Tuesday, November 9, 2010


As is the case with many other Americans, I found myself paying more attention to the recent mid-term elections than any other mid-terms I can remember. I kept hearing Republican candidates insist that government spending was out of control, and if elected, they would make spending cuts “across the board.” So, we waited for some specifics on those across the board cuts. Would they cut entitlements? Would Social Security and Medicare take hits? Would veteran benefits be cut? Would salaries for U.S. military personnel be reduced? What? We never quite got the answers we were waiting for. Now the elections are over, and the GOP emerged victorious. As you can imagine, reporters are doggedly in pursuit of information about what will be cut. But the legislators are tap dancing around the question. Listen to Anderson Cooper fight the good fight to get Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) to get specific about planned GOP cuts. The interview starts at 1:41.

NBC’s David Gregory had similar challenges getting S. Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint to spill the beans on planned spending cuts. And Christine Amanpour didn’t get any further in her efforts with newly minted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to ante up on where the cuts would be made. Watch:

It is bad enough that our elected officials won't come clean about their real intentions, but it gets worse. Just this week the Republican Study Committee (don't feel bad; I've never heard of it either) recommended cutting a welfare program that could save us $2.5 billion every year. Oh, but see, there was just one problem. It turns out that this particular program, called the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) expired on September 30. I'm thinking the Study committee needs to go to detention. What do you think?

So…call me crazy, but it appears the GOP simply told many Americans what they wanted to hear – that the budget would be balanced (although all of us know this is not possible right now); that Social Security is safe, that Medicare is safe, that veterans are safe. Who or what is not safe? If we need to cut trillions, we can’t really do that by trimming the President’s security detail, watching out for overpriced Amtrak tickets and cutting Federal jobs, which would do nothing more than drive up unemployment. And we can't save much money by cutting programs that no longer exist. Is it just me, or were we just bamboozled by some disingenuous legislators?

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