When in doubt, always follow the money trail to find the Rhubarb. Trust me on this one. I am sure it will lead you to plenty of tasty treats over which legislators (and lobbyists) will wage battles that will, in the end, rarely accomplish much of anything for the benefit of their constituents. On the top of that list of battles these days is health care reform. Yes we can? No we can’t? Maybe we will? Do our legislators have any clue?
In this episode, let’s take a quick and annoying peek at what our reps are up to on the state and national levels. Between health care reform nationally and super-sized budget deficits in the state of Texas, we have plenty of hypocrisy to roll our eyes over.
1. On a national note: the Republican Party has decided that now that they run the show (in the House, anyways), it’s time to shut down the health care reform bill. “Repeal” they shouted from the rooftops. So that was they first thing they did. They had barely even warmed up their seats, and they were already raising arms high in the air to vote down the reform. Of course, the repeal almost certainly won’t make it through the Senate, and if it did, there is always the Presidential veto. What this does amount to is more time (and taxpayer dollars) spent by legislators to simply stand still.
Rep. Michael Grimm is convinced that, based on his math, the reform would put the country in dire economic trouble. Apparently, Rep. Grimm simply ignores the 17% of GDP (and growing) now being spent on health care – about 7 to 10% greater than most other nations. As they say, you can pay me now, or pay me later. They just don’t get it.
But wait! The Republican party suddenly has a “plan” for it’s own version of health care reform. This is the same group of people that stonewalled any and all reform discussions, would barely sit down at the table for those discussions, ranted and raved like children having a temper tantrum (did House Speaker Boehner shed a few crocodile tears too?). Now, miraculously, voila, they have the solution to health care reform and world hunger. Amazing. Sorry, I am fed up with tax dollars being spent to have legislators in Washington “work for me”. Cut the lobbyists dollars and let the legislators truly get back to working for their constituents. Novel concept, indeed.
2. And in the state of Texas, look no further than Governor Rick Perry for some delightful Rhubarb. Just when you thought that Washington had all the legislative “excitement” (and I use that term loosely as well), take a gander at our own backyard political wasteland.
There is a rather large budget deficit that needs to be sorted out - something in the range of $15 to $27 billion dollars by most estimates. Now that is a Texas-sized deficit.
I guess when you have a deficit like that, it only makes sense to put voter ID as a first priority of the new session, right? Hello? Better yet, let’s grant emergency status to a bill that would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child prior to an abortion. You can debate these issues all you want, for or against, but that’s not the point right now. I just don’t understand how these issues can even remotely resemble a Governor’s legislative priority right now when a huge budget deficit threatens schools, state employees, and many government programs affecting many citizens of the state.
Now they could cut some dollars out of the budget by limiting the work on the Governor’s mansion …
3. But wait a minute, this gets even better. Governor Perry – who presents himself as a leading expert on the Constitution (remember his diatribes on the Tenth Amendment?) – fast-tracked a proposed balanced budget constitutional amendment. Of course, this becomes all the more humorous when you look at his current budget deficit.
4. Governor Perry opposed all the federal stimulus plan dollars. Or, at least he did so in the public eye. Didn’t he start a petition entitled “No Government Bailouts”? He hates them so much that, well, when the money was available, he snatched it up anyways. There was the $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money that stopped the bleeding on the $6.6 billion shortfall for the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year. Show me the money! But I guess THAT money, THAT stimulus money, must have been ok.
Don’t you just love the hypocrisy? Same rhubarb, different day.
Photo credits: truthout.org