Cover of "The Gilded Age," a novel by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner published in 1873. Image courtesy of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College.
You know why it was called the Gilded Age, right?
Santayana’s Ghost keeps telling me the Republicans don’t know why. Republicans as a rule do not read Mark Twain, so it’s a cinch they’ve never read Mark Twain plus Charles Dudley Warner.
Mark Twain, who wrote the novel, The Gilded Age, with Charles Dudley Warner. Twain wrote of the Republican Manifesto earlier: "What is the chief end of man?--to get rich. In what way? -- dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must." Image from Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut, via PBS
Still, don’t you recall with some fondness the Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford years, when Republicans at least pretended not to be grand misanthropes? Do you remember that? Nixon tried to make nicey-nice with conservationists and environmentalists, expanding the National Parks and creating the Environmental Protection Agency (fitting, since the environmental movement had been born among and from wealthy and smart Republicans); even after killing the air traffic controllers union, Ronald Reagan enjoyed easy camradary with Teamsters, and to some degree, even with the heads of the AFL-CIO. Reagan encouraged and signed a jobs training bill, and signed our first home health care law, making it possible for people to go home to die, where they ironically lived much longer than in hospitals, but at much reduced cost to Medicare.
Forget those days. Forget that human compassion. Today’s conservatives don’t have time for the wimpiness of Ronald Reagan.
Did you see the full list of proposed agency cuts the Republicans tried to pin on the 2011 appropriations bill, H.R. 1?
Here’s the entire list, from OMB Watch: OMB_Watch-HR1_Policy_Riders (April 7, 2011). I’m sure OMB Watch has a bias, but the descriptions of the cuts are so balanced and neutral that they may hide some of the more unscrupulous, Scroogey actions.
In consumer protection, for example, Republicans inexplicably oppose the creation of watchdogs to prevent another housing bubble — are Republicans protecting criminals here?
Prohibits the Federal Reserve from transferring more than $80 million to the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, Sec. 1517
Prohibits funds for a government sponsored “consumer products complaints database,” Sec. 4046.
No one to prevent new crimes, and no collecting of information to warn consumers of dangerous products. Wonderful.
Prohibits funds to take any action to effect or implement the disestablishment, closure or realignment of the US Joint Forces Command. Sec. 4020
No, no, don’t want the Pentagon to save money — heaven knows, wasting money at the Pentagon is flag-waving patriotism — so let’s ban the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, from making changes that save money. It’s in the Bible that this must be done, I’m sure.
Prohibits funds for implementing a provision specific to the State of Texas in the “Education Job Fund.” Sec. 4051
After claiming he wouldn’t accept “bailouts” from the federal government, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accepted money from Congress to prevent the loss of teaching jobs — but then threw the money into a different pot, so teachers were not protected. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, amended the last appropriation bill to say that Texas can’t take money from the teachers — but the Republicans want to allow Perry to take the money, and keep it from the teachers, again. It’s the old playground game where the big kids play keep away from a little kid. It’s vicious, of course, and should be criminal — but the older kids have a lot of fun.
Prohibits funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program or the State Energy Program. Sec. 1434
Let the poor people freeze in the dark — they all vote Democratic, anyway. But wait! Tea Partiers, fresh from the Mad Hatter’s, say that global warming will take care of the poor people! No need for weatherization.
Prohibits funding for various environmental projects in California. Sec. 1475
Prohibits funding for a climate change czar in the White House. Sec. 1535
Prohibits funding for EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases. Sec. 1746
Oh, well, maybe there isn’t any global warming. Yeah, this is contrary to what the Republicans said about warming keeping the poor from needing weatherization — but they’re just poor people, the Republicans say. Let ’em get a job! (Where? Not the problem of Republicans; Republicans identified that the poor need to get a job, and that should be the limit of federal action . . .).
This morning on CBS, New York Sen. Charles Schumer said he would not list cuts until he sees a final copy of the bill. Probably wise — but it’s also almost a cinch that almost all of the cuts will be mean-spirited, worthy of Ebenezer Scrooge before his conversion, and damaging to the U.S. people and the U.S. economy.
What in the hell is going on in Washington?
Tip of the old scrub brush to Jean Detjen, protecting the nation from being over-run by Canadians up there in the north, in Wisconsin.