If you ever get a chance, go read the comments posted on oregonlive.com anytime someone with a liberal/rational opinion writes an editorial. Most of it is just pure garbage and name calling, which is basically what conservative politics has devolved into, but occasionally you get a person who really does believe in the conservative agenda, like this one recently, responding to an EJ Dionne column:
“These are radical ideas? Balance the budget, pay off the national debt, close our borders to illegals, a smaller and limited government, drill for our own oil and natural gas, a strong defence, the repeal of Obamacare -these things to E.J. and the large majority of the dems are radical.”
Wow, when they say it like that, it makes it seem like Republicans really do have good ideas…at least, until they’re examined:
1) Balancing the Budget and Paying off the National Debt:
While they sound like fantastic and meaningful ideas, they won’t actually accomplish anything tangible. It won’t help the economy to pay off our national debt, and in fact, in the short run, it will damage it to do so. Why? Because that money doesn’t currently impede anything we do economically (we can still borrow money for dirt cheap), and none of the money we use to pay off our debt will go into the U.S. economy. In fact, much of it would go to China.
Now, this doesn’t mean we should continue to run monster deficits, and yes, it would be a good idea to balance the budget, but they don’t need to be the centerpiece of our government’s agenda, especially when we have much bigger problems, like unemployment and the fact that we just about completely lost our manufacturing base during the last 30 years. A better economy will make doing both of these things a whole lot easier, but doing them won’t strengthen our economy.
2) Illegal Immigration:
First, I’d like to point out that our borders are closed to illegal immigrants, but like anything where there is a large economic incentive for breaking the law (drug dealing is a good example), you’re never going to stop everyone. Second, if you really wanted to effect change in this regard, you’d have to go round everyone up who is a certain color and/or speaks a certain language (isn’t this similar to what Hitler did, or what happened more recently in Rwanda?), and the problems with doing that are already evident in states with a lot of idiots, like Arizona or Mississippi.
3) Smaller Limited Government, and a MASSIVE MILITARY
The reader wants a “smaller and limited government” and later, “a strong defense.” These concepts are basically mutually exclusive, especially in practice. Currently, our biggest single government expenditure is the military, on which we spend more money than the rest of the world combined. We have a strong military—we also have a massive group of companies that exist for no other reason than to suck up taxpayer dollars building weapons that will never be used, and wouldn’t exist if they weren’t receiving what is essentially corporate welfare from you, me, and everyone else who pays taxes. It’s also pretty damned ironic that of every tax dollar we send to Washington, at least 25% of it is used to pay for the military, and yet conservatives howl, at the same time, about how they hate paying taxes AND want to have a “strong military.” How about a smart military that can defend our nation and its interests without bankrupting the treasury?
4) Energy Policy:
Conservatives also apparently want to “drill for our own oil and natural gas.” We do, but we don’t have near enough supply to match our demand, even if we drilled in Alaska, Hawaii, and off of all of our coastlines. This is why progressives call for investing in green energy, so we don’t have to buy oil from the Saudis, and because it would be a great industry in which to start building back our capacity to manufacture valuable products. But then, this rationale relies on facts and reason, not our cigar smoking buddies in the Oil industry who buy Republican politicians elections, prostitutes, and coke (I know, pretty clean until then, but I just couldn’t help myself).
5) Health Care
Repeal “Obamacare?” Sure, OK, then what do you propose to do about our health care system? Let the market solve our problems (read: dumb)?
One key fact: our government already pays for a massive portion of this nation’s healthcare costs, and people that actually do have insurance end up paying more on their premiums (that have increased, in some cases, by over 100% of their cost in the last 10 years—see link at the bottom for actual numbers) because when people that are uninsured go to the hospital and can’t pay, the billing department just makes up the difference by charging us more for being responsible humans (being fortunate enough to have a job that provides health benefits).
Because of this fact, the Affordable Health Care Act a.k.a. “Obamacare,” is actually projected by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the costs of federal legislation, and Republicans like to ignore, because those estimates are based on using math) to save the government money in the long term, and at the same time, will ensure that nearly all Americans have some kind of health insurance. Republican opposition to this, I suspect, has a lot more to do with the fact that they insert Obama into the name of the legislation than anything else.