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"Operation Offset"
September 27, 2005 4:37 PM   Subscribe

"Operation Offset" is what the Republicans are calling their budget cut plan to pay for Hurricane Katrina. Will there be tax cuts for the rich? Nope. The great majority of the proposed cuts target the elderly and the poor, heavily targeting Medicare. They eliminate all federal funding for energy conservation, the "Energy Star" program, energy efficient vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, high-speed rail, light rail, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, AmeriCorps, the "Even Start" program, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, security/anti-drug funding for innercity schools, and all federal loans to grad students. Also facing cuts are the Global AIDS Initiative, the EPA, the Center for Disease Control, pensions and healthcare plans for retired federal workers, job programs and revitalization funds for poor neighborhoods, the school lunch program, community health centers, and health care for soldiers.
posted by insomnia_lj (120 comments total)

 
Damn. The republicans are fucking idiots.
posted by chunking express at 4:42 PM on September 27, 2005


Well, if you kept all those social programs, you couldn't have the oh-so-necessary corporate welfare programs that allow CEOs to retain their jobs despite showing all the business acumen of a George W. Bush, so if you're not a corporate entity you can pretty much go Cheney yourself...
posted by clevershark at 4:42 PM on September 27, 2005


All right! Bring it on, you bastards! Time to kick some ass.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:42 PM on September 27, 2005


What a surprise! You just never know what those folks will come up with. They are inventive and always keep you off guard in their imaginative ramblings.
posted by Postroad at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2005


I'm all for lower taxes really I am but sometimes, just sometimes you have to tax corporations to balance your budget. especially when they have record earnings just about every year.
posted by Rubbstone at 4:48 PM on September 27, 2005


Can't let social programs and domestic disasters get in the way of a ridiculously expensive quagmire of a war. Gotta set priorities.
posted by Rothko at 4:48 PM on September 27, 2005


The Sheriff of Nottingham will be around shortly to begin the collections.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:49 PM on September 27, 2005


Wow. This is really going to help these shitheads during the next elections...
posted by c13 at 4:50 PM on September 27, 2005


Wait, I'm confused. Are there going to be no tax cuts for the rich or no tax increases? Because I'd think it's a relatively good thing that there weren't going to be any tax cuts for the rich.
posted by Sinner at 4:51 PM on September 27, 2005


Jeeeeeesus! One disaster followed up by the intentional infliction of another disaster.

This people live on another fucking planet. Though some of these "measures" should have been in place long ago, like the $8.5 billion wasted each year on unverified earned income tax credits. But underfunding the Center for Disease Control by $2 billion a year for ten years? Are these dumbshits unaware that there are more and more dangerous outbreaks every year? And why don't we just shoot the children instead of underfunding and eliminating all those programs?

Man, I've seen some ridiculous things in my lifetime but this ranks in the top three easily!
posted by fenriq at 4:51 PM on September 27, 2005


So the "savings" from cutting these programs go straight to the non-competetively granted Halliburton contract, right?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:51 PM on September 27, 2005


Also cut Love, Happiness and the Brotherhood of Man. So tighten your belts and stop smiling.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:55 PM on September 27, 2005




WTF? So what, college students *don't* make an informed decision? And a country's future does not depend on the future of graduate students? We really don't need any more doctors or engineers or scientists?

posted by c13 at 4:59 PM on September 27, 2005


Sinner writes "Wait, I'm confused. Are there going to be no tax cuts for the rich or no tax increases?"

Good point. Shrub, showing his usual aptitude for economics, has reiterated his desire to see his tax cuts made permanent many a time.
posted by clevershark at 4:59 PM on September 27, 2005


Ahem.. something didn't work right.. I was just quoting the document.
posted by c13 at 5:01 PM on September 27, 2005


Well somebody's gotta pay for all those fat reconstruction contracts that Haliburton has won untendered. Might as well be the poor, the elderly and the environment.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 5:01 PM on September 27, 2005


I assume that useless bridge to nowhere in Alaska won't get cut.
posted by jefbla at 5:02 PM on September 27, 2005


As ThinkProgress notes, the "Operation Offset" plan would reduce the budget by $500B over ten years...and that rolling back the '01 and '03 tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans, clarifying the definition of offshore tax shelters, allowing mail-order prescription-drug purchases would save $435 billion (to say nothing of unnecessary defense programs and export subsidies) but they're not going to do that.
posted by Vidiot at 5:04 PM on September 27, 2005


jefbla writes "I assume that useless bridge to nowhere in Alaska won't get cut."

If the bridge to nowhere gets cut, that would send the wrong message and mean that the terrorists have already won!
posted by clevershark at 5:04 PM on September 27, 2005


Well, it also calls for the elimination of NASA's next moon fiasco, elimination of automatic pay raises in Congress, and eliminating the stupid federal anti-drug PSAs (they say: "There is no solid evidence that media campaigns are effective in either preventing or reducing the use of illegal drugs"). So, you know, this scheme isn't *entirely* on the backs of the poor and disabled.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:05 PM on September 27, 2005


Well, let's not be hasty here, there are over $5 billion in cuts listed under "Eliminating Corporate Welfare".

Too bad that that's just 5% of the total cuts on their wishlist and it counts things like grants for various clean energy and transportation initatives, as well as remove federal fee exemptions from government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. An interesting side-effect of the last would be to make those institutions less attractive when compared to the private lenders on Wall Street.

