Friday, December 18, 2015

This Surreal World

Congress will vote on a budget today that comes in at 2009 pages, spends 1.8 trillion dollars, and adds to both the yearly accounts deficit and the national debt. It also has the advantage of not having been read by anyone voting for or against it. This will come in handy later since our congress-persons can claim to have been hood-winked when it is discovered that money is being spent to study the mating habits of feral cats. 

No matter what your political beliefs, no thinking person can possibly be in favor of this process. How can anyone make an intelligent vote for something that A. They had no part in writing, B. They haven't read? Make no mistake...this budget was written by lobbyists which explains many of the arcane, stealthy tax breaks for everything from racehorse owners to NASCAR bigwigs. In other words, shameless giveaways that no sane person would publically support get rammed through at the eleventh hour, buried somewhere on page 1267, paragraph C. 

If you are one of the millions of Americans who are still baffled as to why 35% of primary voters support Donald Trump, you need look no further than yesterday's joint press conference featuring Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan, each positively radiant in a sea of self-congratulatory claptrap about bipartisanship. If by bipartisanship they mean, "self dealing orgy of fiscal malfeasance that makes a mockery of the democratic process," then this country can't afford much more bipartisanship. Into this cauldron of dysfunction comes an egomaniacal billionaire with zero political experience promising to "Make America Great Again," and a large number of Americans are willing to overlook his blowhard tomfoolery and that hair, in exchange for someone who has actually been successful at something and can't be bought. These people know one thing...America, as currently configured, is most definitely not great, and expecting anyone who is currently a member of the governing class to fix it would be like throwing the car keys to your brand new Mercedes along with a six-pack to your teenaged son and saying, "have some fun, kid!"

My personal favorite provision of this budget monstrosity is the one that triples the issuing of H-2B work visas. This will allow for the importation of foreign workers to do non-agricultural, seasonal work at ski-resorts, hotels, landscaping companies etc. This particular outrage has a Republican Party pedigree and is desperately needed because of an alleged "worker shortage." This, despite the 94 million Americans who are no longer in the work force. This despite the fact that as recently as the second quarter of this year nearly 7 million Americans were working part time and stated that they would be willing to take second jobs, if they could find one. When I hear things like this I ask myself, what possible purpose does the Republican Party serve, if not to root out this sort of insanity? Then to discover that it was inserted BY REPUBLICANS??? 

Add to this budget fiasco the news that Vladimir Putin really admires Donald Trump. I now live in a world where the autocratic leader of the old Soviet Union has a man-crush on the leading Republican candidate for the American Presidency. This is not the world in which I grew up.