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Jonathan Kraut: Blue Dogs wanted

Posted: March 2, 2009 8:58 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Despite his campaign promises of fiscal accountability and supporting smaller government, I know many of you are quite disturbed that President Barack Obama has promoted the greatest increase in government spending in human history.

The president directed the greatest expansion of social programs, hid $180 to $200 billion a year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wrote blank checks to banks and financial houses to spend or waste billions without any oversight.

The president dismantled the safeguards that protect homebuyers for unethical lender conduct. He clipped the wings of the EPA so that it cannot enforce the laws that keep us all healthy. He removed the checks and balances that made government accountable to the public. He s moved us into a national debt of $10.8 trillion, putting us five years in the hole - it would take the taxpayers five years, spending not one penny on any current services, to get out of debt.

Oh, that president, by the way, was George W. Bush.

Many of you clamored to support an administration that spoke one way but acted in another. In fact, the same people who ran Congress and the executive branch are complaining about the very policies they executed. This deceptive behavior is cowardly, repugnant, hypocritical and simply immature.

It was the Republican Congress and a Republican president who plowed a hole so deep that now we barely see daylight. Yet only 30 days after a change in administration, the Republicans are already belly-aching that Obama can't fix these problems fast enough.

The Republican platform is for less taxes, smaller government, a stronger military, world leadership, supporting the entrepreneurial spirit, and fiscal responsibility. While they don't even try to pretend to uphold guaranteed rights under the Constitution, transparency in government, and promoting the health and welfare of the common person, their fiscal part of the platform has revealed itself as nothing but a scam to attract the undiscerning and blindly loyal.

How many of you are going to continue to put up with this hypocrisy? Since when does "conservative values" mean support the rich, abandon the needs of everyone else, blindly chase unseen enemies, and ally ourselves with foreign powers that harbor the real threats?

I am proud that the Obama Administration has quickly moved to meet the promises our new president has made.

Obama's promises include supporting a stimulus package that funds labor and tangible results, like bridges, schools and highway repair. This is a far cry from buying bank shares at three times the going value, and yet just 90 days later, no one can tell where all the money went or what this money was for.

Under Bush we can say that bank executives wrote bonus checks for themselves to the tune of as much as $30 million each. But no more - Obama has put a salary cap of $500,000 per year for executives in firms accepting government aid. That means, after personal tax deductions, even many of these once-cash-gluttoned execs will be under the $200,000 a year top tax bracket.

President Obama made a commitment to support working America by reducing taxes of working families. This new stimulus package does just that. All the recent Republican screaming about tax increases applies only to those whose net, after expenses, is more than $200,000 a year. That means that after the house payment, after all business expenses, and after all other deductions are taken, someone netting $200,000 will have to pay $7,200 a year starting in 2011. Reversing the Bush tax cut to the wealthiest five percent of Americans and applying to middle-America a tax relief is already approved in the Obama plan.

The Blue Dog Democratic Coalition is a group of 47 moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives. The Blue Dogs promote, among other things, fiscal conservatism and accountability.

According to their official Web site, "Blue Dogs represent the values of Middle America. Blue Dogs are moderate and conservative Democrats that do not support abortion, gay marriages or gun control. There are other issues: primarily, securing the border to stop the flow of drugs into the United States and the hemorrhage of manufacturing jobs leaving the United States for other countries."

A blue dog is their mascot because when dogs are not let into the house, they stay outside in the cold and turn blue. It's time the Republicans start boycotting their party and going against the grain.

Enough for the Republican practice of brood, boycott and belly-ache.

It's time some Blue Dog Republicans start to emerge. I am not saying you should abandon your party of choice. Just stop voting for the fools who put us in this mess. Stop re-electing those who won't cross the aisle to find solutions. And stop supporting those who do nothing but complain.

Jonathan Kraut is a Fair Oaks Ranch resident and serves in the Democratic Party of the SCV, on the SCV Human Relations Forum, and the SCV Interfaith Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or other organizations.


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