And to be somewhat snarky, I do like this line, justifying a cut in aid to Egypt, "Egyptian authorities continue to mistreat and torture prisoners, arbitrarily arrest and detain persons, hold detainees in prolonged pretrial detention, and occasionally engage in mass arrests without charge." Would that we held our own spending to such account.

c13: More graduate students would mean more hands to teach about evolution, man.
posted by Mercaptan at 5:07 PM on September 27, 2005


Upon further reading, they really don't think we need scientists anymore, since they want to eliminate the NSF.

Is this thing for real? I have hard time beliving..
posted by c13 at 5:07 PM on September 27, 2005


Vidiot, of course they're not going to make their pals foot the bill, they have to see them at cocktail parties and at the club. They'll screw over the people they'll never see or meet, as always.

jefbla, if anything, they'll expand the bridge project.
posted by fenriq at 5:07 PM on September 27, 2005


"I assume that useless bridge to nowhere in Alaska won't get cut."

You can follow the status of the bridge to nowhere and other pork at Porkbusters.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:07 PM on September 27, 2005


At least you have to give them credit for showing absolutely no shame in their political shenanigans. If they say it enough, do it enough, it must be true.

Watch and wonder in amazement.
posted by vannsant at 5:11 PM on September 27, 2005


Mmm, porkbusters.
posted by Sinner at 5:11 PM on September 27, 2005


God damn they are clever. Most of these are cuts in programs they've been after forever, and now they have a "good" reason. They get a public outcry in favor of military response to domestic problems, the budget cuts they want, and even some bullshit but widely accepted blame for environmentalism.

And they get to act like it's all being forced on them. You've got to admire the advantage they're deriving from an act of god.
posted by freebird at 5:14 PM on September 27, 2005


Eliminate Funding for Penile Implants Under Medicare
According to the Medicare National Coverage Determinations Manual, Medicare will cover the costs of penile implantations under certain circumstances. Congress should eliminate funding for penile implants. Savings: $8 million over ten years ($4 million over five years)


too easy, pass.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:16 PM on September 27, 2005


RJ Reymolds,
While there are a handful of reasonable cuts in the package, the cuts you mentioned only make up 4.7% of the total cuts.

Should we call this plan 95.3% asinine and heartless, or are there any other cuts the Republican leadership has proposed that you like here?
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:17 PM on September 27, 2005


'Oh look, the ship is sinking, lets make the hole bigger'
Typical republican logic. . . Racing blindly into a brick wall. . . This would be funny if it were fiction. . .
posted by mk1gti at 5:18 PM on September 27, 2005


And don't forget, along with these cuts, let's beef up the miltary so that they can help out in times of domestic crises.

And they wonder why people say that 1984 is here and now.
posted by redbeard at 5:21 PM on September 27, 2005


You wankers just don't get it do you? Being rich is hard work. Of course they shouldn't have to pay all that tax or any tax for that matter. We should all feel honored to have them allow us to serve them. I for one welcome our rich overlords. And for Jesus sake leave George Bush alone. Being President is hard work. Why should he have to work so hard? Hasn't he appointed people to manage the country? MBA Presidency doncha know.
posted by darkmatter at 5:24 PM on September 27, 2005


One thing I didn't see on there is terminatng the Space Shuttle program in FY06, the cost of which has been asked for by the OMB. Apparently it is still under discussion.

If they cancel both the Shuttle and the Moon/Mars initiative, I think you can pencil in elimination of NASA as well.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 5:25 PM on September 27, 2005


No, the real plan is to cut all of this, then say that we can't really afford to rebuild New Orelans, sorry. In a just country, they'd be thrown out of office, or hauled out onto the streets and strung from lightpoles.

But, since they count the votes and control the police, guess what? You are fucked, the budget is fucked, and New Orleans is *really* fucked.

Trent Lott, however, will get a new house.
posted by eriko at 5:31 PM on September 27, 2005


Budget deficit? Lower taxes on the rich, reduce spending on health and education.

War to pay for? Lower taxes on the rich, reduce spending on health and education.

More corporate paybacks required? Lower taxes on the rich, reduce spending on health and education.

Hurricane? Lower taxes on the rich, reduce spending on health and education.

See a pattern here? And incidentally, no, they won't be shutting down NASA. The Moon Project is one big patriotic firework display, nothing to do with science, everything to do with bread and circuses. They'll find the money for that by, er, cutting funding for health and education.

The remarkable thing is that substantial numbers of Americans keep on voting Republican. At least, that's what the electronic voting machines say.
posted by cleardawn at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2005


Mercaptan writes "And to be somewhat snarky, I do like this line, justifying a cut in aid to Egypt, 'Egyptian authorities continue to mistreat and torture prisoners, arbitrarily arrest and detain persons, hold detainees in prolonged pretrial detention, and occasionally engage in mass arrests without charge.' "

So they no longer qualify for "foreign aid" -- they're now on the fast track to receiving major military partnership funding for the War on Terrah.
posted by clevershark at 5:38 PM on September 27, 2005



posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:39 PM on September 27, 2005


MiltonRandKalman writes "Eliminate Funding for Penile Implants Under Medicare"

I guess they couldn't find a Republican that would fight long and hard for this one (so to speak).
posted by clevershark at 5:40 PM on September 27, 2005


I wonder if Grover Norquist is small enough that you could drown him in a bathtub.

