Are Democrats Crazy?

Henry Percy
Uh-oh. An article on budget cuts proposed by Republicans uses martial metaphors: "targets ... attack ... ultimatum." The article in the Los Angeles Times opens with this: "Battle lines over steep federal spending reductions hardened Sunday." Battle lines? Remember those anguished cries last month in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting? The hand-wringing, the worry that martial metaphors had pushed a leftwing nut over the edge?

And that's just the lead to the story. The language in the rest of the Times' article paints a truly alarming picture: "deepest spending cuts in generations ... too severe ... deadlocked ... stalemate ... showdown ... budget battles ... draconian attacks ...

Just how excessive are these "draconian" cuts of $61 billion? In February 2010, President Obama proposed a 2011 budget of $3.83 trillion with a projected deficit of $1.27 trillion. In other words, the Federal Government would be spending 33.2% more than it takes in. With a $61 billion reduction in both outlays and deficit, Federal spending would be only 32.1% more than income.

Let's put those numbers into perspective, rounding the national median household income off to $45,000. Let's say that the Smith household spends $59,940 per year, and Mr. Smith plans to do so this year, and next year, and the year after that, decades without end. His wife, growing concerned, reluctantly, grudgingly, tentatively comes up with a plan to reduce their spending to $59,445 per year. Mr. Smith waxes hysterical, accuses his helpmate of attacking, attacking, pushing for belt-tightening so severe, so draconian as to capsize the good ship USS Smith. Who would be adjudicated crazy? Both of them?

Maybe Democrats are crazy. Anyone visiting the official website of Rep. David Wu, seven-term Congressman from Oregon, might get that impression: The first item under Hot Topics brags that Obamacare "has now been signed into law, marking the beginning of a process that will touch the lives of all Americans and make substantial improvements to our health care system." Hello, Congressman, this is still breaking news? Concerning your assertions, a majority of Americans would agree Obamacare will "touch the lives of all Americans," but not that it will "make substantial improvements to our health care system."

So should Rep. Wu "enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment"? That sounds like, well, crazy talk, something from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, or from Tea Partiers. But soft you! That's from his "most loyal and senior staffers":

Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu's most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment ... He was loud and sometimes angry ... He said kooky things to staff and -- more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching -- around potential voters and donors.

Whoa, "kooky things ... around potential voters and donors," and they weren't even talking about his position on Obamacare. Yet still he won re-election. Who is crazy here?

According to Lisa Grove, Wu's long-serving campaign pollster, "This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW ... No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else." Indeed. One could be forgiven for thinking that Ms. Grove was writing about her president.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.
Uh-oh. An article on budget cuts proposed by Republicans uses martial metaphors: "targets ... attack ... ultimatum." The article in the Los Angeles Times opens with this: "Battle lines over steep federal spending reductions hardened Sunday." Battle lines? Remember those anguished cries last month in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting? The hand-wringing, the worry that martial metaphors had pushed a leftwing nut over the edge?

And that's just the lead to the story. The language in the rest of the Times' article paints a truly alarming picture: "deepest spending cuts in generations ... too severe ... deadlocked ... stalemate ... showdown ... budget battles ... draconian attacks ...

Just how excessive are these "draconian" cuts of $61 billion? In February 2010, President Obama proposed a 2011 budget of $3.83 trillion with a projected deficit of $1.27 trillion. In other words, the Federal Government would be spending 33.2% more than it takes in. With a $61 billion reduction in both outlays and deficit, Federal spending would be only 32.1% more than income.

Let's put those numbers into perspective, rounding the national median household income off to $45,000. Let's say that the Smith household spends $59,940 per year, and Mr. Smith plans to do so this year, and next year, and the year after that, decades without end. His wife, growing concerned, reluctantly, grudgingly, tentatively comes up with a plan to reduce their spending to $59,445 per year. Mr. Smith waxes hysterical, accuses his helpmate of attacking, attacking, pushing for belt-tightening so severe, so draconian as to capsize the good ship USS Smith. Who would be adjudicated crazy? Both of them?

Maybe Democrats are crazy. Anyone visiting the official website of Rep. David Wu, seven-term Congressman from Oregon, might get that impression: The first item under Hot Topics brags that Obamacare "has now been signed into law, marking the beginning of a process that will touch the lives of all Americans and make substantial improvements to our health care system." Hello, Congressman, this is still breaking news? Concerning your assertions, a majority of Americans would agree Obamacare will "touch the lives of all Americans," but not that it will "make substantial improvements to our health care system."

So should Rep. Wu "enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment"? That sounds like, well, crazy talk, something from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, or from Tea Partiers. But soft you! That's from his "most loyal and senior staffers":

Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu's most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment ... He was loud and sometimes angry ... He said kooky things to staff and -- more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching -- around potential voters and donors.

Whoa, "kooky things ... around potential voters and donors," and they weren't even talking about his position on Obamacare. Yet still he won re-election. Who is crazy here?

According to Lisa Grove, Wu's long-serving campaign pollster, "This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW ... No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else." Indeed. One could be forgiven for thinking that Ms. Grove was writing about her president.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.