When Congress approved stimulus legislation, the small government crowd sat on their hands and expressed outrage. Oddly, they managed to show up for local ribbon cuttings, ground breaking events and press opportunities. If you don’t believe me., just read one example here. It’s what I call the small government flip-flip – when politicians oppose federal spending and government programs before they support them. Here are a few more examples.
The social programs shuffle. Conservatives hate social programs. They say dependence on them is bad for us, and that our future depends on cutting them to reduce the deficit………..EXCEPT when monies go to THEIR faith-based organizations. Then, it’s ok. According to a USA Today story, the Bush administration spent $2.1 billion/year on faith-based social programs and up to $19 billion one year. Funny. If social programs are bad why don’t we ever hear conservatives complain about them or associate them with waste? Ever.
Bureaucrat-bashing. The small government crowd also HATES government bureaucrats unless those ‘crats are private sector workers doing the government’s job. According to a book titled ‘Shadow Elite,’ and many other reports, three out of four people payed by the federal government are employed by PRIVATE contractors. Yep! Watch a July CSPAN interview with author and scholar, Janine Wedel here to learn more.
Tax cuts v. spending. The ultimate small government flip-flop is the tax cut debate. Ok. Let me break it down. Taxes are lower now than they were during the Reagan years. Also, tax cuts contribute billions to the deficit. Policy leaders have even admitted this. So, logically deficit reduction MUST include repealing tax cuts – not deepening them, which conservatives want.
The funding disconnect. Ask yourself. Besides defense spending, does the small government crowd say ANYTHING positive about federal spending? They fail to mention how federal dollars flow into states and local governments for essential projects. But it’s true. Uncle Sam helps pay for hundreds of REALLY GOOD community development, housing, health, transportation, business development and clean environment initiates. Funding to both tea-party communities and netroots neighborhoods flows from US govt grants, pork projects and the stimulus monies. While states are struggling financially and CAN NOT operate with deficits the way the federal government can, policy makers still oppose stimulus targeted to them. Makes sense? Only politically. Common sense says national funds can do a lot of good — esp as local governments lay off workers and cut funding. Why don’t we hear that from the right?
The economy is an important issue. No doubt. Budget austerity makes sense, but in the debate over big government v small government, shouldn’t the American public hear the truth? Enough with the flip-flip messages!