Maybe if he was really small (like, Robert Reich small). Or perhaps if you had a very large bathtub.
posted by clevershark at 5:42 PM on September 27, 2005


"Tough Choices in Tough Times." ??? ... i believe they call this "looting," when other people do it.
posted by arialblack at 5:43 PM on September 27, 2005


Anyone else thinking of the Dead Kennedys?

Efficiency and progress is ours once more
Now that we have the Neutron bomb
It's nice and quick and clean and gets things done
Away with excess enemy
But no less value to property
No sense in war but perfect sense at home:

The sun beams down on a brand new day
No more welfare tax to pay
Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light
Jobless millions whisked away
At last we have more room to play
All systems go to kill the poor tonight

Gonna
Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight

Behold the sparkle of champagne
The crime rate's gone
Feel free again
O' life's a dream with you, Miss Lily White
Jane Fonda on the screen today
Convinced the liberals it's okay
So let's get dressed and dance away the night

While they:
Kill kill kill kill Kill the poor:Tonight

posted by clevershark at 5:45 PM on September 27, 2005


Why is it that when it comes to addressing domestic and social problems, today's Republicans are a bunch of surrender monkeys? Why are we supposed to "stay the course" in Iraq, but not in America?

Even Nixon wouldn't run away from and agressively foment such domestic issues, but today's Republican leaders are literally betraying their country's future, when not actively selling it out to the highest bidder.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:52 PM on September 27, 2005


someone please tell me this is a joke. I don't think I can take this. this party could pass this even if all democrats voted against it and the typical moderate republicans did, too. of course, not all democrats will vote against it because our party likes to kill itself from within.
posted by shmegegge at 5:56 PM on September 27, 2005


but today's Republican leaders are literally betraying their country's future, when not actively selling it out to the highest bidder.

I believe the term is traitor.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 5:57 PM on September 27, 2005


Uh, guys, this is old news.
posted by trey at 5:58 PM on September 27, 2005


The Republican values problem also extends to numeric values. TPM points out how the operation offset congressional aides mixed up their millions and billions and overcounted savings by about a third of a trillion dollars. Whoops.
posted by alms at 6:00 PM on September 27, 2005


Unreal. I am in a state of outrage fatigue.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:11 PM on September 27, 2005


Let's see, who benefits by eliminating the presidential fund checkoff, the rich "we've got guys with bags of money wanting to blow us" Republicans or the poor 'all we got are rich actors" Democrats?
posted by mss at 6:13 PM on September 27, 2005


A sufficiently paranoid person might think that perhaps Katrina worked out to be a convenient excuse upon which to base these sweeping changes.
It's interesting that if the actual goal of this administration were the systematic behind-the-scenes destruction of the United States as a viable nation, they probably could not have done better than they have so far.
posted by nightchrome at 6:13 PM on September 27, 2005


MiltonRandKalman writes "Eliminate Funding for Penile Implants Under Medicare"

Clevershark responds "I guess they couldn't find a Republican that would fight long and hard for this one (so to speak)."


The real problem is the people who have to speak up about this cut have no dicks. Who among will rise up for the Limp Dicks? In actuality the entitlement is redundant as private industry already offering hand jobs to Congress at lower cost.

I'm sorry, I really tried to resist.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:14 PM on September 27, 2005


That proposal lacked firm support. That's one spending item that no amount of soft money could save.
posted by clevershark at 6:18 PM on September 27, 2005


A sufficiently paranoid person might think that perhaps Katrina worked out to be a convenient excuse upon which to base these sweeping changes.

Oh, you don't even have to be paranoid:

"Maybe something good can come from this hurricane," Senator Lindsey Graham (R - S.C.) told FOX News Sunday's Chris Wallace on September 18th.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:20 PM on September 27, 2005


Will the members of Congress also support the non-funding of penile implants for their insurance, too?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:22 PM on September 27, 2005


In light of at least one recent post about "weasel words," I thought it was interesting how many of them are peppered through this absurd document. To quote a few:
"Some contend that by providing failing states with these grants, the federal government is giving the states an incentive to retain poor wastewater treatment infrastructure."
"...many of the farmers to whom financial assistance is given have already adopted conservation practices, and often times adoption of the practices costs less than the assistance subsidy itself."
"Some contend the program does not actually yield any energy savings..."
Is this the standard of proof to which we hold our elected officials?
posted by Vallenwood at 6:23 PM on September 27, 2005


Well that's not a very Christian thing to do.
posted by leapingsheep at 6:33 PM on September 27, 2005


This is fantastic, too:
The United States is the largest financial contributor to the U.N. peacekeeping budget. Current military obligations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including U.S. peacekeeping efforts in the region, are not deducted from what the U.N. assesses the U.S. in dues. Freezing the account maintains current commitments, while recognizing the need for other countries to support additional peacekeeping expenses. Savings: $1.3
billion over ten years ($500 million over five years)


They seem to think that the UN ought to count America's invasion costs for Iraq and Afghanistan as UN peacekeeping costs. And they think there is a "need for other countries" to pay for it. Sure, I can see that going down well in Beijing, and Berlin, and Paris.
posted by cleardawn at 6:37 PM on September 27, 2005


Somewhere in the Republican caucus room someone is seriously asking why prisoners with life sentences can't just be sold into slavery.
posted by clevershark at 6:45 PM on September 27, 2005


I guess we won't be having a new 'New Deal'.
posted by homunculus at 6:49 PM on September 27, 2005


Very nice work, insomnia_lj .

