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Cenk Uygur

Cenk Uygur

Posted: December 15, 2005 01:55 PM

Are We Really This Stupid?


The deficit is careening out of control. Health care costs are through the roof. We’ve started a disastrous war in Iraq that threatens the stability of the whole region. Osama bin Laden has never been caught. The 9/11 Commission says four years after the attacks on this country, we are failing to protect the American people.

And what are the Republicans talking about? Tax cuts that go largely to the upper class. The war on Christmas. The gay marriage amendment. Flag burning. Does anyone believe these are the real pressing concerns of the American people? Is our top problem that the rich don’t have enough tax breaks?

I’m a former Republican and I understand the value of tax cuts and I am strictly opposed to class warfare. But are there no bounds of reason? We have record deficits that only promise to get worse. Our national debt is over eight trillion dollars! That means we owe over $27,000 for every man, woman and child in America. In the midst of this financial recklessness, the Republicans are passing even more tax cuts.

Last week, the Republican House voted for $95 billion of new tax cuts. This is fiscal insanity. They were so proud of themselves for tightening their belt on spending by cutting $50 billion in Medicaid, food stamps, and federal student loans. And I might have supported this if it were part of a package to truly balance the budget. But when they turned around and added $45 billion more to the deficit with their reckless tax cuts, their position became untenable.

These guys are like a bunch of spoiled kids who don’t understand the concept of a budget. We desperately need some grown-ups back in government.

Yes, tax cuts might provide some short term relief for the economy (while these set of politicians are still in office) but run away deficits will prove disastrous in the long term. Have any of these guys ever balanced their personal budgets? You might make your house look a little prettier if you spend more money on it now, but if you don’t balance your bottom line eventually you’ll lose the house all together when you can’t make the mortgage payments.

All of this fiscal irresponsibility and we haven’t even gotten to how they’re robbing us blind. The endless no-bid contracts in Iraq and Katrina and just about everywhere else. Just this week, the Pentagon handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in new contracts for their propaganda campaign in Iraq to companies who have received no-bid contracts in the past. I thought we were a capitalist country. Why do we need all these no-bid contracts?

I’ll tell you why. How else would Republican cronies get $100 million contracts without any scrutiny? The Lincoln Group is run by two kids, who are 30 and 31 years old, who had no prior experience in public relations, but who worked with a pro-Republican donor group called Lead 21. They just got a $100 million contract for the Pentagon’s new public relations campaign. Let alone the tens of millions they had already received for the earlier propaganda campaign in Iraq, which by the way has blown up in our face.

Remember, that $100 million those Republican kids just got for something they know nothing about is our money. It's the taxes you and I paid. They just took all that money and put it in their pocket. As a Republican, I heard all my life about how the Democrats were spending my money. Well, at least they weren't stealing it.

Then there is the $2.4 million Duke Cunningham (R-CA) received in bribes from defense contractors to give them $163 million worth of contracts. The Dukester got a Rolls Royce, a yacht and a lot of cash -- by giving away your money. Some of the contracts he arranged came out of the Pentagon’s $27 billion dollar “black budget.” The black budget is classified so the public is not allowed to know what the Congressman and administration put in it. Do you think Duke Cunningham is the only one who abused this unaccountable $27 billion dollar piggy bank?

Then there is Brownie. Then there is Joe Allbaugh, the former head of FEMA, getting all those contracts after Katrina for the companies he represents. Then there are the millions Dick Cheney is making from the billions in no-bid contracts Halliburton received. Then there are the millions Donald Rumsfeld is making from the government purchase of Tamiflu (he was the former chairman of the company which holds the rights to Tamiflu, a remedy to the bird flu – and, of course, he still owns a ton of stock in the company even as his own Pentagon gives the company millions of dollars in contracts). Then there is Bill Frist helping out his family hospital business with the legislation he helped pass in Congress. Then there are the dozens of other cases of corruption that there isn’t enough room here to talk about (I didn't even get to Tom DeLay).

The Democrats use to be the tax and spend party. Now, it looks like the Republicans are the tax and steal party. How much of this are we going to tolerate?

Apparently a lot, because God forbid we should have gays getting married or for someone to say “Holiday” instead of “Christmas.” Are we really this stupid as a nation?

While this administration and Congress rob us blind and give hundreds of billions of tax cuts to the wealthiest among us, we sit around worrying about whether someone says Happy Holidays.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton supports a bill to ban flag burning with a conservative Republican Senator from Utah. When’s the last time anyone burned a flag? Remember when Hillary was trying to do something about the health care crisis in this country? Oh, how far the mighty have fallen to kiss the feet of the powerful and corrupt.

Hillary’s health care plan might or might not have been the right answer, but at least back then she was trying. Who has tried to fix health care since then? These Republicans obsessed with their Terri Schiavos and their Ten Commandments in the courtroom have not done one single thing to fix the out of control health care costs in this country, let alone help the uninsured.

Are we really this stupid?

As Fox News Channel, feeds us their Weapons of Mass Distraction, we sit idly by while Rome burns. And we haven’t even gotten to national security letters that take away our constitutional rights, the Pentagon spying on domestic political groups and how al-Qaeda leaders sit comfortably in Pakistan while we waste our time in Iraq.

Somebody just said Happy Holidays -- look away. Some gay guy just fell in love – look away. Somebody burned a flag – look away. A brain dead woman is going to be taken off of life support – look away. There is a girl missing in Aruba – look away.

Look away from all the problems we actually have while the conservative hosts feed you more of the weapons of mass distraction and this government robs us over and over again. Are we really this stupid?