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Speaker of the Houe John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Arsonists Posing as Firemen: How GOP Sabotages Government for Fun and Profit

John Atcheson

Across the board, Republicans have been sabotaging government by a variety of measures, then pointing to the resulting  – and inevitable – governmental failures to reinforce their Ayn Rand fantasy of government as inept and the private sector as the solution to all our problems. 

Doubt that? Well, it appears that they will spend more money investigating the Benghazi "scandal" than the Veterans Administration debacle.

Meanwhile, the Democrats stand back and mumble lame protestations under their breath, being careful not to anger the corporatists and fat cats at whose trough they feed.  And the press?  Pulleez.  They are the corporatists. 

None of this is new, as far as a generally accepted meme, but what’s not getting much play, are how the specific problems Republicans are shouting themselves into a frothing frenzy about at the moment have been engineered by them.

Let’s look at the top five, and one emerging issue.

Benghazi two-step:  While hypocrites like Darrell Isa, hold show hearings trying to create the illusion of malfeasance, guess who rejected budget requests  for defending our Embassies and Counsels overseas?  Why yes. The Republicans. And guess who warned them this would have consequences.  The Obama Administration. And yet, when the inevitable happens, who do Republicans blame?  You guessed it. 

Witness the basic two-step: sprinkle gasoline on our embassies, strike match, erupt in faux outrage and blame.

Veterans on Waiting Lists:  People like Boehner and McConnell and assorted other blowhards have been full of righteous indignation and blame about veterans on waiting lists and attempts to hide the wait.

Well, guess whose fault the waiting lists are?  You got it; the self righteous “defenders of our troops” have been systematically and single handedly low-balling the budgets for the Veteran’s Administration for over a decade, now, by voting down attempts to increase the Veteran’s Administration’s budget. 

So their little two-step goes something like this:  1) start a war under false pretenses and in complete ignorance of historical tensions in Iraq stretching back for centuries and send troops over completely unprepared and ill-equipped to wage that war (remember hillbilly armor?), increasing the demand for veterans healthcare by up to $2 trillion dollars; and 2) then consistently reject proposed increases in the Agency’s budget necessitated by their war.  Geez, do you think that might cause a waiting list?

Why anyone is listening to these asshats is a complete mystery, as is the Democrat’s abject silence, and the press’s near universal failure to cover it.

But wait, it gets worse.

IRS beach blanket bingo:  Meanwhile, the “targeting” of conservative groups by the IRS seems to be a desperate attempt of an underfunded IRS branch trying to keep up with an explosion in potential abuses of the tax exempt status under the 501 c 4 provision. This section of the IRS code restricts political action, and requests to qualify under this provision, as well as groups operating as such – mostly by conservative groups -- was exploding.   Faced with budget cuts, the branch sought to use search terms to find the groups who might be abusing this provision.  Since most of the growth in use of the provision came from conservative groups, that’s where they focused.

Get it?  Cut budgets.  Make global accusations based on one small branch of the IRS attempting to do its job without adequate resources.  Erupt in faux outrage.  Repeat.  And Repeat. And keep repeating, as long as the grossly malfeasant media covers it, and the Democrats’ only response was ... well, not much.

Spread accelerants, strike match, call in credulous or complicit media.

Gutting the Post Office:  With the possible exception of the Social Security system,

nothing gives lie to the Ayn Rand delusions of the Republicans like the Post Office.  Six days a week, a person shows up at your house with mail, reliably.   This has been going on since the Constitution was passed, and it has even survived challenges like email to continue to this day.  If government incompetence was going to be challenged, clearly this system had to be destroyed. 

What to do?   Why, require the Post Office to forward fund health care benefits for 75 years – in other words, to fund benefits for “employees” who haven’t even been born yet, and do it in less than 10 years.  That’s what the Bill favored by the Bush administration and passed by Congress in 2006 required.  Could Fed EX or any corporation operate successfully with this kind of model? Of course not.

So once again, we see Republicans manufacturing failure, then standing back and using that failure as evidence that their laissez-faire fantasy of government ineptness and market uber-alles is true.

Sprinkle gasoline … oh, you get it.  Question is, why doesn’t the press?  Or the Democrats.  Well, I guess we know why the Democrats don’t see it … their view is blocked by piles of corporate cash.

When is the Budget Deficit not a problem? Well, for Republicans – who have been screaming about the deficit problem since even before Saint Ronnie raised it  (literally and figuratively) nearly 30 years ago – the opportunity to get an additional $300 billion or more a year doesn’t seem too important, especially if it means raising the budget for IRS investigators.  Of course, much of that missing revenue would have to come from the uber-rich or corporations.  Oh, and if you were to add legal tax dodges – again mostly benefiting the rich and the corporations – the total lost revenue is in the trillions.

If budget deficits were the hoary-headed, nation-wrecking monster Republicans say they are, you’d think they’d cast a few millions towards collecting these trillions of dollars.  But of course, you’d be wrong.  

Apparently, the deficit is only a problem if it leads to cutting and gutting government, not if it means making it work.

Coming soon... Hog-tying the Social Security Administration:  If the Post Office is the most visible government program, Social Security and Medicare are the most successful and beloved.  Every month, almost 58,000,000 people receive retirement and disability benefits.  The system is reliable, and there are some 1300 field offices, making it easy to apply, resolve problems, and update information.

The Trust is fully funded for the next three decades, and a few simple and politically popular fixes would fund it essentially for as far as we can forecast.

Oh and it has an overhead of less than anything the private sector can touch, as well as favorability ratings higher than just about any private sector function you can name.

What’s a poor gubmint’ hater to do?  Why, fabricate stories of insolvency, and when that doesn’t work, try to close all those local offices …

You got it.  Spread the gasoline around … strike match … point fingers.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
John Atcheson

John Atcheson

John Atcheson, 1948-2020, was a long-time Common Dreams contributor, climate activist and author of, "A Being Darkly Wise, and a book on our fractured political landscape entitled, "WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track". John was tragically killed in a California car accident in January 2020.

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