Are the Bushies hell-bent on destruction, or just on screwing us?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:07 PM on September 27, 2005


I just have no energy to be infuriated anymore. They have won.
posted by maxsparber at 7:14 PM on September 27, 2005


gesamtkunstwerk writes "Are the Bushies hell-bent on destruction, or just on screwing us?"

The idea behind corporate welfare is for politicans to fund the consulting contracts which *they* will be awarded when they retire, or are booted out of office. As the saying goes, "charity begins at home."
posted by clevershark at 7:17 PM on September 27, 2005


2005 is the final year of an eight-year subscription [to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development] and a sensible time to end our participation in propping up organizations with loans considered unwise by the private sector.

i'm young and really have no idea how the investment world works at all, but it seems odd that the government would look to the private sector for direction on this topic. i mean, not odd that this government would do such a thing, just government in general. isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
posted by carsonb at 7:23 PM on September 27, 2005


... then say that we can't really afford to rebuild New Orelans ...

Oh, no -- they'll rebuild New Orleans, all right. Just not with federal money.

Well, not directly. It will be "private" money, much of which will originate as grants and low-interest loans given out to Bushco cronies, and which will go to build a hellish parody of New Orleans that will make Disney look restrained and enlightened by comparison.* There will be more gambling, less sex (well, less lawful sex), more tourists, and while employment rates will be fantastic, most of the jobs will be "right to work get fired arbitrarily" jobs at low wages with poor to nonexistent health insurance coverage, from which you're liable to get shitcanned if you do something disloyal like, say, flee town in advance of a hurricane and get stuck too far away to report for work the next day.

--
* Hell, Disney are restrained and enlightened by comparison to the free-market Zealots. And I loathe Disney.

posted by lodurr at 7:36 PM on September 27, 2005


and the corruption deepens. we've lost a city, a surplus, and soon all we will have left are our bodies, and the memory of what it was to pursue justice, life, equity, liberty, happiness. May that memory become the dream of a new generation that will actually fight for it, life and limb.

Nader has a spiel about how all the same issues came before the 60's generation, but they thought it would be ok, they didn't have to defy the structures of corporate power, they could 'work within it to change it,' since they were educated, and would be 'professionals,' the boomers didn't need unions or any kind of class politics or solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized. Looks like my generation will not have the same luxury. The US has been able to tap labor and natural resources outside of the national borders for a time, but even those are coming up short.

For me, since my family lost so much in the flood caused by katrina, it's time to give up on dreams of pursuing higher education and really work, hands in sludge, on the social issues that allowed us to let ourselves die in such an undignified manner.

I had really hoped to get into a phD program before the city sank. I had hoped it wouldn't happen until i had some sort of job path. That all seems really foolish now.
posted by eustatic at 7:39 PM on September 27, 2005


**polishes rifle, counts bullets**

Is it time yet?
posted by Balisong at 7:52 PM on September 27, 2005


*starts to slowly bang her head against the wall*
posted by Soliloquy at 7:58 PM on September 27, 2005


I...

The plan was that I would go home, back to New Orleans. I would continue to teach music in the public system for a while as I worked on rebuilding the city, maybe moonlighting to make ends meet and to pay off my own debts from the storm. Then I would take out a few loans and go to grad school for speech therapy at the New Orleans Communication Disorder program of LSU. I would work in the city with the the speech disabled (typically the elderly and children).

God, I want to go home so badly. It's a good place to be a liberal gay musician, a good place to live, and a good place to reach out and try to make better. But I don't want my home to belong to this govenment.
posted by honeydew at 8:02 PM on September 27, 2005


Eustatic, meet me on Decatur St for some large drinks.
posted by honeydew at 8:03 PM on September 27, 2005


Looks like MoveOn.org has stepped into the fray with a petition against Operation Offset, and some pretty good info on the legislation too.

It's amusing to think of the number of registered Republicans out there who will be signing this petition once all the facts are out there. Expect the voters to evicerate those Republican leaders championing this legislation come Election Day.

"Senator DeWine wanted to shoot Big Bird... and disrepect our soldiers... and cut off healthcare for your grandma."
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2005


Where is the chorus of conservative mefites defending this proposal? You must be there, no? Lets see what you've got, because this one seems pretty f&*^%-ing cold blooded and indefensible - both in substance and in form.
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 8:20 PM on September 27, 2005


The federal government has extensive loan options for financing education. Students have likely had government help paying for college, if there was financial need. Graduate students make an informed decision to invest in their own futures and should bare the costs of schooling, especially since private interest rates are currently low. This reform would allow federal higher education funding to be focused on college students while still allowing graduate students to benefit from unsubsidized federal loans.

HOLY FUCK. First of all, nobody I know (and I'm a recent grad) was able to go to college without financial aid (granted, I don't know anybody who was independently wealthy), much less grad school. And a college degree in most fields, especially the sciences, is U-S-E-L-E-S-S.

