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“Taxpayer Funded” Requires Republican Approval

“Taxpayer Funded” Requires Republican Approval

In the latest conservative hissy fit, congressional Republicans have threatened to cut off any taxpayer funding to the Smithsonian if they do not remove a video from their exhibit that the Catholic League called “hate speech.” Leaving aside the obvious irony of Bill Donohue declaring something is hate speech, the threat from Congress that they will pull funding from something because some constituents don’t agree with it appears to be a disturbing trend that is likely to continue to grow as Republicans take over the House in the next legislative session.

According to the Washington Post:

[Congressman John] Boehner’s spokesman, Kevin Smith, said in a statement that the congressman was monitoring the episode. “American families have a right to expect better from recipients of taxpayer funds in a tough economy,” Smith said. “While the amount of money involved may be small, it’s symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans’ hard-earned money.”

But this is only the latest instance of the congressional religious right’s belief that they alone get to decide for the American public what is or isn’t worthy of taxpayer dollars, or even government support without funding.  Only a few months ago, Senator Jim DeMint blocked a bill for a women’s history museum that would have needed no taxpayer dollars, saying that there were already enough places that women’s achievements were cataloged (like, for example, a quilting museum).

Or more recently, after NPR fired Juan Williams for comments made on a Fox News show, Congressman Cantor once more jumped in with a bill to defund the radio station, a vote that failed on the floor.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).  In response to the vote Cantor lashed out at House Democrats and accused them of being “unwilling to listen” to the American people.

NPR also issued a post-vote news release that called Republicans out for trying to assert government control over the content of the news.  The release states, in part, “The proposal to prohibit public radio stations from using CPB grants to purchase NPR programming is an unwarranted attempt to interject federal authority into local station program-decision-making.  Furthermore, restrictions on the authority of CPB–a Congressionally chartered, independent non-profit organization-to make competitive grants to NPR, or any other public broadcasting entity, is misguided.”

On the other hand, progressive leaders seldom threaten to cut off funding to projects that they, or their constituents, do not approve of, regardless of the unpopularity or the cost.  One of the biggest examples would be the multiple military endeavors we are engaged in, often without even a majority of the country’s support

Conservatives push for issues like no taxpayer funding of abortion, removing it entirely from health care reform, and attempting to permanently codify the Hyde Amendment, as well as defund Planned Parenthood or any other resource center that so much as speaks of abortion, regardless of if they perform them or not.  Meanwhile, all taxpayers continue to fund useless abstinence-only education programs, crisis pregnancy centers that focus as much on trying to convert mothers to Christianity as they do on actually assisting a woman who is struggling with her choice to have a child, and other faith-based initiatives that are as much about finding new followers to their religious dogmas as they are about providing the assistance they are allegedly offering.

The double standard of taxpayer funding — that conservatives get to decide what projects are “moral” enough that all taxpayers should be asked to pay, will likely be a growing twist to the 2011 legislative session, as Republicans will continue to threaten to cut off funding to anything that they believe their religious constituents shouldn’t be forced to support.  Meanwhile, they continue to gut unemployment, health care, tax credits for the lower and middle class earners, social security, and other safety net programs that most Americans believe are the backbone of our society.

Looks like “moral” is in the eye of the beholder.

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147 comments

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2:26AM PST on Dec 12, 2010

Thank you Barry.

1:51AM PST on Dec 9, 2010

Scary thing is they want to build a "Creationist Museum" in Kentucky, and they plan to include dinosaurs on Noah's Arc. Now THAT's messed up!

1:55PM PST on Dec 7, 2010

Bunch of Leeches!

9:07AM PST on Dec 6, 2010

How hypocritical can you get? Plenty apparently. The conservatives funding only "moral" projects is as ridiculous as Bristol being an "abstinence activist". It didn't work for HER, but taxpayers get to pay LOTS of people like her to give "advice". What happened to separation of Church and State? It's GONE. Not because the Party of NO NO is "religious" - but because they've learned how to work the 'Revival Tent' crowd to their advantage. Their "flock" will buy anything - as long as the words 'abortion' or 'gay' are used to distract them from Republican sleight of hand. Abra Cadabra: taxpayers fund proven-to-be-useless Church projects and STOP funding unemployment - putting thousands of families out on the street. Hmm . . . which is the MORAL thing to do?? Lemme think . . .

9:07PM PST on Dec 5, 2010

"conservative hissy fit"

Have you ever used the phrase "liberal hissy fit"?

Well, of course not, since you wouldn't likely use the dreaded L word to begin with.

But... how about "progressive hissy fit"?

6:16PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

"And guess who's in that 70% federally funded? We all are as taxppayers!!!"

And the majority don't want that show funded; and so it wasn't.

5:21PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

And guess who's in that 70% federally funded? We all are as taxppayers!!!

4:04PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

what the republicans wanna spend more then democrats

3:37PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

Diana S... If you study the history of this country you will notice that it was never the intention nor the action of the framers of the constitution to keep religion out of the government. It was to keep the government from dictating the parameters of religion. Visit our nation's capital and you may be enlightened to the spiritual intentions of those men. A deep reverence for the Creator is everywhere.

3:32PM PST on Dec 4, 2010

Diana S.... That is called a democracy. For the last 234 years We The People have elected representatives as our collective voice.
That is called a Democratic Republic - quite different.

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