A long time ago I read an account of barbarian soldiers sacking a civilized city. The soldiers ripped plumbing fixtures off the walls to take with them, apparently not realizing faucets don’t work if they aren’t attached to water pipes.
House Republicans hacking away at the budget remind me of those barbarian soldiers. They are ripping stuff out in apparent ignorance of how it works and what the consequences could be.
Last month, House Republicans decided to hack the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by $
126 $454 million. This is the parent agency of the National Weather Service, which in turn oversees the National Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.
Democrats, on offense for a change, sent out a press release earlier this week pointing out that GOP budget cuts were defunding the tsunami warning system.
Now some Republicans are all huffy about that, saying Dems are playing a dirty trick. For example, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) said that she only voted to cut the funding of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “There is nothing anywhere that states tsunami warnings systems should be cut,â€ her spokesperson said.
In other words, she voted for all those cuts without bothering to find out exactly what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does, and what programs she might actually be axing. And she still doesn’t seem to know.
At Faux News, James P. Pinkerton scoffed at the Democrats’ memo, calling it an example of “Washington Monument Syndrome.”
That is, if the Interior Department, for example, were confronted with the slightest of budget cuts, the Secretary of Interior would gravely warn the would-be budget-cutters that if the proposed cuts go through, the Department would have no choice but to shut down the Washington Monument, or Mt. Rushmore, or any other popular and visible Interior Department property.
I say Pinkerton suffers from the “free lunch” syndrome, or the belief that if he stops paying taxes the government will somehow continue to take care the nice stuff that he likes, like Mt. Rushmore. But it’s a fact that if the GOP continues to hack money away from the National Park Service, eventually monuments will fall into ruin and parks will have to be closed. I understand a lot of parks are operating on half a shoestring as it is.
Cuts to the National Weather Service also could affect hurricane and tornado alertness, as well as the quality of information needed daily by people like farmers and airline companies. So cutting that budget could harm a lot of people. Yes, it’s possible someone with thorough understanding of what NOAA does could comb through its budget and find some items that could be cut without serious consequences. But you know the House Republicans didn’t do that. Hack!
Getting back to plumbing — a better analogy to what Republicans are doing is cutting the budget for the city waterworks and then saying it’s not their fault if your drinking water is brown. Of course, it probably wouldn’t turn brown right away; it might take a few years for the aeration system to break down completely. Until then, they’ll assure you that everything is just fine, and those crazy people who say the water is getting dirty just want to make you pay more taxes.
And when the water does turn brown, they’ll find some way to blame a Democrat for it.