The education system in this country is fucked up enough as it is. They want a bunch of ignorant heathens to rule over, I guess.
posted by somethingotherthan at 8:24 PM on September 27, 2005


prettyboyfloyd writes "Where is the chorus of conservative mefites defending this proposal?"

They probably pick their battles a little better than that. Later on I'm sure many of them will claim to have been against it all along -- in the same way most of them often claim to have never voted Republican.
posted by clevershark at 8:27 PM on September 27, 2005


Where is the chorus of conservative mefites defending this proposal?

Probably trying to get tickets to the money fair.
As fiscal hawks surrendered, would-be government contractors were meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building to figure out how to get a share of the money. A "Katrina Reconstruction Summit," hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and sponsored by Halliburton, among others, brought some 200 lobbyists, corporate representatives and government staffers to a room overlooking the Capitol for a five-hour conference that included time for a "networking break" and advice on "opportunities for private sector involvement."
posted by eriko at 8:32 PM on September 27, 2005


Where is the chorus of conservative mefites defending this proposal?

"How dare the RSC confirm to the base that there is a spending problem in Washington with Republicans in control!"
posted by jaronson at 8:39 PM on September 27, 2005


It's interesting that one of the first things people do in this thread is launch an attack at "the other side", as though they were the problem rather than the rat bastards in power.
Dualistic tribalism is killing your country. You people need to unite against your "leaders", because you have a hell of a lot more in common with each other regardless of your differences, than you do with those in power.
posted by nightchrome at 8:45 PM on September 27, 2005


nightchrome writes "It's interesting that one of the first things people do in this thread is launch an attack at 'the other side', as though they were the problem rather than the rat bastards in power."

Yes, if by "the first thing" you mean 70+ comments down the thread...
posted by clevershark at 8:57 PM on September 27, 2005


Actually, let me correct myself -- 60+ comments down the thread, not 70.
posted by clevershark at 8:58 PM on September 27, 2005


I said "one of the first things", not "the first thing".
If you're going to pick on a completely unimportant aspect of the comment, at least get it right.
posted by nightchrome at 9:00 PM on September 27, 2005


I'm ashamed to be an American.
posted by ed at 9:03 PM on September 27, 2005


nightchrome writes "If you're going to pick on a completely unimportant aspect of the comment, at least get it right."

As it were I'm using an old laptop which occasionally fails to register the letter 's' when I type too quickly. However my point (which evidently went right by you) is that if it took between 60 and 70 posts before someone mentions something, you're pretty thick if you consider that mention to be "one of the first things".
posted by clevershark at 9:08 PM on September 27, 2005


clevershark, you seem pretty intent on insulting me and I'm not entirely sure why that is. If it makes you happy though, by all means go ahead.
Threads such as this one often go into the hundreds of comments, so the 50 or 60 before mine are fairly early in the discussion in my opinion. If your opinion is different, that's cool. Kindly ignore the first few words of my comment. Do you have anything to add besides criticism of my ability to count?
posted by nightchrome at 9:12 PM on September 27, 2005


nightchrome: I think clevershark is just kind of proud that it took so many comments before things started turning divisive, and he's frustrated you didn't notice the relative unanimity on this topic (usually the divisiveness and petty personal bickering starts a lot sooner).
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 9:17 PM on September 27, 2005



posted by caddis at 9:18 PM on September 27, 2005


So do we really have to wait until the next election to throw these bums out? As tax-paying citizens, how do we reclaim our self-respect after being taken so completely for a ride?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 9:19 PM on September 27, 2005


Just to play devil's advocate... ignoring the programs specifically recommended to cut (which are the pet items-to-kill of a certain core of small-government, libertarian-esque Republicans) and answer me this: does anyone think that the government couldn't afford to cut say, a significant amount off the budget?

Does the federal government always need to grow?
posted by fet at 9:41 PM on September 27, 2005


wouldn't it be cheaper to just build a giant wood chipper and start feeding it the poor? make for some great TV as well.
posted by saketini99 at 9:51 PM on September 27, 2005


Graduate students make an informed decision to invest in their own futures and should bare the costs of schooling...

Ah, so they want grad students to strip for tuition, got it!
posted by greatgefilte at 9:58 PM on September 27, 2005


Like I said before, I am for a lot of these ideas IN PRINCIPLE, but I can't trust the current lot of lying, corrupt, slimeballs to do it correctly.

So I'm against it.

It's basicly the same downfall that Kerry had. He was a human without a plan, this is a plan without any humanity.
posted by Balisong at 9:59 PM on September 27, 2005


Check out the link that eriko posted, to a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank. It details how Mike Pence, chair of the Republican Study Committee that came up with "Operation Offset", caved to pressure from Hastert and DeLay. (Milbank describes the RSC as fiscal conservatives.)

So it looks like Operation Offset isn't going anywhere. I guess that's good news.

Pence's speech was billed by the conservative Young America's Foundation (YAF) as a discussion of "why the conservative leadership in Congress has abandoned its allegiance to the principles of smaller government" and gone on "massive spending splurges." But instead, a chastened congressman delivered unstinting praise for his superiors.
posted by russilwvong at 10:01 PM on September 27, 2005


and answer me this: does anyone think that the government couldn't afford to cut say, a significant amount off the budget?

fet:

No, the government does not need a significant amount of the budget cuts. Indeed, you could eliminate EVERYTHING from the federal government except: medicare/medicaid, military, social security, and interest payments. Guess what? We'd still be running a deficit each year.

