Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

What this country needs is a better class of plutocrat

I guess I'm confused or naive or something, but I'm having a very hard time figuring out who the constituency is for the lunatic party that currently controls the U.S. House of Representatives. It's obviously an oversimplification to say that it's billionaires.

Think about it. Failure to raise the debt limit will be a catastrophe for Wall Street. Slashing Medicare and Medicaid benefits will hurt old and sick people, sure, but also drug companies and the very wealthy and powerful for-profit hospital and nursing home chains, not to mention physicians who as a class are quite affluent and some of whom are very wealthy. Transportation infrastructure -- highways, bridges, airports -- is essential to all sorts of businesses, including the auto industry, as well as directly paying construction companies, and manufacturers of heavy equipment. (Yes, that industry is one where the U.S. still dominates -- Caterpillar and John Deere make the really big stuff in the U.S.A.) Atrios "can even remember when the highway lobby had clout."

Large reductions in federal spending, on the scale they are now talking about, aren't going to come out of food stamps (for which the real constituency is the Republican friendly farm lobby, not poor people, anyway); or the budgets of regulatory agencies. As David Leonhardt points out, the business lobbies don't actually want the federal government to cut spending. Yes, they don't want to pay taxes either, which means they actually want the deficit to increase, but the Republicans aren't just leaving it at that, they are insisting on massive spending cuts. On whose behalf are they acting? I'm not getting it.


kathy a. said...

great post.

robin andrea said...

I don't understand it either. It does not make any sense.