Monday, December 19, 2016

The Secret Language of Conservatives

My US Congressman, Walter Jones (R-NC), loves to claim that federal spending is "out of control" and that the federal debt will spell financial disaster for our kids and grandkids. Congressman Jones has voted against every stimulus bill and every debt ceiling increase that has come up during his tenure in the House of Representatives. You could be forgiven if you accused Rep. Jones of being tight-fisted or niggardly. You might even confuse him with Ebenezer Scrooge.

But I have noticed that Rep. Jones has no problem voting for expenditures for expanding the military presence in North Carolina, or for improving veteran care, or for protecting North Carolina fisheries, or for stabilizing the beaches along North Carolina's shore. He does, however, want to defund Planned Parenthood, cut welfare, privatize Social Security and Medicare, and pass a balanced budget amendment, all of which are deeply rooted in right-wing ideology.

Well, I have decided that Rep. Jones and his so-called "conservative" cohorts in Congress and the Senate are not really stingy at all. Rather, they are devious. They are not really worried about "out of control" spending, deficits, or federal debt at all. They just want the public to worry about those things. Why? To cloak their ultra-conservative ideological agendas from the public.

Jones and crew know that many constituants may not be as rabidly conservative as they are. In fact, many of their constituants are beneficiaries of the federally funded programs that he and his cronies despise, programs like SNAP, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Disability, and many others. While there may be disagreement on the ideologies behind various federal funding initiatives, Jones and company are pretty safe in assuming that nobody wants the government to go bankrupt. So these devious politicians have developed a very effective code language that they drag out when their ultra-conservative ideologies are challengable. If a bill promises to garner too much liberal support for Rep. Jones to bear, all he has to do is say that the bill will increase the deficit and send us deeper in debt with out of control spending. That rhetoric brings out the fiscal conservative in even the most left-wing constituants. It's a very effective code.

Of course, we know from studying monetary sovereignty and modern monetary theory that the federal government cannot involuntarily overspend or go insolvent because it alone issues the free-floating US dollar and can do so with no limit as long as there are goods and services available for it to spend dollars on. If Jones knows this, he is not fessing up to it. To do so would, in fact, break the code.

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