OX GORING

The Federal budget is nearly always discussed in abstract terms – it is "too large" or whatever – or with precision but bereft of context, as billions and trillions and numbers with decimal points are thrown around by people who haven't the faintest idea what portion of our budget those figures represent. The 3.99 trillion dollar FY09 budget, for example, makes almost any individual program look like a drop in the ocean. But I digress.

Where does all of that money get spent? Popular wisdom says Congressmen fight over it and eventually divide it up among the 435 districts in vaguely similar amounts. In reality Federal spending overwhelmingly favors just a few patches of real estate in this country. Note that the figures I am about to discuss are raw dollars, not dollars per capita, and exclude entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Between 2004 and 2009, 11% (10.88% to be exact) of all non-entitlement Federal spending went to six districts, or 1.4% of Congressional districts. Quite logically, four of these six districts include the District of Columbia, two bordering districts in northern Virginia, and one bordering district in Maryland. These districts receive copious Federal dollars because the Federal government itself resides in them. The remaining two, however, are quite a way from Washington D.C.

Over the last five years no Congressional district outside of Washington D.C. itself has received more Federal cash than Texas 12, ably represented by fiscal conservative Kay Granger (R). Since 2004, $32.6 billion tax dollars have been shoveled into this vast, empty swath of land west of the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington agglomeration. It is with rich irony, then, that I read tripe on her website like "Granger Decries Healthcare Bill." It mixes cheap regurgitation of Contract With America-era nonsense ("It should include tort reform.") with non-stop whining about the costs. Rep. Granger sure is vigilant about looking out for our tax dollars, no doubt making sure that the encroaching threat won't siphon off her district's gravy train. I mean, that $13.9 billion in 2008 for "Construction of Structures and Facilities – Miscellaneous Buildings" doesn't just grow on trees!

The disconnect between fiscal conservative rhetoric and the reality of Congressional spending is considerable but rarely cast in high relief. Being "opposed to government spending" essentially means being opposed to spending that benefits individuals, and specifically individuals who live outside of one's district. Opposing spending means opposing "welfare" and unemployment benefits (which I believe are about $5000 per month in the minds of Glenn Beck and the idiots who attach themselves to his doughy hide like barnacles). Today it also means opposing healthcare reform, which like welfare and unemployment exists only to suck money out of the pockets of white hard-working people and give it to black shiftless people. The inability or plain unwillingness of voters and elected officials to recognize just how heavily they depend on a steady flow of cash from Washington D.C. is almost impressive. But when that money is threatened we find that their attitude quickly changes. Anti-spending attitudes are meaningful and deeply held only until one's own ox is being gored.

Be Sociable, Share!

14 Responses to “OX GORING”

  1. Ike Says:

    I live in a town where President Obama is decidedly unpopular and where, incidentally, Sarah Palin will be spending Thanksgiving. Our entirely economy is largely funded by federal dollars directed toward a giant radioactive hole in the ground from which nothing productive ever emanates. We received a metric buttload of Federal Stimulus dollars and are coincidently one of only 10 cities in the country which is experiencing job growth. On Thursday while enjoying lunch I overheard a woman in the next booth refer to our Head of State and Commander in Chief as a "thug." Sigh.

  2. AMW Says:

    Where's the sixth district (the other one far from DC)?

  3. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Yeah, yeah. Right-wing cockmaster politicians are greedy morally degenerate sick-fuck lying sacks of shit. The question is, what the fucking fuck are decent Americans going to do about it?

    Obama is like a motherfucking sixth-grader who is more worried about people "liking" him than he is about the welfare of the motherfucking country, so he ain't gonna do jack diddly fucking squat about this cancer on our polity.

  4. Kulkuri Says:

    "Opposing spending means opposing "welfare" and unemployment benefits (which I believe are about $5000 per month in the minds of Glenn Beck and the idiots who attach themselves to his doughy hide like barnacles)."
    Don't you know that those gettin handouts on welfare are getting many times more than if they earned it by working???? That 5 grand a month is only those too lazy to work the system. Hell, everybody knows that, ask Glenn Beck, et al.

    Anyone who believes that life on welfare or unemployment is living on EASY STREET has never had to live that way or tried to get on welfare and was turned down.

    Just what the hell are they building west of Ft. Worth??? 13.9 Billion builds one helluva lot.

  5. Da Moose Says:

    I work as a contractor in the federal sector in Virginia. I commute everyday over the Potomac from Maryland. Working with the red staters here in VA, I've been called a communist over lunch right after these same federal teat suckers rail against the "feral gooberment." Present day American hypocrisy knows no bounds or limits in its obesity. The general idiocy of the populace is so deep and wide, I say get Palin into office so that we can reach the bottom sooner than later. There must be a merciful end to this Beckish order soon, no?

  6. jazzbumpa Says:

    I just spent a few moment extracting conservative talking points from the Texas Republican Party Platform. Not all on-topic for budget, but illustrative of right wing thinking. Bold emphasis added.

