Why yes, I can be a cold-hearted SOB

In a follow-up to a previous post, about “unnecessary” government workers and services, one of the points I made in the comments was how much of the perception about the services provided depends on whether or not you’re impacted by them – or their absence.  Most conservatives – whether it’s a conservative state or just individuals – don’t think in terms of government cutbacks as affecting them, it’s always affecting someone else.  So I thought I’d channel my inner SOB and write some Republican letters for the future.

Dear (fill in hurricane-prone state):  We’re sorry to hear that the latest hurricane caused so much destruction.   The news coverage of the storm’s devastation was astonishing.  We regret to inform you that there will be no federal aid, since in our efforts to balance the budget and reduce the deficit, these unnecessary programs were done away with .   You get these storms every few years, so you should have learned to deal with them by now and not keep coming back to the taxpayers of this country for a bailout.  I’m sorry to hear that no insurance company has covered any of your homeowners, but that is the insurance company’s decision.  You very clearly stated by electing us that you didn’t want government interference in private business, and we took you at your word.  We look forward to further coverage of your citizens’ rebuilding efforts.

Dear constituent:  I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your family due to food poisoning.  No, it is not the government’s job to inspect the food processors to insure that it’s safe.  We had to make decisions on cutting the deficit, and this was an obvious choice.  It is your personal responsibility, not the government’s, to make sure your food is safe to eat.   Maybe next time, you’ll learn the value of proper food preparation and storage.

Dear Midwestern State:  Yes, we know you’re having massive spring floods.   We saw it on the news.  Why are you bothering us about it?  You people get floods every other year, because you insist on living in a flood-prone area.  Stop asking the taxpayers of this nation to help you out, and for crying out loud, will you tell your farmers to stop bugging us about their crop losses?   You people have been talking about being self-sufficient and not wanting government, so we’re giving it to you.

Dear Gulf Coast:   There’s another oil spill?  So?  We have an obligation to produce more oil for this country’s use,  government regulations were getting in the way, so we removed them.  You’re getting the economic boost of jobs from the industry, so stop complaining about a few beaches and not being able to fish anymore.  Besides, we don’t have the money or obligation to clean it up, and we’re not going to ask the oil company to do it.

Dear State:  We made it very clear when we did away with education funding that education was a local resp0nsibility.  In fact, you yourself made that very point to us.  Just because you don’t want close schools and colleges is no reason for the federal government to help fund them.

Dear Senior Citizen:  Yes, we know that your healthcare benefits aren’t what they used to be, and your Social Security has been cut.  We did that because we needed to balance the budget and reduce the deficit.   Your assumption that you were owed that is just another example of the entitlement mentality that we’ve been trying so hard to overcome.   May we suggest that you get a job and stop sponging off the taxpayers?

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “Why yes, I can be a cold-hearted SOB

  1. I hate to break it to you, but plenty of us, myself included, would be OK with each and every one of those actions.

    • Oh, I’m quite sure. I’m even more sure that I might be OK with a good many of them, since I don’t live in a hurricane-prone state, in the mid-west, on the Gulf Coast, am not a senior citizen, or in school. Doesn’t hurt me at all if a bunch of towns in South Dakota or Iowa get drowned, and so on.

      The reason I wrote them that way is that these areas and groups are also the ones who voted for the very Republicans who want to do all these things, and yes, they’ll scream their heads off when the reality strikes. As I said, it’s “other people’s” entitlements they don’t like, as I’m sure you don’t. Your entitlements will do just fine. Until they disappear.

      • Some will scream, some – likely many – won’t. You make the mistake of assuming that selfishness is the primary agent at play and discount ideology completely.

        • I think selfishness is much more likely than ideology. Most of the “ideologists” have blatantly demonstrated that their selfish motives override the ideology, and that they’re not willing to accept the actual consequences of their ideology. All I have to do is look at the reaction all along the Gulf Coast to the BP oil spill to see it.

        • Nathan Katungi

          jonolan,
          O.K. how about calling it the ideology of selfishness?

        • A point you’re missing is that in order to accept the consequences, you first have to acknowledge that there are consequences and that they will directly impact you. There’s a lot of the so-called idealists – as I point out in my next post and here – don’t really accept that. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It’s almost always “someone else” who is going to be cut, not them. So no, they’re not willing to accept the consequences because they don’t believe that there are any for them.

          I’d also point out the very real cases in recent times where many of these so-called “idealist anti-big government” people were the first to scream for the government to “Do something!” when a disaster or major problem hit them.

  2. Understandable letters. Shame none like it will ever likely be sent, isn’t it?.

    And if that makes me a cold-hearted sob – ok.

    • Maybe. Personally, I think the federal funding for all those water compacts and water allocations out west should be cut. After all, I live in an area with plenty of water. ;)

      • We can can those if they want. I have plenty of water too. :)

        It would make for interesting “water wars” huh?

        The truth though should be somewhere in the middle. Unrestrained spending will not solve the problems. Taxes are tied into that issue and the idea of unlimited taxation will also not solve the issue. It’s well known that “if you make more you just spend more.”

        Finding the reasonable mix of the two philosophies seems to be an impossible goal among our political elite in this nation. Sad, isn’t it?

