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William Rivers Pitt: The Sequester is Good for You, and Other GOP Lies

William Rivers Pitt: This is all happening because the GOP would have us all believe that the country is broke.

Let me see if I have this right.

A generation of GOP trickle-down economic thievery depth-charged the American economy and set the nation trembling on the edge of collapse, combined a decade ago with massive GOP-supported tax cuts and two brutally expensive GOP-supported wars that eviscerated the Clinton budget surplus. This was followed by five years of the GOP filibustering everything and the sink in the men’s room in order to thwart any genuine economic recovery, because they did not want the president to get the credit, and be damned to the people. Today, that same GOP has forced the country into this sequester nonsense because, according to their bastard gospel, closing tax loopholes for rich people and corporations in order to curb the debt they accrued makes the Baby Jesus cry.

The teeth of the sequester have not yet fully sunk in – most workers facing furloughs receive a 30-day notice before getting booted off the job – but the pain is on the way. Before too much time passes, there will be fewer air traffic controllers in the towers, so if you plan on flying later in the year, make sure your will is up to date…and bring a good book, because fewer controllers means less flights, and long delays for everyone, everywhere.

Looming cuts and furloughs at the Environmental Protection Agency will, among other things, hinder that agency’s ability to warn people when smog levels in cities become dangerous to children, the elderly and the infirm. But pollution isn’t really a problem, because climate change is a myth, right? Just take shallow breaths, and think happy thoughts.

The cuts and furloughs slated to affect the US Department of Agriculture will make things interesting during barbecue season, when a dearth of food inspectors will force the closure of meat and poultry plants all across the country. But hey, lower inspection rates and the inevitable food shortages to follow are the price we pay for this glorious new smaller government, yes? Keep those damn government hands off your hamburger, and if you get an e-coli infection and your organs start to fail, there’s always Obamacare to catch you before you fall. Oh, and remember: the GOP is the party of small business, so if you own or work at a restaurant that loses business because the food shortages are screwing the inventory, just remember that this is all for your own good.

Oh, yeah, and whatever you do, don’t get sick. Cuts to hospital funding and staffing are acute, and will hit hard all across the country. Don’t lose your job, because job placement programs all across the country will take a sizeable hit as well…and if you’re looking for work, good luck, because it’s about to get a whole lot harder.

The list goes on.

This is all happening because the GOP – in particular, the majority in the House of Representatives – would have us all believe that the country is broke, and so government must be starved and pruned in order to bring balance to things. If they have their way in this, they will implement the Paul Ryan budget plan, which essentially calls for the annihilation of the social contract that has been the single most civilizing influence on the country in its history.

We can’t have these things because we’re broke, they say.


Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, just released his final report to Congress. You remember Iraq, right? That place we invaded ten years ago this month and razed to the ground? Well, it seems we’ve spent some $60 billion on building it back up again (the lion’s share of that money going to a bunch of the same corporations which profited wildly off the war itself) to very little appreciable gain.

To wit: the contractors took a bunch of the money, the corrupt government we created during the war stole a bunch more, and we gained with that expenditure a nifty pile of nothing much, even as we were spending approximately $15 million a day.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that we have spent $767 billion in Iraq since the invasion. The National Priorities Project, a US-based research firm, puts the number at $811 billion.

Make no mistake: Iraq was a Republican war, championed by Republicans, advocated by Republicans, defended by Republicans, which paid out vast sums of taxpayer dollars to corporate friends of Republicans. Anyone who says, “But the Democrats did it, too,” fine, OK, please name for me the Democrats umbilically connected to Halliburton and KBR. I’ll wait.

Now these same Republicans have delivered us into this sequester because they say we can’t afford things like Medicare, Social Security, clean air, safe food, the Post Office, staffed control towers, jobs, and adequate hospital care.

The greed frenzy of trickle-down nonsense. Two massive tax cuts, and two wars. Rampant war profiteering. Comprehensive obstructionism in Congress when presented with any effective proposals for salvaging the economy. Now, the sequester, all brought to you by your friends in the GOP, who tell us that we’re broke, and can’t afford nice things anymore…but whatever you do, don’t look at all the ways we throw billions at our friends through the money laundering process of warfare and militarization.

Yeah, I have this right.

Just remember: this is all for your own good.

Or something.

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