I think I read this article four times before finally sitting down to write about it. It’s not that I didn’t understand it the first time. I simply wanted to totally absorb the nuanced assholery of elected officials actually suggesting that their own constituents should be laid off before Christmas.
I don’t know why it surprises me that Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) would go so far as to ask their defense contractor buddies to oust actual human beings from their livelihood simply so they can play a political game.
“I’m urging every defense industry that could be affected by sequestration to put your employees on notice before November,” said Graham. “The more it becomes real to us as to what comes the nation’s way, the more likely we are to solve the problem.”
McCain even went further:
“There is gridlock in Washington,” McCain said as he warmed the crowd shortly after taking the podium. “I don’t need to tell you that. It’s hard these days, trying to do the Lord’s work in the city of Satan.”
The “problem” Graham is referring to is Congressional Democrats’ unwillingness to cut the budget by slashing social programs and preferring instead to cut waste from the military budget (now that we’re exiting two wars).
The other thing I found fascinating about Graham’s quote is that he unintentionally debunked one of the GOP’s biggest talking points. Graham, by acknowledging that military contractors create jobs, acknowledged that the government creates jobs. The government creates a lot of jobs and any elected official with an IQ north of the Tea Party caucus knows it.
Not only are there people that actually work for the government; there are people that work for government contractors and there are people that work for companies that sometimes take government contracts. Every dollar that is slashed from the government budget can affect real people and real jobs.
Graham doesn’t care that people will lose their jobs. He doesn’t care that the unemployment rate is around 8%. In fact, he’d rather see it higher. Of course, half that reason, as Democrats will admit, is that Graham and his GOP brethren want to see Obama fail. They want the next Supreme Court justices to be chosen by a Republican so they can complete their mission of complete income redistribution, even if it means the collapse of the country.
The GOP would have their followers believe that all government spending is bad for the economy. Of course, this view is overly-simplistic and economists have shown that it really depends on where the money is spent and that the Republicans have it exactly backwards. They want to see your tax dollars to go the wealthiest among us. However, it’s been proven time and time again that when we give money to the wealthy, we throw most of it into a sink-hole. When we give to the poor, they give back, almost two-fold. The reason is simple, when people spend every penny they receive, that money is going back into the economy. It’s creating jobs by creating demand. Spenders pay sales tax. Storekeepers pay income tax. The storekeepers also give back to the economy. Money in the pockets of poor people snowballs. Money in the pockets of the wealthy stays relatively stagnant.
There are better ways of making the point that cutting spending isn’t the way to go right now than laying people off right before the holidays (and not coincidentally, before Obama runs for reelection). There are ways that are actually patriotic and not detrimental to the tax base and to the country. The most logical way is for the wealthiest among us to pay a fraction more in taxes to give back to the country that has done so much for them. That, of course, would be too much to ask of a Republican.