Thank You, Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Once in a while a lone dissenting vote in Congress can flicker from the past as a singular beacon of sanity, desperate proof that at least one member of the species was not in the pocket of rich corporations, blinded by half-baked testosterone-poisoned politics, or meekly lowing with the herd. Russ Feingold’s lone dissent for the Patriot Act is such a vote.
Another stark flash of real honor that will not be forgotten is the lone dissent of Jim Bunning in the confirmation vote of one Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. “Bunning objected to Greenspan’s voicing opinions on subjects such as tax cuts and the budget deficit, which he believes are outside the Fed’s jurisdiction.”
In the Clinton years Greenspan was Mr. Fiscal Austerity (besides being good for the economy it denies Democrats further constituents from lower social spending) and presided over the equities bubble. Then when Bush arrived he was Mr. Tax Cut screw austerity and nauseatingly groveled for the administration in praise of its economic governance.
Not only that, in testimony before Congress—while not in his role as Chairman—Greenspan said that future social entitlements (social security and medicare) will have to be cut to finance the current deficit (tax cuts).
Under Reagan payroll taxes were specifically raised to finance the future health of Social Security—regressive taxation that hits low-earners unfairly. The current surplus from that financing commitment—that’s Little People’s money—is foolishly used to mask real government revenue, and Greenspan essentially said to cover for Bush’s outrageous and disastrously economically wrong sops to the rich now all the Little People will have to pay for it with lower social security benefits in the future!
Greenspan should be stripped of his title and clothes, in other words, and be dropped off on a tiny Polynesian archipelago for the rest of his short, filthy, traitorous, scumbag sorry-assed life.
Since that’s not going to happen—as the talented Mr. Yglesias says, we need more talk about policy!—all we can do now is thank Mr. Bunning. And wish that the New Yorker, when trolling the very shallow depths of journalism talent as Hertzberg goes on vacation, could at least find a writer who tells the reader just what those “opinions” of Greenspan’s where about future fiscal policy.
It’s easy to be a sleazy hack, as Mr. Greenspan has so ably shown. It’s quite another to grovel for it with lazy journalism prostitution, and I’m quite sick of it.
We won’t forget, Mr. Bunning.