Not all that long ago when I started this here 3rd and Final Sweet Little Blog ‘O Mine, one of my first posts was about John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Line by line, I went over the song’s worthless, empty-headed pseudo-intellectualism. I had a hoot writing it. I hoped someday I would get the chance to do it again.
Now, magically, and just in time for the holiday season, along comes this quote from Vermont senator Bernie Sanders! It’s been making the rounds around the liberal side of the social media interwebby the past few weeks since he delivered it to Congress. And while it’s not quite as ambitiously boring as Lennon’s “Imagine”, it’s just about as uneducated, bereft of thought, short on history and financially scary stupid for a senator as can be. So I’m going to employ my handy little formula, and go line by line. This should be fun. Let’s go!
“This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem.”
Okay, we’re off on the right foot here—admitting our problem. Part of it, anyway. Good for you, Bernie! Let’s hope you address the fact that Democratically led Congress has failed to approve a budget in more than 1000+ days now. For now, onward, big, grey fella!
“But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars–unpaid for.”
Whoa, whoa, hold on here. I thought we were talking about the budget deficit, not the cumulative debt. Yes, yes, I do believe we were. Maybe Old Bernie’s confused. By CBO and Defense Department accounts (sorry Cost of War folks, you have an agenda, so your numbers are tainted) those wars—one justified, the other that can be argued as justified—in the Global War on Terrorism (how does one have a war against a tactic) have cost roughly $1T+. Not chump change, particularly in soldiers lost and wounded. Strictly financially speaking, this “spending” represents only 1/15 of our $15T (and rising) debt. Surely there must be other causes for the other 14/15s.
“It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest in this country.”
Oh, you had to have seen that one coming. Always a familiar arrow to fire in the liberal argumentative arsenal—complete with the “we’re on the side of the little guy”, Robin Hood tone. Grating and tiresome, isn’t it? I agree. And there’s just one problem with it: That tax break (aka: Bush Tax Cuts) benefited everyone—rich to poor, upper, middle and lower class, even the Old Socialist here benefited (I doubt he returned his windfall, though). The rich certainly didn’t see it all, or even a majority of it. Remember, they only make up 1%. Did they benefit? Sure. Who doesn’t benefit from across-the-board tax break? Okay, you got me. Dogs don’t. Cats, too. Hamsters. Pot-bellied pigs (mmm, pork belly!). You get the idea. The CBO puts that revenue “loss” (they were actually counting on it as if it were theirs to begin with?) at $1.6T over 10 years. No one knows the actual number because it’s difficult to calculate. Still, not really a huge deal to the cumulative debt or even the budget deficit, honestly.
“it was caused by a recession as result of greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on the part of Wall Street.”
Bernie gets 1 point for being right here. Well done, Mr. S.! But just one. Indeed reckless leadership in banks, investment firms and rating agencies (aka: the ubiquitous “Wall Street” demon) led to the ’08 Collapse. But it takes more than one dog to bring down an elephant like an economy; it takes an entire pack of dogs. Government policy (regulations, oversight, enforcement, etc.), grossly ignorant, irresponsible and uneducated consumers, overzealous real estate agencies and agents and so on. This could go on for days about who really led us into our current economic malaise, but that’s another conversation for another time. And greed? Well, that’s a very abstract concept deeply entrenched by one’s perspective and economic standing in society. And finally, if there was something “illegal” going on, and no doubt there might have been, Congress, led by a supermajority of Dems since ’06, never lifted their sanctimonious, all-knowing liberal fingers to stop it. Bernie, along with his fellow Dems, we’re too busy passing mindnumbing, time-wasting nonbinding resolutions re: the Iraq War to head off a looming financial crisis.
“And if those are the cause of the deficit…”
Hm, I was getting a little, well, pissed off in that past paragraph, now I’m just sad. Seems Bernie still is confusing the hell out of the cumulative debt and budget deficit. Maybe it’s his age. He is 70 years old, ya know. Maybe he’s just giving it the old man wave off, “Oh, sonny, debt…deficit, what does it matter, you knew what i meant.” I guess that would be nice if I believed in actuary tables and that anyone over 70 is in the first stages of dementia and about to keel over like Matt Damon, but I’m fairly sure John McCain knows the difference between the debt and the deficit—particularly when giving a speech before Congress. (P.S. McCain is still alive, Matt Damon.)
“I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget….”
Hang on there, Bernie. How can you balance the budget when every single 2012 budget proposal submitted by President Obama has been resoundingly rejected not once, but twice by a count of 97-0 in the Senate? Ouchy mama! How exactly does one balance nothing. Hm, that’s not so much a rhetorical question as it is an existential one, I think. We’ll give Bernie a few to think about that one and get back to us.
“…on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That’s wrong.”
Know what else is wrong, Bernie? Saying shit that hasn’t happened or was even proposed. Oh, that and stooping to the lowest, baseless, fear- and smear-tactic filled rhetorical common denominator possible because it further demonizes and deepens the puppy-kicking, money-grubbing GOP stereotype that plays to your base so well, you maple-syrup guzzling fuckwit. (Whew! That was a mouthful, but I got it in.) Truth of the matter is that not once has any GOP proposed budget been aimed at hurting, curbing, limiting or ending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the elderly, kids, the sick, or promoted kicking golden retriever puppies. (But we’re all for kicking cats. Shh, don’t tell anyone.) This is a flatout lie. Every proposed GOP budget—particularly Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” budget—proposed great reforms to those entitlements. That’s called starting a conversation about the 800-lb gorilla in the room, Bern. But nobody in your party wanted or wants to address it even they know those gargantuan, budget-sucking, debt-adding entitlements need to be reformed—and desperately, before we all go mad in the streets like the Greeks. (And if you think it’s bad in Greece now, just wait until the Hummus in Every Pot Program reaches the austerity chopping block. Watch the olives fly then!)
Oh shoot. Man, this piece has lost its funny bone, didn’t it? Crud, it did. I’m sorry about that. I was trying real hard. Maybe this formula isn’t going to work out for this subject after all. That, or again I can very little humor in seeing perfectly intelligent, considerate and compassionate people post nugatory, likely cherry-picked and out-of-context quote then hoist it up like some heroic anthem for The People!!! instead of seeing it for what it is: a mindless, financially clueless, thick-headed, stereotyping, hyperbole-filled piece of tripe. (I’m sorry, tripe. I didn’t mean to insult you. In the hands of a good chef I’m sure you taste just dandy, but I was out of other disgusting food options.)
I’ll end on an up tic by noting that I made only one Vermont/maple syrup reference when I could have poured them on thick. Okay, make that 1.5 references.