The Political Party With Two Brains! | WisCommunity

The Political Party With Two Brains!

Submitted for your approval: Another pair of cases that demonstrate the hoary truism that, "It's okay if you're a Republican."

First, State Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) announces he wants to regulate what kinds of foods that poor people on federal food stamps may consume. Kaufert's proposal would require Food Stamp recipients to spend more on foods with higher nutritional value and less on snacks. Kaufert would require that the state Department of Health Services establish guidelines over the, er, federal program.

Yes, Rep. Kaufert is from the same political party some of whose other members heavily criticized New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he pushed a plan in that city to limit the size of super-gulp-sized sugar soda drinks, in his own campaign to improve the health of residents. In the case of Bloomberg (who happens to be a moderate Republican), GOP and conservative critics argued the plan was an assault on personal freedom. Of course, that New York measure didn't discriminate based on income or enrollment in a particular government program. It affected everyone. Everyone! Bad! Bad! 

On the other hand, in Republicanland, it's never an assault on personal freedom to boss around poor people, telling them what to do, especially if they're so poor they're on public assistance.

Surely it's a good thing to promote healthy eating for everyone in America, because that drives down health care costs. But health professionals say requirements like the one proposed by Kaufert are not only unfair but probably would not work.

Second, the case of Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) who is all upset and demanding answers from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA, you see, just cut money to fund privately outsourced control tower operations at 149 smaller airports across the US, including the Waukesha County Airport in Sensenbrenner's own district. That airport caters to corporate aviation including private jets.

The cuts were mandated by the recently activated "sequestration" law trimming vast federal outlays. Sensenbrenner said he's going to write the FAA administrator questioning the airport tower closures and asking how much is still being spent on improvements at other airports, in a separate program not targeted by the law.

Obviously, Sensenbrenner is upset about the sequestration's budget-cutting priorities, which resemble a meat axe. That might be reasonable on the fact of it. Trouble is, Sensenbrenner was among the large group of GOP lawmakers who VOTED FOR the sequestration, which set strict conditions on what and what could not be cut. The FAA has to cut a large amount out of its budget and has little discretion in which programs can be cut. The airport improvement program cannot be cut under sequestration. True, there are some obvious pork-barrel earmarks in that program, but they, emanated from Congress, not the FAA or (ahem) President Obama. 

So, sequestration is good because it slashes spending. But it's bad, because, well. it slashes spending. Two brains!

Sound fiscal policy apparently is all about whose ox is being gored. Sensenbrenner votes to cut programs and touts the importance of that measure, but when it affects his own legislative district in a relatively modest way, he complains, turning into villains the decisions being made by civil servants charged with carrying out that Sesenbrenner-supported law. Finger-pointing, at best, hypocrisy at worst.


March 24, 2013 - 10:33am