U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey took on Speaker of the House John Boehner this week, on a topic that Republicans like to think is all their own: Morality. Boehner had just gotten done preaching morality in front of televangelists and radio tent revivalists, but Woolsey pointed out that Boehner’s own agenda in the U.S. Congress has a rather immoral tone. She said,
“In a speech this past weekend to our religious broadcasters, the Speaker of the House called the Federal debt “a moral threat” to our Nation. It’s an interesting choice of words from the leader of the House majority, who has been a cheerleader for the Nation’s most morally objectionable policy of all–the disastrous, despicable war in Afghanistan.
For some reason, their moral sensibilities are not offended by a military conflict that has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars and 1,500 of our bravest, bravest people without advancing national security objectives or truly diminishing the terrorist threat at the same time.
So how are my colleagues on the other side of the aisle resolving their moral dilemma? By asking corporate special interests to give up handouts and tax breaks? By asking the wealthiest Americans to give back more to the Nation that has given them so much opportunity?
Nope. By their moral calculations, the answer is to demand sacrifice from the very Americans who are bearing the brunt of this recession–from the people and communities who depend upon public investment. Their moral compass tells them to cut vital programs to the bone or eliminate them altogether: food safety, family planning, health research, public housing, transportation infrastructure, college aid, and on and on.
There was an article in my home newspaper over the weekend about how local health clinics could be devastated by these cuts. California alone stands to lose nearly $13 million in homeland security grants needed to train and equip first responders. The Republican budget cuts also, according to one study, would destroy 700,000 jobs–but that’s not keeping the Speaker up at night. He sees Americans out of work, and instead of saying this is a moral threat, he says, “So be it.”
In what moral universe, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, does it make sense to destroy jobs at home but send more Americans to die in a senseless war abroad?”