AUSTIN, Texas—Rick Perry, who bashes federal spending everywhere he goes on the presidential campaign trail, has spent 11 years as Texas' governor asking Washington for money.
Perry sought and received $24.2 billion in stimulus funding for Texas while saying the program was bad federal policy. He helped secure more than $100 million to protect against drug violence and illegal immigration on the Mexican border. The governor also endorsed his state's request for money under President Barack Obama's new health care law, though he now promises to help repeal the measure should he win the White House.
Most of all, Perry asked for emergency federal aid for victims of wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, flooding and crop-killing heat waves and freezes in his state's 254 counties. Texans hit by natural disasters "deserve a more immediate, compassionate response from their federal government," Perry wrote in a November 2009 letter complaining that the Housing and Urban Development Department was slow in aiding hurricane victims.
I'm not going to get into Rick Perry's psyche here. It's pretty obvious that he would do a disservice to his state by not seeking Federal aid, and while he may be the blazingly closeted hypocrite this article makes him out to be, we should remember that Barack Obama made a similar pledge (about accepting campaign contributions and lobbyists serving in his administration) but finds himself cozying up to special interests, lobbyists and the corporatocracy, all to get re-elected.
Similarly, tax breaks for the rich aren't about to go away so long as those rich can pony up more money than Croesus to serve to candidates and for "issue ads" and superpacs. Stephen Colbert's Colbert Superpac is one of the cleverest political satires I've ever seen, bringing to the forefront a vital issue while at the same time making a spectacle of it.
Government spending, campaign finance reform, inequitable taxation; none of these are likely to go away anytime soon barring a massive revolt from you and me, I'm afraid.
There's more. Much more: transparency in governance, election reform (to prevent the...to put it politely...pre-counting of votes), accountability, and the chance to be heard by your elected representatives. None of these are likely to change anytime in the near future.
The Occupy folks have it right. We as a people cannot sit idly by in private, becoming disgusted and dismayed at the direction our nation is taking. We must take action, even if that action is to sit idly by in public, demonstrating our disgust and dismay on national television night after night.
It's easy to mock OWS as a bunch of confused kids with no clue what they want or how to go about getting it, but you know what?
They're one step ahead of the rest of us. We're all confused. They're just admitting it.