The idiom, “at all costs” means that no matter what expense, dangers, or damage is involved, a task or goal will be accomplished regardless of the price. For the second time within a year, in order to keep the government running for a little over nine months, Congress is forcing the American people to pay a heavy price because like Republicans, about 50 Democrats, are doing the bidding of special interests to satisfy the greed of a band of oligarchs. It is really unclear if it is more important for many Democrats, including the President, to say they reached a compromise to show Washington is not completely dysfunctional, or to keep the government funded by giving the Koch brothers and Wall Street the means to satiate their greed and take complete control of the government. Whatever the reason, the so-called compromise appropriations bill is an affront to the American people, and revealed that many Democrats are what Howard Dean labeled “Republican-lite.”
The budget itself may indeed be a compromise in that the Affordable Care Act is funded for another year, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security still exists, and food stamps were not abolished, but that is about the only good news in a horrible budget. A budget that saw well over half the $1.1 trillion going to the military, including extra money for “overseas operations” to enrich foreign economies with American military bases in peace-time. There are also ‘additional’ billions to re-fight George W. Bush’s progeny ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It is a sad state of affairs when this country’s infrastructure lags the rest of the developed world, and many developing nations, and a quarter of the nation’s children live in poverty, and yet over half-a-trillion dollars is available to enrich the military industrial complex and the oil industry under the guise of “national security.”
Within the so-called compromise, Republicans and about 50 Democrats slashed the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget to neuter its ability to enforce clean air and water regulations, but apparently the ability to breathe and have safe drinking water is just the price Americans have to pay so politicians can say they compromised. Also in the compromise, the Internal Revenue Service budget was slashed in a counterintuitive attempt to prevent the agency from collecting revenue to keep the government running. To add insult to injury, Republicans inserted a “rider” that has nothing to do with funding that prohibited the IRS from investigating or regulating lobbyists and political campaign organizations posing as 501(c) social welfare charities as a gift to Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, Wall Street, and special interest groups.
What makes this “appropriations bill” an affront and insult to the American people, and an abomination of epic proportions, are the riders that have nothing whatsoever to do with keeping the government running. That many Democrats voted for it is telling about their willingness to just say they compromised; including President Obama. To his credit, and it is tepid credit at best, he did say, “There are a bunch of provisions in this bill that I really do not like. Had I been able to draft my own legislation and get it passed without any Republican votes I suspect it would be slightly different. That is not the circumstance we find ourselves in. And I think what the American people very much are looking for is some practical governance and the willingness to compromise, and that’s what this really reflects. So I’m glad it passed the House and am hopeful that it will pass the Senate.” However, part of the reason it passed the House, and will pass the Senate, is the President and Wall Street’s lobbying effort.
For example, what in dog’s name is a provision gutting the financial reform law’s (Dodd-Frank) restriction on derivative trading doing in a government funding bill? Did any of the 50-plus House Democrats not remember it was Wall Street’s derivative scheme that caused the financial meltdown the entire world suffered? The bill passed in the House by one vote, and if even a tenth of those 50-plus Republican-lite Democrats had a memory they would have forced Republicans to either shutdown the government or remove that Wall Street license to rape and pillage the economy.
That rider, like giving Wall Street authority to cut Americans’ retirement benefits at their pleasure, will not reduce the debt and deficit, increase revenue, create one stinking job, or repair the decrepit infrastructure any more than a provision for long-haul truck drivers to drive for longer shifts with less time for rest in between will. And, what were the 50 Democrats thinking by voting for an appropriations bill with a rider that allows wealthy oligarchs to increase their campaign donations by tenfold? One wonders, seriously, how many Democrats would still have voted for the “compromise” if it included riders criminalizing liberals, Islam, birth control, minority voting, women in the workplace, secular education, or walking while Black?
It is curious that President Obama is “glad the bill passed the House and hopeful it passes the Senate” when it contains provisions that are a preview of Republican attempts to “undo everything he did accomplish until his presidency vanishes from history.” Is that a price he is willing to pay just to say there is “some practical governance and the willingness to compromise?” It is true, the CRomnibus does represent “some compromise,” but on balance it is a monumental gift to special interests that have nothing whatsoever to do with funding the government. It is a compromise “at all costs” that the American people, not Republican-lite Democrats, will end up paying for.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.