It used to be that even a freshman House member would have the backbone to stand up to the bullying of a senior senator.
So, it is a sign of just how scared the GOP establishment is of the tea party insurgents that a veteran House committee chairman like Kentucky’s Rep. Hal Rogers, folded like a lawn chair when freshman Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and others contemptuously dismissed a Rogers plan to cut $35 billion from current federal spending levels.
After Paul told a big conservative political action gathering in Washington that plans like Rogers’s threaten the country with financial ruin and a right-wing House caucus started pushing for a $100 billion spending-cut target, Rogers vowed that the $100 billion figure will be met.
The problem of course is that tea partiers like Paul embrace a rigid dogma about small government — one that counters the course that led to unprecedented prosperity during the past century — but have no grounding in reality and no awareness of unintended consequences.
The House caucus (unlike Paul, to his credit) wants to exempt military spending. Few in Washington on any part of the political spectrum want to take on popular entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and veteran’s programs.
So, most of the money is off the table. The tea party vision, embodied in the Republicans’ “Pledge to America,” could be achieved only by slashing things like environmental protection, student financial aid, health programs and research, workplace safety enforcement, job training — even some anti-crime endeavors .
Those are not areas where “privatization” can pick up the slack — without an assertive government role, they atrophy.
A poorer, sicker, less educated country may suit right-wing ideological purposes and partisan designs, but it is a guarantee of national decline. …
For now, the posturing is all just talk, but extremist proposals stall action. And that is becoming dangerous.
— The Courier-Journal, Louisville