We can not fix our budget problem, AS IS, by budget cuts. So we sure as hell can't do it when we are fighting a costly war and rebuilding a destroyed Gulf Coast. What pork there is should be killed: it is entirely insignificant. Most Americans would say that the majority of the programs on the auction block are useful.

That's what's a joke about this. There is no rational side for Republicans and their supporters to be on. You tell me which of the big four I mentioned is going to go, or you admit we need tax increases. There are no two ways about it.

One of the greatest Republican coups of the last 30 years has been in convincing people there is this giant, spendthrift federal government just pissing away money, and that we can maintain, or increase, all current projects and STILL give away trillions in tax cuts. That always has been a complete fantasy meant to dupe idiots into supporting tax cuts for the super rich. Sadly, it worked.
posted by teece at 10:01 PM on September 27, 2005


somethingotherthan: "They want a bunch of ignorant heathens to rule over, I guess."

Not quite; they want a bunch of ignorant churchgoing Christians who can be enslaved without their knowing it, and everyone else to be either so cowed or resigned that they cease to resist. They seem to be doing quite well with that plan.

This "Operation" - interesting how it's sort of "military" in spirit, eh? - is a complete offense against everyone in this nation. Except some 50% have been successfully blinded, and most of the other 50% either don't want to believe it can happen here, or have given up on hope that something can be done, or are too busy dealing with immediate problems to appreciate the scope of the perfidy.

This is really bad.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:16 PM on September 27, 2005


Where is the chorus of conservative mefites defending this proposal?

Well, I'm not a conservative, and I don't support this proposal. That said, let me try to defend the plan a little bit.

The stuff outlined above, the stuff thats going to be cut, those are things that the government spends its money on. Any cuts to government spending are going to involve those things to some degree.

That said, I think increasing taxes would really be the best alternative.
posted by delmoi at 10:24 PM on September 27, 2005


Does the federal government always need to grow?

IMV, some kind of governmental growth will probably always be necessary, yes, as long as population growth (and change in general) continues and new problems that can't be solved for a profit crop up. What's important is effectively and judiciously managing the way gov't grows. For example: devoting fewer governmental resources to privacy infringement, the promotion of unpopular policies, and corporate bailouts, and devoting more to public education, energy independence, and other programs that at best can only make life better for all Americans, and at worst, might be a waste of time and money (hey, isn't it better to waste a little time and money on the possibility of discovering the next Van Gogh or curing cancer than on funding programs that threaten to put security cameras in your bedroom, or force your children to learn Charles Manson's theories about the origins of man in science class?). But the key is to have good metrics for success, to measure them consistently, and above all else, to give long-term programs a reasonable chance to work. I can remember back when I was in elementary school, it seemed as if the structure of the local school system (not to mention the overall educational philosophy) changed every couple of weeks. As a result, a lot of time and money were wasted on constant reorganization, and all the kids ended up kind of confused. Constant reorganization is one of the biggest problems in the public sector, I believe, and it's a result of fickle, incompetent, and fundamentally unprincipled leadership at almost all levels of government, not from any intrinsic flaw of government in the abstract. We need stable cultural and political institutions in this country--not an endless series of poorly-conceived and politically motivated policy initiatives that barely last as long as the buzz around the latest poll results. Are we likely to ever get there? Maybe, but not for free and not anytime soon.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 10:31 PM on September 27, 2005


Maybe if I hit my head against my laptop keyboard enough I'll pass out and wake up in a country where this sort of thing doesn't happen...
posted by kosher_jenny at 10:51 PM on September 27, 2005


Anyone remember the SNL skit that aired about three days before the 2000 election? It was supposed to show us what the country would look like after six months (or was it a year?) of having Dubya as president. [It was paired with a similar sketch about Gore].

He was giving a televised address from the Oval Office. His visual aid was a US map. It showed the section of Texas that Mexico had taken back, a wild fire that was raging out of control in the midwest, and so forth. Basically, the joke was that he'd done such an awful job of running the country that everything was falling apart around him. Big audience laugh.

I think about that sketch more and more these days.
posted by Clay201 at 11:27 PM on September 27, 2005



Oooh, now I'm mad. I see that they want to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation. That's Legal Aid-- the place (often the only place) where poor people can go to get help with crooked landlords. restraining orders, denials of benefits, and the like. The drafters of Operation Offset accuse the LSC of fraud, and mention that it has been known to, gasp, sue the federal government.

Talk about a systematic disenfranchisement of the poor. God. So many parts of this bill make me me mad-- the student loans, the NEH, the NEA, the environmental stuff, the healthcare, etc-- but the bit about destroying the LSC makes me want to bite right through my keyboard.

(Full disclosure-- I used to work at a Legal Aid office as an AmeriCorps volunteer.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:45 PM on September 27, 2005


This whole thing reeks. Very few items I agree with, and mostly it's just mean-spirited and out of touch. Unbelievable that they thought they could submit that with a straight face.

