Monday, January 13, 2014

Making the Cut

Last week, we couldn't help but notice an "important speech on poverty and the role of government" by none other than Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida). Why is he so "concerned about poverty" now? And why is he advocating policies that would actually worsen economic inequality in this nation?

And it's not just Senator Rubio any more. House G-O-TEA "leaders" Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) piled on last week with their prescriptions for escalating austerity "fighting poverty". And like Rubio's "great ideas", their "great ideas" would likely only worsen economic inequality.

So why are these G-O-TEA politicians suddenly feigning interest in "fighting poverty"? Their sacred policies point in the other direction. Are they just trying to put a more compassionate face on their austere policies? Is this yet another reincarnation of Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy"? Might it be a rather sordid combination of the two?

It seems all too politically convenient that this new campaign of "conservative solutions to poverty" is happening just as an extension of unemployment insurance (UI) is increasingly at risk of dying on the vine in Congress. Already, 1.3 million Americans are suffering because their UI expired. And if the UI extension remains expired this year, we can expect to lose at least 0.2% of GDP growth in 2014.

Once again, Republican infighting and "TEA" flavored chaos have thrown a monkey wrench into the US economic machine. This time, it's causing unnecessary pain & suffering for the jobless... And it risks spreading the pain to the entire economy. Even as Senator Dean Heller (R) and a few other Congressional Republicans are calling for UI extension, the Puri-TEA Brigade won't accept anything less than another round of economy-crippling austerity simply for the ideology behind it while others will only accept UI extension if it's tied to a few austerity laced "pay-for's". Needless to say, the Republican Party's ongoing political identity crisis has succeeded in manufacturing another unnecessary crisis.

But since (surprise, surprise) this latest & greatest manufactured crisis isn't polling well, Republican strategists are looking to ways to change the media narrative. So voilĂ , Marco Rubio & Paul Ryan & other top G-O-TEA "leaders" take to the stage to proclaim their "conservative" solutions to poverty!

Unfortunately for them, the Golden Globes were last night. And Academy Award nominations are probably being finalized as we speak. So they probably won't make the cut (even as they keep trying to cut further into America's social safety net).

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