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Felicia Muftic: GOP hides women and children behind a tree

Felicia Muftic/My View
Grand County, CO Colorado

Looking at the GOP’s proposed budget cuts, Republicans are careful not to harm their base. Instead, they zero in on women and children services ,education, homeless vets, and neighborhood health centers for the poor, as well as their long time ideological bugaboos, the EPA and NPR.

The late Sen. Russell Long’s oft repeated jingle, “Don’t tax you; don’t tax me; tax that fellow behind the tree …” is cynical enough, but the GOP’s current budget platform could also read: I won’t cut you (my esteemed voting base’s interests); I won’t cut me (or those who contribute to me); I’ll cut those women, poor and kids behind the tree (they either do not vote or they vote for the other party).

I watched C-Span the other night as Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson presented their bold plan to reduce the deficit to a Senate committee. As both said, GOP’s budget cuts and the Democrats’ proposals do not even begin to put a dent into the deficit problem. It is going to take reforming entitlements. If so, both political parties have to look way past their closest trees and get serious, or else they will put many through needless pain.



Both parties watched their respective proposals die for lack of votes in Congress, but they met their campaign promises to make the effort for the record and have postured their ideologies ad nauseam. It is time to stop daring the other side to commit political suicide by being first to advocate making the hard choices on entitlements. The GOP squirmed out of their responsibility so far by calling Pres. Obama’s low keying the budget conflict a “failure of leadership” … daring him to make the first move. This reminds me of the childrens’ bait tactic: sticking out a tongue, flapping ears and sing songing na na na.

The truth: Congress and the White House have demonstrated an equal reluctance to commit political suicide in tackling entitlements. Congress criticizing the president for lack of leadership is the pot calling the kettle black. If the proposals that will actually deal with long term deficits are politically too painful, all should take the fall together so that they either both get blame or get credit simultaneously.



Complicating the ability to make the hard choices is that the short term and long term solutions are at odds with one another. Cutting government expenditures now while we still have an 8.9 percent unemployment rate, according to the economists at Goldman Sachs, would cost the U.S. 700,000 jobs and hurt our immediate recovery. On the other hand, GOP philosophy regarding government cuts has some validity in trickling down the economic levels to create jobs, but trickling down is a long term deal.

Obama’s preparation for 2012 is to win the future. He will make the argument that while the short term economy is bad, we need to look beyond 2012 and not let the expediency of cuts in education, energy, and infrastructure destroy future job growth. It will be a difficult sell. Voters are not inclined to think in long term and usually focus on what ox is being gored du jour.

The GOP likes to counter Democrats in the trickle down versus government stimulus debate with some logic defying arguments: They claim “the stimulus failed because x number of jobs were lost.”

If we had followed the Republican trickle down, laissez faire philosophy in 2008, the number of unemployed would arguably have equaled the Depression rate of over 20 percent and our economy would have indeed fallen off the cliff. Remind a Republican of that and watch him/her quickly change the subject or simply restate the trickle down theory.

The Republicans claim government spending sucks up capital available for investment, but the problem is not a lack of capital. Plenty of private capital is sitting on the sidelines. The GOP blames uncertainty for that yet Republicans and Democrats, share the blame for the uncertainty as they gridlock over who behind the tree they cut.

For more commentary, visit http://www.mufticforum.com. To comment, go to wwww.skyhidailynews.com.


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