What is wrong with the GOP? Are they blind, reckless or just plain mean? They must see that reinforcing their stereotype as the Party Of The Rich is not a good idea. They have unanimously said "No. Hell, no" to every budget proposal floated their way, yet are willing to make an exception to give money to the rich. Rich. Rich. Rich. Rich. Rich. Rich. Rich. Curious mantra.
Now. During an election year. It's like hitting the upstairs maid with a splintered 2-by-4 while conducting interviews for a new butler. Word gets out. People talk. You hear things. Republican senators are responsible for blocking three attempts to extend unemployment insurance and bragging about it. And had been determined to continue filibustering until Democrats come up with cuts in other programs to make it budget neutral. Which makes a certain amount of sense. "You want to eat this week? Then put that video game back on the shelf, mister. And don't give me that face. I'll give you something to cry about."
The problem is, Republicans triple-lock their wallets only when a Democrat is in the White House. When George W. Bush was president, they used pneumatic tubes to siphon money from the mint as quickly as possible. A trillion for the Pharmaceuticals here. A couple trillion for some pre-emptive wars there. Another trillion in tax cuts for rich people. In 2002, somewhere between his third and fourth myocardial infarctions, Dick Cheney told Treasury Secretary O'Neill, "Ronald Reagan taught us deficits don't matter." And apparently neither do heart attacks. Does this guy even have a pulse anymore?
Because of Congress' inaction, 375,000 American workers are losing unemployment benefits every week. Its obvious Mitch McConnell's intent is to deny Obama any political victory while sucking up to the Tea Partiers with his newly unearthed fiscal responsibility, but he might want to remember people without jobs can read newspapers, too. As a matter of fact, they often have an excess of free time to campaign and stuff envelopes and get out the vote.
It's easy to understand why Republicans hate giving money to the poor. Poor people are icky. And they never know which fork to use ... and those shoes!
But most importantly, poor people seldom top any respected list of major political campaign donors. As opposed to the rich, who understand that money gets you access and access provides influence and before you know it, you're in the back room of the Capitol Grille on your second pitcher of Margaritas helping write regulations that allow lethal doses of magnesium in 2 percent milk.
So, though they talk the budget-neutrality talk, they don't walk the budget-neutrality walk. At the same time, they're wishing the jobless lots of luck fighting with dogs for food, they're also lobbying to extend Bush's expiring tax cuts to the rich, and budget neutrality can take a flying leap off a short pier into a crashing sea of toxic sludge.
See, tax cuts are different. That's not welfare for the rich; that's playing the magic note on the economic flute that calls the Trickle-Down Fairy to fly from capitalist heaven and carry us away to a nice, warm, free-market bath. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a mite suspicious of the alkaline nature of this whole trickle-down thing. Good time to invest in a trickle-down umbrella. Available for one day only this Nov. 2.
Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comedian who often writes. This being an example wherein he castigates the rich: a group that stubbornly refuses to include him as a member. He has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.