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October 22, 2013

Washington politics full of deception

Chuck Pinkey
The Daily Star

---- — An old farmer once told me that when it comes to politics, he feels like a mushroom. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Kept in the dark and packed full of s*#t.” he exclaimed. As I’ve grown older, this colorful pearl of wisdom has rung true many times.

Take for example ACORN. Remember that community-organizing taxpayer-funded organization that was overwhelmed by scandal in 2009 and defunded in 2010? Did you really think it went away? Not so!

According to Fox News, “A group formed from the ruins of ACORN is hard at work signing people up for Obamacare, and may be collecting taxpayer cash for their work despite Congress’ efforts to cut the organization and its affiliates off from government funding.”

How about the Obama administration’s dubbed “fake” scandals involving Benghazi, the NSA and the IRS? Let’s not get into the details except to mention that four Americans were murdered, American citizens were spied on, and certain groups were targeted because of their political beliefs, but “fake” scandals they were not. 

Also, the GSA and the IRS, two government agencies in charge of government spending and collections respectively, are rife with scandal when it comes to lavish spending. The abuse is in the tens of millions of dollars.

The “mushroom” effect is that after all the hearings, posturing and outrage, nothing will have changed! Some will retire, a few will lose their jobs, but six months from now, it will be business as usual in Washington. In other words, it will be “the same old, same old.”

The big “mushroom” is that we’ve never elected a single congressman, senator or president who has promised to spend money like water. No sir! Every one of them has promised to cut spending, get government off our backs and make government live within its means.

They have promised to compromise and “reach across the aisle” and work in a “bipartisan fashion for the good of the American people.” Do you feel yourself getting packed?

So, how in the world did we end up with a $17 trillion debt, politicians crying like babies when someone tries to curb the growth of spending, and more laws and regulations than any other nation on Earth? Ladies and gentlemen, we have been had, and we keep going back for more. 

Look at this latest circus involving the defunding of Obamacare, “shutting down the government,” and raising the debt ceiling. If you believed the doom and gloom scenario put forward by Washington, would you like to buy shares of Obamacare Inc.? Need I remind you of Washington’s sterling record of integrity? Would they lie to us mushrooms?

After all, with more 100 million Americans on some form of welfare or food Stamps, a 2012 deficit of $1.3 trillion, and a National Debt of almost $17 trillion, if now is not the time to curb spending, would someone please tell me when would be a good time?

Apparently, now was not the time, and I suspect at $20 trillion or $25 trillion in debt, it will not be possible then, either. That’s because no one in Washington is looking out for us. It used to be that elected officials spent taxpayer money carefully, but those days are long gone. 

Interestingly, in the late 1800s soldiers were issued single shot rifles for fear that they would waste expensive ammunition. While that is certainly far too frugal, that is how concerned politicians were with taxpayer money. 

Someone laid the blame on Washington being an exclusive “good old boys club.” By that he meant that whether they are Democrats or Republicans, they are still members of the same “club.” That should have been very obvious after viewing the Obamacare/Debt Ceiling fight last week. 

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell was a leading negotiator for the Republicans. Tucked into the bill to open the government and raise the debt ceiling is a $3 billion appropriation for a dam in Kentucky. What a coincidence that Mitch McConnell is from Kentucky! 

In a nutshell, they won and we lost, but conservatives and the tea party are still standing and still smiling, and we’re ready for the next round. This time, there were too few men and women of character and honor, and too many men and women of posturing and greed. That will change.

Many think we are in America’s darkest hours and her best days are spent. Not so! Just remember that spring day in 1775 when the defeat at Lexington was followed by the victory at Concord.

CHUCK PINKEY is a retired area businessman. He can be reached at chuck.ontherightside@gmail.com. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board, but the author thinks they ought to.