Fiscal Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson Calls America "Stupid"
March 7, 2011 - 5:35pm ET
"You've got a country that is stupid, a government that is stupid," Fiscal Commission Co-Chair and Fmr. GOP Senator Alan Simpson said in an interview on CNN this past Monday morning. His words sum up the feelings of a band of elitist budget hawks, who blame ordinary Americans for our current economic and budgetary problems.
Remember how conservatives always call liberals the Blame America First crowd for suggesting a connection between American interventionism and anti-American sentiment? Well, now they're blaming America first, only rather than critiquing our governing elites, they are blaming working America for problems they had nothing to do with. Call it the real Blame America First crowd.
Now, to be fair, here is the full quote from Simpson:
But the real one is, everybody at their kitchen table--we're always talking about the couple at the kitchen table--well, here it is: For every buck we spend, we borrow forty cents. If that isn't stupid--we've got a country that is stupid, a government that is stupid, to borrow forty cents, not from your good old uncle Henry, but from the world.
Okay, he may be right that, in a vacuum, borrowing that much money is "stupid." It's just what he and every other Washington budget hawk doesn't say that makes those words so ignorant and hurtful. The bulk of our short-term deficit is the result of, in this order, the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars, the revenue lost as a result of the recession, and other emergency spending the government had to take on to stave off a worse crisis. That is not the fault of ordinary Americans sitting at their kitchen tables. It is the fault of greedy Wall St. banks that got rich off of crashing the economy, and the government officials who enabled them.
But while middle class Americans did not cause the crisis, they are now paying for it, and then some. We are currently experiencing a depression-level employment crisis. 13 million Americans are out of work and countless more have settled for part-time work, but need full-time work to make ends meet. Millions have lost their homes and their savings.
Washington has only done the bare minimum to create jobs and help those who have been hurt most by the economic downturn. The long-term unemployed are constantly on the verge of being cut off from unemployment insurance and left to a life of destitution. Bailed out banks are still foreclosing on homeowners who they can afford to re-finance. Worse still, they often do so on false premises, using fraudulent paperwork.
And now DC elites like Alan Simpson, have the nerve to bully those same Americans into swallowing deficit reduction measures that would cut what small benefits they have left? Because it is the "top national priority"?! It amounts to punishing Americans twice for a crime they did not commit.
If the Alan Simpsons of the world cared half as much about the future of America as they claim, then they would be proposing deficit solutions that get at the deficit's root causes, rather than scapegoating the American people. They would be the leading advocates of defense cuts, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, and reforming the underlying costs of our health care system. They might even recommend that we adopt a 0.5% financial speculation tax on the banks who caused the crisis, which conservative estimates show would raise $100 billion in revenue annually.
But Alan Simpson has no interest in making decisions that are actually "hard." Maybe it's because, as the rich, privileged son of a governor, he doesn't want to betray his own economic self-interest and class.
Either way, he and the other Washington budget hawks should stop blaming America first. America isn't stupid. They are.
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