When Adults Make Decisions

As Egypt continues to unravel, some rightie bloggers have seized a story at Huffington Post to bash the Obama Administration. The article says that in 2009 the Obama Administration deeply cut money for programs designed to promote democracy in Egypt, partly at the urging of the embassy in Cairo.

Now, in retrospect, the White House might deeply regret that decision. But, y’know, that’s how it is with cutting government programs. It isn’t painless.

Sen. Rand Paul last week (before Egypt began to unravel) was marching around boldly declaring that all foreign aid should be cut, which would include what’s left of the programs to promote democracy. And, y’know, in their speeches Republicans are gung-ho for cutting just about all government spending that’s not attached to a defense contract.

But when some program is cut, and there’s a detrimental effect as a result, Republicans turn around and scream about government incompetence.

(BTW, our buddy the brilliant Jim Hoft strikes again — he begins his bashing of Obama with “Obama failed to support the people of Georgia when Russian tanks plowed across the border,” which happened in 2008. I don’t remember what Obama might have said about it, but George W. Bush was still POTUS at the time.)

They did the same thing with the cuts to Medicare Advantage in the Affordable Care Act. Lots of people do like their Medicare Advantage plans, but it’s hard to justify taxpayer subsidy of them when the same benefits cost less when provided by regular Medicare. So, cutting Medicare Advantage subsidies (eventually a Medicare Advantage plan will cost taxpayers the same as a regular Medicare plan) was kind of a no-brainer, except to Republicans, who played up the cuts in their campaign against Health Care Reform.

Ironically, the much-celebrated “roadmap” of Paul Ryan would do away with Medicare entirely, although you don’t hear that spoken out loud by Republicans much.

For the record, regarding foreign aid — I’d like to cut back on military aid and use the money for medical, nutritional, educational, and other non-military assistance.

11 thoughts on “When Adults Make Decisions

  1. We had a good look at what Conservative “adults” would do.
    And did!
    After a couple of weeks of war in two countries, we occupied them, badly, for over a decade in on case, and almost one in the other.
    We’re still there. And likely to be there for years.
    These “adults” also deregulated to the point where one guy, ONE GUY, created a 75 Billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
    Wars and deregulaton weren’t enough – they needed something else to prop up the worst President in history. So they created a real estate bubble to mask the fact that the middle class was standing on the edge of a precipice, and had been getting closer and closer (with an 8 year break) since their sainted saint of all saints, Saint Ronnie Reagan. And that was the final push for many, as they went over the brink and fell.
    The hard work, as usual, falls to the Democrats, and it has only just begun.
    We shall see…

    Having said all that, there’s an entertainment value to Republicans and their Teabagger wing. There’s the new crop of House and Senate bozo’s, to add the already overcrowded Republican clown car in both houses – good for a few laughs, until you realize they have some control over things in this country. And, between their denial of science and evolution, and their little tri-cornered hats and 18th Century outfits, mis-spelled signs, they are amusing. Racist, sexist, xenophobic, and ignorant, but if you can overlook all of that – they are still amusing, to some degree.
    They remind me of sports fans, especially in their love of America. They’re like the fans you see on TV, wearing cheeseheads, or painting pinstripes on their bodies, or painting their entire bodies in team colors, carrying stupid signs and holding them up to the camera. God, do they love their team, and Lord do they want it to win. USA! USA!! USA!!!
    Now, I enjoy sitting next these meatheads in a stadium, or watch them strain to spell J-E T-S on my TV, but I don’t want them coaching my team.
    Let them sit on the sidelines and cheer, or boo, which they also really love to do. But please, let’s be serious here people, do you want that drunken imbecile trying to pick his/her nose with their foam “We’re # 1” finger to lead your team?
    So why do we elect these people own or coach our team?

  2. Gulag: Speaking of Michele Bachman, you may remember:

    Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, following Rush Limbaugh’s cue, suggested on Tuesday that President Obama was to blame for the swine flu crisis. She went even farther than the talk show host, implying that swine flu epidemics are a Democratic phenomenon that dates back to President Carter.