This caught my eye too (see http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/44995):

Raise the Threshold for Davis-Bacon Coverage

Since 1935, the Davis-Bacon Act has required that no less than “prevailing wages” be paid for all federally funded or federally assisted construction projects with contracts that total $2,000 or more. This option would increase the threshold from $2,000 to $1 million. The threshold has remained the same for seven decades and raising it would allow the federal government to spend less on construction. This would also increase the opportunities for employment that federal projects might offer less-skilled workers. Savings: $2.1 billion over ten years ($1 billion over five years)

posted by NorthernSky at 11:59 PM on September 27, 2005


Well, there goes my job and just about any chance at having any jpb I'd like to do. I'm a paid volunteer in one of these programs and next year I am aspiring to go to grad school. Raise your hand if your career is screwed too [directly or indirectly].

Goes without saying that so much of this violates previous promises. For instance, remember when Bush vowed to double Americorps funding after 9-11, then he tried to cut it the next year? Shit, so many people in Americorps are helping out with Katrina and want to go to NOLA to help.

They had this bill all ready to go, ya know, before anything happened. Even if it sinks, always remember: this is their ultimate wish. If they can't get it in one swipe, they'll just chip away always, always, always.
posted by Skwirl at 1:48 AM on September 28, 2005


does it ever get better? is any admission of failure really worse than the continuation of current policy? i mean, wtf?

every piece of such news makes me feel more empty.
posted by JohannStrauss at 1:57 AM on September 28, 2005


and new problems that can't be solved for a profit crop up.

Isn't that why we have non-profit organizations?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:45 AM on September 28, 2005


You people are idiots. Until you start buying weapons and attacking the minor Yale-y grunts who craft this stuff as the willing lapdogs of the rich and amoral, you will never affect change. Start taking out the low-level staffers and the back room people, and suddenly money-grabbing sociopathic vermin becomes a less attractive career opportunity. For example, the Enrons of the world are a lot less likely to rip off California's taxpayers to the tune of billions if the losing side of that little risk and gamble isn't 3 hots and a cot at a minimum security prison and a massive fortune awaiting you in a couple of years when you get out... it's watching your family get brutally killed in front of you before they take your own life. THAT inspires some respect for the commonwealth and the bonds of community and nation.

You will continue to be bled dry until the whole of this country is decimated beyond recognition. Believing that "trusting the system" to fix things is positively childish and stupid. They own the system- there will be no law and order. Every scoundrel you read about will live to a ripe old age, playing at the finest golf courses with other monsters of our times. And you'll happily serve them their wine with a big shit-eating grin on your face, you mongrels.

When your gut response to my statements are "how rude! Violence never solved anything", you really only prove the point I'm making. Being a fucking pansy in the face of unrepentent, unmitigated evil... just how long must you get kicked in the teeth before you realize you can't befriend these people? You can't "reason" with them. You can hold protests until your blue in the face and they won't give a shit. Why should they? Throw your protest, write angry letters, won't do a goddamn thing. You can't even vote them out, they own that too. You can't scare them with tired and weak protests, with street puppetry and hand-written letters that will get tossed in the trash, unopened. You can scare them when you make it personal, though. When they look out from their office and see not citizens easily controlled but instead 300 million vigilantes- you would not BELIEVE the customer service citizens would start getting at that point.

They are flat out determined to destroy this country, and its government, because that's what they believe in. Bush and his administration is the fruition of decades of work by sociopathic fucks who are singularly determined to destroy government and our country simply to prove their Randian fantasy ideologies.

If you aren't willing to fight, to die- and if necessary, kill- to save your country, you deserve what you get.
posted by hincandenza at 5:02 AM on September 28, 2005


You make me afraid for America's future.
posted by Catfry at 5:21 AM on September 28, 2005


to prove their Randian fantasy ideologies.

I think Ayn Rand's views were pretty clear on oppressive, plundering, religionist regimes, and she certainly would NOT have supported this one.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:58 AM on September 28, 2005


nightchrome writes "Do you have anything to add besides criticism of my ability to count?"

OK, you're just being a prick now. The fact is that if you could even be bothered to read this thread in its entirety you would have noticed that those commenting, up until prettyboyfloyd's comment at 11:20pm (ET), were highly critical of the politicians involved, yet you chose to ignore that vast, vast majority of comment and whine that "one of the first things" that was done here was to somehow assail the usual right-wing voices that failed to show up.

There's just a disconnect between you and the reality of this discussion which exists for reasons I cannot fathom.
posted by clevershark at 6:41 AM on September 28, 2005


jefbla writes "I assume that useless bridge to nowhere in Alaska won't get cut."

If the bridge to nowhere gets cut, that would send the wrong message and mean that the terrorists have already won!


If we don't keep the bridge to nowhere, how are we going to get where we're going?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 6:43 AM on September 28, 2005


A sufficiently paranoid person might think that perhaps Katrina worked out to be a convenient excuse upon which to base these sweeping changes.

Paranoid? Even the casual observer can see that this administration thrives on opportunistic moments like Katrina and 9/11 to forward their agenda.

Like it or not, hincandenza's right. It would be nice to avoid a violent overthrow, but more and more it's looking like the only way things will change in favor of the common man.

As Americans, it is our right, nay, our DUTY to replace our government if we feel it isn't representative of its people. The more outraged we get as time goes on, the higher the probability that this action will be violent.
posted by davelog at 6:46 AM on September 28, 2005


delmoi writes "That said, I think increasing taxes would really be the best alternative."

Even easier is to *not* make the ruinous early-term tax cuts permanent...
posted by clevershark at 6:49 AM on September 28, 2005


I think Ayn Rand's views were pretty clear on oppressive, plundering, religionist regimes, and she certainly would NOT have supported this one.