        • Probably quite literally water wars. :roll: I don’t think that anyone has suggested unlimited spending or unlimited taxation. What I see is a rather inane idea that taxes aren’t necessary, and that tax cuts will solve the economic problems. One of the major assumptions with trickle-down and the “if you make more you just spend more” is that because the wealthy had “more money” they’d invest it and spend it, creating more jobs. Instead, what they’ve done has been to take the money and run. Lots of investment and movement out of the country. There was an “implied bargain” in those cuts, and it turns out that the people who benefited from it didn’t keep up their end. It turns out that the if you make more you spend more only really applies to the lower and middle class. :D

          My point here being, that most people – in particular the conservative areas – don’t really pause to consider what they themselves get in return for their tax dollars. They don’t think that their federally provided flood insurance is a “government entitlement.” They don’t think FEMA response to a disaster is “unnecessary.” They regard weather reporting as a “given.” It’s not until the oil well blows, a coal ash lagoon breaks that they suddenly want the government to step in, and complain about the lack of regulation and enforcement. Oh, and have the government make sure it’s all cleaned up.

          • As our system stands now in the nation I would agree that less spending and raising taxes for reasonable spending go hand in hand.

            However, I do not agree with government continually expanding itself into areas the national government doesn’t belong in (and we could argue to the end of time which areas those might be, or not be).

            Truthfully I don’t believe Democrats or Republicans care one whit about reducing the size, structure and spending of the federal government. All either side wants to do is move the money (as much as they can get their hands on) into the areas of government they believe it should be spent on (Republicans LOVE DoD spending for instance). Any “cuts” either side proposes only “takes” from the ares they want it taken from and moved into areas they support.

            It’s all a game at the expense of the taxpayers. Just my opinion obviously.

  3. Speaking of “government subsidies” – here’s one Free Oil!

  4. However, I do not agree with government continually expanding itself into areas the national government doesn’t belong in (and we could argue to the end of time which areas those might be, or not be).

    True, but I’d also point out that there was a very workable rule put in place back in the ’90’s which stated that any new spending had to be paid for by either a corresponding cut elsewhere or a tax. The Republicans threw that out a while ago, and made it official recently. At the same time, they’re aiming at programs that have already been well-established as a national government responsibility, and in a wonderfully dumb manner, actually hurting not only the people who voted for them, but many of the industries who funded their campaigns. For example, one of the key provisions in the new Korean trade agreement was for agricultural products, with the Koreans agreeing to accept out government certification (pending some additional regulations) for import. Which, of course the Republicans want to take an axe to, so the Koreans would be more than justified to not bother purchasing, since our products don’t meet the agreed-upon standards. That’s just one of several areas.

    • Yes, I understand that and – as you know – I have a lot of disagreements with the right as I do the left.

      You know what really gets me? “We the People” spend most of our time saying things like “well look at what the Republicans did?” or “It’s the Democrats fault for _____” – stirred up by the politicians. We spend so much time arguing over who did what that we stay, as the pols of both sides like – divided and unwilling to find workable solutions that we force the politicians to enact. lol…I’m just as guilty of it as well I suppose.

      We’ll never have coherent government because for the past 50 plus years we’ve become to accustomed to fighting. How sad for us.

      • I’d say it’s more that the politicians want us to stay divided. The “hard line” aspects have really been more in play over the past decade, and it’s one of the things that I think a lot of the new House members really seriously misread from the public. What most of the polls showed was that the people were wanting more action from the government, and the Republicans/Democrats to cooperate. The new members took it as a mandate :roll: to enact a set of actions which wasn’t what was wanted.

        • I would agree, the new members have misread what the people were saying. Neither side has really highlighted that aspect that seems so clear to anyone with a bit of realistic thinking.

          I don’t want the gridlock anymore, lets get some cooperation going. How to get that message to EVERY member of the House and Senate and get them to listen to it is the problem.

          • From what I’ve seen, there’s willingness to cooperate on the part of the administration, but what I see – particularly in the House – is that the Republicans are demanding it only their way. :roll: If there’s one thing I’ve been seeing, it’s that what used to be “conservative” is now considered anathema to them, they’ve been pulled so far to the extreme that it’s ridiculous. I just saw in the news that Senator Lugar is getting a primary challenger, since he’s apparently “not conservative enough.” Which, interestingly enough, several months ago another conservative commentator had said would be an indicator that the party was “beyond redemption.”

      • I’d say it’s more that the politicians want us to stay divided. The “hard line” aspects have really been more in play over the past decade, and it’s one of the things that I think a lot of the new House members really seriously misread from the public. What most of the polls showed was that the people were wanting more action from the government, and the Republicans/Democrats to cooperate. The new members took it as a mandate :roll: to enact a set of actions which wasn’t what was wanted.

  5. And people wonder why I refuse to be aligned with any party! It’s the same old crap – extremist minorities railroad a party as far out to the end of their political spectrum as they can.

    I don’t look forward to the political life in the country in the coming 6 to 8 years (or longer). It’s just going to be a flaming mess unless extremists are all told to sit down and shut up so cooler thinking can prevail.

    • It took about 35 years for the extremists to railroad the Republican Party. In terms of the Democratic Party, they haven’t really succeeded, since much to the extremists dismay, the majority of the party structure turns out to have a strong pragmatic streak. That, and the liberal extremists tend to be a pretty inept lot when it comes to actual politics. That’s why we call them the frustrati – they don’t get their way, can’t do the work, but they make a lot of noise and irritate people.

    • I should also point out two other things: When looked at as a percentage of the GNP, federal taxes are at historic lows; and the states considered to be the most “conservative” are the most often the ones who receive more federal money than they pay in federal taxes.

      I find myself in the position of trying to tell someone that it’s not a good idea to cut their throat, while at the same time being curious to see their reaction when they realize what they’ve done.