Sometimes I feel sorry for those who are tasked with picking the recipient of the Kennedy Library annual Profile In Courage Award. From what we see recently in this country, there are certainly not a lot of candidates around. When they do begin their searching my best guess is that they will spend about 5 minutes in the political class these days. The original book written by then Senator Kennedy told stories of eight senators who stood against their parties and much of the nation to make and stand for decisions of conscience.
Who in the Senate recently has made real stands of courage? My list begins and ends at Bernie Sanders. On a scale, Democrats of today tower over Republicans, but are still deeply in the shade of many of the giants of the past. Republicans of today are simply down in the mud slithering with cowards of the past such as Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. Yes even our own Chuck Greassley crawls in the slime, scared to death of the Tea Party and their band of crazies. Long past time he or someone in that party stand up to them.
Let’s Not Forget Where The Debt Came From
Just in case you forgot the debt that suddenly seems to be of utmost importance to Republicans for the most part came from the wild spending and massive tax cuts for the rich that Republicans have pushed over the years. This was part of what called Reaganomics under Ronald Reagan and called Voodoo economics by George H.W. Bush.
Reagan spent like a crazy man on weapons then realized he couldn’t keep it up without raising taxes. And so he did raise taxes in what are now the bforgotten years by Republicans. Following Reagan, Bush & Bush feared raising taxes and they drove the debt to stratospheric levels. Clinton raised taxes and had us on a glide path to ending the debt. So real was that possibility that a commission was enpaneled to figure out what to do when the country was out of debt.
Taxes? We Can’t Have Taxes!
Funny that even though the Republican Party is so scared of the debt they still will not say the word TAX! Reagan taxed and taxed because he feared too much debt. He just spent much faster than he taxed. Clinton taxed and at the same time cut spending. Obama has drastically cut spending from the Bush days. But his administration is hamstrung on taxing anyone in the top 20% by Republican obstructionism.
If Republicans were truly concerned about the debt they would do three things:
1) they would raise taxes on the rich. I would like to see Nixon levels, but Reagan levels would be a start.
2) they would drastically cut the Pentagon budget, and put them on a serious accounting system where billions can’t just disappear.
3) they would invest in education and research so our economy will continue to grow with new discoveries. As our education goes down, so will our economy in the future. As our research goes down so new products will be introduced in other countries.
Were this a true crisis we would be attacking it with vigor as Jack Kennedy would say. We would use every means at our disposal to meet the challenge including taxes on the wealthy, cutting the bloated sacred cow Pentagon and investing in areas where we will see a return on investment such as education and scientific inquiry. Until you hear a Republican say those things you can be sure they are not serious. You may laugh right in their faces, because all they care about is making rich people richer and getting rewarded for it.