    Permanent Tax Cuts – We urge the recent income tax reductions be permanent.

    Federal Tax Reform – Federal tax reform is required and any reform should support free enterprise, economic growth, be simple and fair and support job retention in the United States. The Internal Revenue Service is unacceptable to U. S. taxpayers! We urge that the IRS be abolished and the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution be repealed. We further urge that the personal income tax, alternative minimum tax, inheritance (death) tax, gift tax, capital gains, corporate income tax, and payroll tax be eliminated. We recommend the implementation of a national retail sales tax, with the provision that a two-thirds majority of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate is required to raise the rate

    Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.”

    Social Security – We support an immediate and orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax.

    Theories of Origin – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories, including Intelligent
    Design.
    We believe theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught as scientific theory, not scientific law. Teachers and students
    should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

    Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgment of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state.

    http://www.1888932-2946.ws/TexasGOP/E-ContentStrategy/userfiles/FINAL_2008_PLATFORM.pdf

  7. Dennis-SGMM Says:

    None of the congresscritters who rail about spending ever mention the fact that their states are usually getting more money back from the government than they are contributing in taxes. These are the same people who've taken to bombast and hand wringing over creeping Socialism in our government. Other than perfecting hypocrisy, their only accomplishment is being smarter than the legions of ignorant fools who vote them into office.

  8. Wellnab Says:

    @Kulkuri:
    having spent many of my growing-up years in the vast suburban sprawl of the D/FW MetroPlex, I was also curious about where all those tax dollars were going. According to the WaPo here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/politics/elections/2000/states/tx/house/tx12/index.html) it's because of the military/industrial complex:

    The economic strength of the 12th depends heavily on transportation. Within or adjacent to the Fort Worth-based district are three major airports, an Air Force base, three railroad lines, several interstate highways and a myriad of businesses that depend on one or more of these conveyances. The Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads are both active in the district, but the air industry has far surpassed rail. Large government defense contracts have helped create jobs and fuel economic growth.

  9. Robert Says:

    @jazzbumpa

    Show us your God and prove to us your God spoke through this myth you folks call Jesus and all your fairy tails will be taken seriously along with your belief that a magical being in the sky wished everything into existence. An all powerful being that came into existence from absolutely nothing.

    Now, when you argue for the abolishment of separation of church and state I'm curious, which religions will be taught in school other than the obvious? Do you fight for all religion or just your own? A religion that takes pieces from others before it and calls itself Christianity.

    And last I checked, a science class should teach science. There are no scientific facts to back up creationism which is another name for intelligent design. The two are one in the same.

  10. Richard Says:

    @ Robert

    I'm pretty sure jazzbumpa was only quoting the Texas Republican talking points, not defending them. Ease up there trigger. But I agree with you entirely on your response to the points outlined.

  11. Desargues Says:

    The self-serving hypocrisy of Republican and 'Blue Dog' Democratic sucklers of governmental teats is well known among everyone with a brain stem. Cry for fiscal restraint, but only at the expense of others — being consistent would only undermine the Republican's true credo: "Fuck you, I got mine." Clamor for the gub'mint to get out of your Medicare, even though the exercise of individual 'freedom' has put the South firmly in the top 10 list of most fucked-up American states.

    Now, if only the liberal, lefty national media could be persuaded to write about the cognitive dissonance of these motherfuckers. Oh, never mind…

    In a sense, the true morons here are the liberals and the two-coasters. Southern mouthbreathers have been taking them for a ride for well over a century now, and yet the former still can't bring themselves to bitchslap these assholes like they deserve.

  12. jazzbumpa Says:

    Richard is right about me being right. I pointed out the Tex Repug position to highlight their asininity. Somewhere I read that "the myth of separation of church and state" was in their platform, and I had to see it for myself.

    This is the second time in the last few minutes I've seen "Fuck you, I got mine" as a description of the conservative position. Ooops. Now that I've gone back and checked, it's actually "I got mine and fuck you." But hey, close enough.

    http://blog.badtux.net/2009/11/kindergarten-dropouts.html

    In closing, I'll just add that if there is a god, (s)he sure fucked things up.

    Cheers!
    JzB

  13. DocAmazing Says:

    One of Michael Moore's now-sadly-defunct TV shows (either TV Nation or The Awful Truth had a bit where Moore went to Georgia, to Newt Gingrich's district. He set up a podium and a loudspeaker and began railing against those who would mooch off of the federal government; this drew a crowd. He then began citing specific examples of moochery–in that district, that locals drew their paychecks from. The crowd began to grow quiet, then embarrassed, then angry. Truly priceless.

  14. Shawn Gavin Says:

    Would you please translate your site into German since I'm not that comfortable reading it in English? I'm getting tired of using Google Translate all the time, there is a handy WordPress plugin called like global translator which will render all your articles by default- that would make reading posts on your awesome blog even more cosy. Cheers dude, Shawn Gavin!

Leave a Reply