D’ja catch it? Did you? The Republican presidential candidates debate that was hosted by CNBC yesterday (October 9) in Dearborn, Michigan?
I have a few observations. One is that everyone there, including the candidates, must have passed through a new security device, one that bleached out every color to sparklingly pure white. Look for it on the grocer’s shelves, because, man! whatever it was produced the whitest Republican whites ever.
For those who do not have knowledge of Dearborn, the highly fitting venue for Republicans, permit me to disabuse you of any misunderstandings you may have. I was raised in Allen Park, Michigan, one of the pure white communities that are immediately adjacent Dearborn, the home of the Ford Motor Company and the company’s sprawling Rouge plant, the largest auto plant in the world. Dearborn wasn’t merely all-white, it was vehemently and determinably so. Mayor Orville Hubbard ran successfully, for 36 years, over and over and over, on a profanity-laced defiantly segregationist platform: “Jesus Christ almighty, society can’t stay in business because the niggers are revolting.” (http://info.detnews.com/history/story/index.cfm?id=139&category=people)
For the overwhelming majority of Americans, being ignorant of just how thoroughly morally bankrupt suburban Detroit has always been is no sin. If you didn’t live there, or never did, how could you be expected to know?
But watching the debate was an adventure taken through the looking glass, into a parallel world where the preposterous was the compliment of reality. “I’ll see your tax cut and raise you four tax cuts.” And no one wanted to call an opponent’s hand and demand how any of it would ever have to be repaid. But then, the Nobel Prize winning economist Richard B Cheney declared in 2001 that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” And the Republican choir sang choruses of “How great thou art,” not in any reference to an immortal deity but the vice who would be as a god for his certainty in all things temporal. “No doubt about it,” he pronounced to a perplexed Tim Russert when asked about Iraq and WMD. Supposedly the same high evidence also adheres to economic theory, if only we believe enough.
For the few who may not be as up on their geography as they should be, San Jose is the third largest community in California and is at the very south end of the San Francisco Bay. I was living in there when Jim Jones, late of San Francisco, late of the Peoples Temple in SF, late of Guyana, and the late leader of a flock who swallowed his fantasy of heaven on earth and his refreshing Kool-Aid that sent them quickly to a here-ever-after. Whether it was to heaven or elsewhere, none have yet authoritatively reported back.
But who cares, when the truth needs only that the congregation, Dorothy-like, close its eyes hard, click its red-slippers together three times and chant “There’s no place like Deficit Land” because “deficits don’t matter,” and the natural corollary that the lower and lower one cuts taxes (especially on the most deserving, which according to Republicans, just happen to be those who dwell in stratospherically rarified privileged economic levels) the larger and larger the government’s coffers will grow to eventually overflowing to the point no taxes will ever be needed. And, oh yeah, Groucho like “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” do NOT look behind the Wizard’s curtain at a national debt that has ballooned from $6 TRILLION six years ago to nearly $9 TRILLION this very moment and which does not count the from $1 TRILLION to $2 TRILLION dollops that are going to be added as a consequence of bringing the glorious rainbow of democracy to Iraq.
AND IT ALL FREE MONEY! Dick Cheney and the Republican candidates have thus spaek. So let’s everyone to the trough, which seems a notion that us Baby Boomers and our parents have dug into like contestants at a pie-eating contest. As long as I get a $300 tax cut, I don’t care that Fortune 500 CEOs get million-dollar tax cuts. So long as everyone gets a share.
And why the younger generation doesn’t hold their parents and grandparents in utter contempt escapes me. We have borrowed heavily, as in HEAVILY!!!, from China, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Great Britain, and Mexico, and it’s the kids who will come behind us who will be forced to somehow pay the horribly obscene tab for their parents’ and grandparents’ irresponsible profligacy. Debts come with interest owed; interest the international market demands.
The same dollar, whether borrowed or from current revenues, cannot be spent twice. Even were it not for the stupidity of an Iraq that has now descended to saving only our country’s pride and the legacy of a Bush-Cheney led cabal of glassy-eyed Republicans we’d be in a caravan headed like Wily Coyote over the cliff or into a mountainside against which is only painted the entrance to a tunnel exit. Our transportation and water and sewer system infrastructure are old. They haven’t been maintained. Our military is shot, according to every general’s and study groups’ reports, and will necessitate hundreds of billions to resuscitate. Competitively, we are woefully behind half the countries on earth for broadband, and day by day we are falling ever farther behind. As a nation, educationally we are also in their dust when it comes to developing the scientists and engineers that we will have to have in the decades ahead. We cannot be a country of Wal-mart greeters and shoppers, and survive. And the Boomers are also going to begin falling apart mentally and physically, and relatively few have prepared themselves financially for the months and, for many, years in expensive custodial care facilities. As we don’t seem eager for plopping our aged infirm on the fewer and fewer ice flows and wishing them a fond adieu as they float out of sight, someone is going to have to pay that tab also. Right now it’s Medicaid. But, surprise, surprise, as with Medicare and Social Security, that’s in deep trouble too.
And the Republicans before their individual lecterns yesterday just kept right on a singing their happy song and raising each other in the poker game of who did and would cut taxes the most because “Deficits don’t matter!” The tragedy, however is, for the younger generation, it ain’t gonna be a game. I just don’t think today’s kids are going to smile and holler “Way to go Mom and Dad,” when the international waiters hand them the bill for their parents’ mindless capriciousness.— Ed Tubbs