How “Starve The Beast” Became “Starve The Poor.”

For years, Teapublicans have marched to a tune called “Starve The Beast.”  The premise is that government has gotten too big and expensive so, in order to bring it under control, they must deprive it of the revenue needed to fund it.  As band-leader-in-chief, President George W. Bush cut taxes, primarily for the wealthy.

As a result of those tax cuts, two unfunded wars and a bill designed to buy the votes of seniors in time for the 2004 election, the Bush administration squandered the Clinton-era budget surpluses and led us into massive deficits and an ever-growing national debt.

Rather than being alarmed by these Bush decisions, Teapublicans reveled in them.  And, when the economy collapsed in 2008, Teapublicans recognized two opportunities:  One, by blocking every attempt to speed up the recovery, they hope to make President Obama a one-term president.  Two, by howling about the enormous deficit and debt they created, they hope to make it easier to cut government and the things Teapublicans seem to hate most: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

They say Americans can no longer afford such programs.  They point to the long-term “instability” of Medicaid and Medicare while failing to admit that much of that instability is caused by the skyrocketing medical and pharmaceutical costs they refuse to address.  I believe their hatred for “Obamacare” is driven by the fact that it will help mitigate costs, thereby saving Medicaid and Medicare.

Likewise, Teapublicans seem to relish every new report on Social Security that shows the program running out of funds in the not-too-distant future.  They point to the large group of retiring Baby Boomers as the reason the program needs to be privatized (gotta get it out of the clutches of big government, you know).

What they fail to mention is how easily Social Security could be permanently fixed.  Either increasing individual contributions to the plan by little more than 1 percent or removing the cap on incomes above $106,000 would protect Social Security for future generations.  But that wouldn’t allow Teapublicans to meet their long-term goals of privatizing Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

As for the people whose health care would be left at the mercy of large, greedy insurance companies and the retirees who might be relegated to dumpster-diving the next time the stock markets crash, no worries.

Teapublicans are more than willing to starve the poor in order to Starve The Beast.