Depends. Rand had an amazing capacity for self-deception and willful short-sightedness. For example, she espoused an ideology that anyone who pays any attention to human nature would know can't possibly work.
posted by lodurr at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2005


As opposed to something eminently workable like, say, Socialism?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:18 AM on September 28, 2005


As opposed to something eminently workable like, say, Socialism?

I can't tell if you're being ironic or not here zenmasterthis, but you know, socialism has worked out fairly well in Canada, Norway, Britain, and pretty much throughout Europe. Maybe it hasn't worked perfectly, but then, nobody claims fundamentalist-style free market based systems work perfectly either. Plenty of countries in the world (including America up until recently, arguably) have shown that Socialism is eminently workable. So I'm not sure what your point is.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 8:24 AM on September 28, 2005


As opposed to something eminently workable like, say, Socialism?

[shrug /] Whatever. I just know that whenever I've seen anyone trying to implement a pure meritocracy, the bullshit artists usually end up sitting pretty.

It also seems pretty clear to me that you have to elaborate an awful lot before you can rationalize human behavior down to enlightened self interest. And after all, the "enlightenment" tends to get helped along by bullshit artists.

And after all, the folks the best bullshit artists are usually best at bullshitting are themselves...
posted by lodurr at 8:51 AM on September 28, 2005


It goes beyond being angry at the Republicans -- I recognize now that they are actually insane. The GOP are off their meds. The Republicans are the inmates running the asylum.

Now we have to stop them and lock them up for everyone's good. However, they are insane and therefore extremely dangerous and unpredictable. Proceed with caution.

Bring plenty of straightjackets.
posted by mooncrow at 8:59 AM on September 28, 2005


...security/anti-drug funding for innercity schools...

Does this mean I can just say 'yes' now?
posted by NationalKato at 9:44 AM on September 28, 2005


Goddam, this is lunacy. I keep thinking, surely they can't pull this off? And then they do.

/flustered
posted by undule at 10:14 AM on September 28, 2005


...security/anti-drug funding for innercity schools...
Does this mean I can just say 'yes' now?
posted by NationalKato at 12:44 PM EST on September 28
only if you are attending an inner-city school. anti-drug messages don't work on those heathens. whereas our innocent, unspoilt suburban kids could still benefit from the additional spending . . . or at least their districts could.
posted by Suck Poppet at 10:56 AM on September 28, 2005


If someone credible set up a corporation to build that high-speed rail between LA and SF, I'd happily send a $300 check. Do you suppose that's more or less than the amount of my taxes that would have gone to it had the government funded it?

Heck, build the rail between LA and Chicago, and I'll write a check for $1500 (provided the trip will take less than 48 hours).
posted by davejay at 11:15 AM on September 28, 2005


If someone credible set up a corporation to build that high-speed rail

Please davejay, explain to me why a properly organized government (which is, after all, just a collection of people working together) shouldn't be capable of operating just as efficiently as a corporation (which is also just a collection of people working together)? I mean, would you trust Enron or Parmalat to do the job? Seriously--I'm not taking a side here. I just want to know what other than the brand associations people have with public vs. private sector enterprises makes the two forms of organizational structure so fundamentally different in kind that one form is inherently better equipped to operate efficiently than the other? Don't say its profit motive, because (as Enron and many, many others have demonstrated time and time again) all that being organized around profit motive guarantees is success in hording profits. And some essential needs (like large-scale infrastructure development) simply can't be met profitably. So what is it, in your view, that makes governmental organizations inherently imperfectable, and corporate organizations almost god-like right from the get go? Please explain the difference to me in concrete terms (meaning, no vague generalizations about how lazy gov't workers are, or how insidious bureacracy is).
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 11:45 AM on September 28, 2005


To the folks talking revolution here - with whom I don't necessarily disagree - remember that no such action will succeed in this case without a substantial portion of the military joining in, to take that weapon out of the hands of the government.

Who's got friends in the officer corps?
posted by zoogleplex at 12:07 PM on September 28, 2005


I bet that Karl Rove was out for a walk and saw a smiling healthy child in a low-income neighbourhood. Repulsed and horrified, he went home immediately and got Cheney and Bush on the horn:

Karl Rove: Guys, I saw a smiling child outside of a gated suburb?

Bush: Didja shoot it on sight, Turd Blossom?

Cheney: Was it an escapee from Kennebunkport?

Rove: No, it definitely came from an inner-city neighbourhood.

Bush: Was it a minority kid?

Rove: I was too scared to get a really close look. I just remember that horrible look of contentment on its face. And its straight limbs and spine!

Bush: I'm gonna hork up a pretzel here!

Cheney: Turd B - Karl, I thought that we'd eliminated all happiness and hope of a future in our nation's underclass. Just the fact that you were able to identify the blasted wasteland you were walking through as a neighbourhood is a sign that we have much work left to do.

Bush: I THINK I MAY NEED A BATHroom break first?

Cheney: The time has come, gentlemen. Initiate "Operation Offset".

Bush: Shucks, too late for that bathroom now.
posted by palinode at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2005


During all the prognosticating about how Katrina was hurting the pugs, I kept thinking "they are going to use this to their advantage somehow."
posted by telstar at 1:38 PM on September 29, 2005


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