SELF-PRESERVATION FAIL

Posted in Rants on August 25th, 2010 by Ed

Here in the State o' Georgia, a solid majority of the population tends toward Teabaggery. Many are under the hypnotic spell of Neal Boortz, Lord of the Airwaves, or one of the many charismatic and highly intelligent local politicians like Sonny Perdue, Saxby Chambliss, or Paul Broun. Georgians don't like taxes, big gub'mint, liberals, uppity colored presidents, or any of the other things the modern conservative is contractually obligated to hate. This doesn't describe every Georgian, of course, but…there are no doubts about our redness.

Here are the 10 largest employers in Georgia:

Or, to put it another way:

1. The government
2. The government
3. The government
4. The government
5. Private university heavily dependent on state/federal grants and federal student loans
6. The government
7. Private university hospital
8. Government contractor
9. The government
10. Private employer

Think that's funny? Check out Florida!

The inability of these people to understand that "fiscal responsibility" and "cutting spending" are slogans for cutting their own throats is beyond me. I mean, what this state and its 9.9% unemployment rate really need is for the state to stop spending money (and Congress too!). They rationalize it, I'm sure, with some bullplop about cutting "waste" or maybe old favorites like "welfare" which, according to Boortz, is probably like 70% of the state budget.

On the other side of the country, DWT brings us the charming story of remote Modoc County in Northern California. The "citizens" of this tiny county (population: 9,449) are currently debating a ballot measure to institute a small tax to keep its only hospital open. If it closes, the next-closest hospital might be hours away (a nearby hospital is over mountains that are impassable in winter). And like many rural hospitals, it is the county's largest employer. The parcel tax will cost each land owner an extra $195 annually.

In the county that handed McCain his largest victory in California, that's heresy. To the Teabagging faithful, dying before they can reach a hospital after having a stroke on the farm is a small price to pay for that extra $195 – although once the county's largest employer folds I can't imagine who will be left except for the sizable population of old, immobile, and angry retirees.

I don't sincerely expect the average talk radio fan to have a great grasp of the numbers or, you know, reality, but it is amazing how ignorant Americans are of the extent to which our economy is dependent on government spending. State, federal, and local governments combined have employment rolls running into the millions (2 million for the Federal government alone, not counting the military or the private sector defense industry that depends entirely on Pentagon money). Yet all we hear is cut, cut, and cut some more. Fire the teachers, screw the cops, and shut down the hospitals. That will make everything better, right?