The famous quote by Otto von Bismarck that "laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made," couldn't be more wrong today. Because if we don't pay attention to what's being thrown into the Continuing Resolution - the bill to keep the federal government funded that must be passed by March - we could wind up with poisoned sausage that will kill our economy and environment.
The sausage making process is particularly perilous this year, because the Republican majority won election by promising to balance the budget by cutting government spending and cutting taxes. In short, as The New York Times' Paul Krugman wrote, they promised to repeal the rules of arithmetic.
But it gets worse. Much of the budget is off limits for statutory or political reasons, like Social Security and Medicare, as well as most military expenditures, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority promised to cut $100 billion from the budget, but realistically, only about 10 percent of the budget is available for consideration. And when push comes to shove, the voters who asked for spending cuts really only want spending cuts on programs they don't like or don't know about. That's why so many members of Congress are making the calculation that they need to find unpopular or unknown programs and/or funding that invests in the future but causes no immediate pain, if they are to keep their promises to the voters, and keep their careers.
So welcome to our poisoned sausage. With members of Congress thinking no one is watching, they are trying to throw anything and everything into the budget grinder, particularly environmental programs that grow our economy in the long run.
Some of the cuts being thrown into the meat grinder include:
There is much more poison being thrown into the grinder by members of Congress. All together, the final product will kill jobs, ruin our environment, damage our health, and destroy major sectors of the economy. We can't afford to swallow this poisoned sausage.
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