Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heartless to the Heartland

As if you need another example of political tone-deafness and just plain cruelty:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.

“If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.

Translation: you won’t get anything from us unless we cut the budget somewhere else. We can’t just borrow money to pay for every natural disaster, y’know.

From a purely political point of view, this is stupid. These tornadoes struck in the reddest part of the country; you can’t get much more Republican than Southwest Missouri, Oklahoma, and Alabama without taking up residence in Karl Rove’s colon. And even the most hardened teabagger is going to expect to get government assistance after a natural disaster. In fact, they are the ones who are pissed when FEMA isn’t standing there with a cup of hot coffee and a settlement check the moment they come out of their storm cellar.

On the humane side, it’s just plain heartless to stand there and recite budgetary mumbo-jumbo when people have lost their homes, their property, and their loved ones. The last thing you talk about at a time like that is what it will cost unless that’s the only thing that matters to you, which is apparently the case with Mr. Cantor. By the way, Mr. Cantor isn’t the only one who is basically saying, “Hey, suck it up.”

I’ll say this much for them: they don’t sugar-coat it.