    “I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

    Unfortunately, Bachmann’s facts are a little off. As Glenn Thrush notes, Republican President Gerald Ford, not Carter, led the country during the last outbreak of the virus.


    As for the $75 billion Ponzi scheme you’ve mentioned above (Madoff?), that’s small potatoes. The sum of the Wall Street Ponzi schemes created just during the Bush administration is estimated to have a paper value of $500 trillion, about eight times the size of the world’s economy.


    Of course, that’s just an estimate.

    Much as we all hate Bush Jr, the debacle began much earlier – it’s been 30 years in the making. Round One began with Saint Ronnie’s deregulation that brought about the Savings & Loan crisis in late 1980s, (which blew up on Bush Sr and helped make him a one-term president). Clinton learned nothing from that and followed the advice of serial bubble-blowers Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, deregulating Wall Street (notably by administratively trashing the Glass-Steagall Act). The first warning sign was the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, but Clinton pushed forward with full repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999. In April 2000, the dot-com bubble collapsed. Enron’s spectacular collapse in 2001 (and Worldcom in 2002) should have been sufficient warning of all the creative accounting on Wall Street, but Bush Jr took no heed, except to deregulate even more, and actually sued New York to prevent Elliot Spitzer from enforcing state laws against banking fraud.

    And now here we are with Obama, who is as keen as his predecessor to hide Wall Street’s accounting fraud as long as possible. Bank accounting rules were changed in 2009 to make this easier, and banks dumped their bad paper on Fannie/Freddie. Even though inherited most of the problems, he will get the blame if it blows up on his watch just as Bush Sr did when Reagan blew up the S&Ls. So Obama will keep throwing money at Wall Street, hoping to kick the can further down the road. He would be wise not to run for re-election, but I expect he will indeed run (and lose).

    President Sarah Palin (maybe) will no doubt grant Wall Street’s wish to revive Bush Jr’s aborted attempt to blow a final colossal bubble by repealing Social Security/Medicare and instead giving working people “vouchers” which must be invested in the stock market. This assumes, of course, that there will be anything left of the USA to invest in.

  3. I am confused. The wingnuts are upset that we cut funding to a program to promote democracy in Egypt. At the moment, Egypt is poised to at least allow, possibly embrace in a new constitution, self determination. Elections. Democracy.

    SO either the programs we were funding worked, or Egypt didn’t need them. Either way, I don’t see how any rational person (oops, I see my mistake) can construe the situation in Egypt as Obama’s fault.

    • Either way, I don’t see how any rational person (oops, I see my mistake) can construe the situation in Egypt as Obama’s fault.

      Frankly, it appears to me that Obama’s policies in Egypt were/are not substantially different from Bush’s policies in Egypt. Or Bill Clinton’s policies in Egypt, for that matter. Some tweaks, some difference in tone and style, but I don’t see a radical difference. The plan all along has been to nudge Mubarak toward democratic reform and somehow reduce the influence of Islamic radicals. Overall, the current violence tells us the policies did not work as planned, but this is not necessarily because they were bad policies.

  4. Doug…I’m confused also. What the wingnuts are whining about doesn’t make sense. I guess the only sense that can be made of it is that if Obama did it — it’s wrong!

  5. (BTW, our buddy the brilliant Jim Hoft strikes again — he begins his bashing of Obama with “Obama failed to support the people of Georgia when Russian tanks plowed across the border,” which happened in 2008. I don’t remember what Obama might have said about it, but George W. Bush was still POTUS at the time.)

    Wasn’t the deal there that McCain was walking around saying We’re all Georgians! and challenging Obama to follow suit? And then it turned out that that was because one of his top advisers was a paid lobbyist for Georgia?

    Yup, that’s about it.

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  7. I discovered some time ago that these people have few principals. They don’t stand for much of anything. This example is no different than a thousand other things that could be mentioned. The healthcare law is a prime example.
    They have no core and I care less what they think at this point for that very reason. They have become absolutely nonsensical but for some strange reason they seem to have no embarrassment.
    Still, it’s this kind of stuff that needs to be shoved in their face over and over again, so thanks.

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