that the fiercely ignorant anti-tax crowd had played on our weak leaders in D.C. that unravelled the moment the fat cats that couldn't get enough welfare from Washington started suffering.

And, lo, the suffering of the fat cats was loud.
The cries were heard 'round the world as markets flopped.
The voiceless worker who'd long suffered
Was the first target for attack by the doctrinaires.

It should've happened long ago, but if there's ever been a time to expose the total bankruptcy of the unmovable ideas of the anti-tax crowd, it would be now.

Senator Mark Leno says now is the time for Democrats to aggressively fight back against an inflexible anti-tax stand that has eroded critical government services for a generation and has now finally reached a crisis point. The conservative crusade has been led largely by ATR head Grover Norquist, who once famously said he wants to shrink government to the level where he can drown it in the bathtub.

"Every Republican has signed a pledge to someone who wants to drown government in a bathtub - Grover Norquist. So nothing will happen until we rip up those pledges," Leno told me, noting that the two-thirds vote margin is just three Republicans each in the Assembly and Senate. "Six human beings are bringing us to our knees."

Even the conservative editorial page writers of the San Francisco Examiner (who endorsed John McCain for president) on Dec. 15 wrote, "the deficit has become so overpowering that - hate it all we want - California cannot continue functioning in 2009 without at least temporary tax raises."

Yet Norquist and the Republican legislators in his thrall haven't softened their position one bit and instead hope to win deep cuts with this game of brinksmanship. "Now it's up to the governor to come up with a budget that doesn't borrow money and doesn't raise taxes," Norquist told the Guardian.
[source: SF Guardian]]

To ALL elected leaders: Let's admit the truth, shall we? America can't continue functioning in 2009 without tax raises. Grover Norquist has constantly relied upon citizens' historic resistance to taxation in order to destroy our own beneficial soical safety government mechanisms. Some ignorant citizens think back to the Boston Tea party when they hear the word "tax" even though it has no correlation to modern life where their own jobs have been shipped off by their own government.
Hey, Grover...
Drown this!