A couple of days ago Mitt Romney opened his yapper and mocked Obama because the President claimed the private sector was doing “fine” and the public sector desperately needed stimulus money so we would quit hemorrhaging public sector jobs, like those of firefighters, cops, and teachers. Mittens scoffed at that: “He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
There are so many things wrong with Mitten’s bullshit that I’ll need several more posts to cover it all. For one thing, there is the fact that while the private sector is not “fine” and Obama should not have used that word, it is TRUE that “82,000 jobs were added in the private sector in May, [but] 13,000 government jobs were eliminated”, and the private sector is therefore indeed doing better than the public sector and we do need to hire more public sector workers to help get the economy off its death bed. For another, teachers are technically part of the “American people” too.
However, I cannot cover every single erroneous and misleading aspect of Mitten’s yammering in one post, so I will be focusing on just one thing today.
Note that Mittens still calls them “firemen”. That’s because he is an older guy, and also because he is a sexist douche stuck in the 1950s of his dreams. But no matter what Romney bleats, there are women as well as men who serve, so we’ll call them all the gender-neutral term of “firefighters”.
Now, both politicians and firefighters get their salaries from the government, via taxpayer monies. So who is the most worthy of tax dollars? Well, let’s see. How many politicians rushed into the Twin Towers to save people on 9/11? Yeah, it’s definitely firefighters. I don’t think that all the US politicians alive today, en masse and across both parties, have ever done as much to help their country as a single firefighter. In fact, if confronted by a burning building I think politicians are more likely to piss on their own shoes and drown one another with the hose than actually put out a blaze. And how have politicians repaid these valiant men and women who serve us?
Mittens, realizing he had put his privileged foot into his smarmy mouth up to the kneecap, has tried to backtrack and now assures voters that it is just crazy talk to assume that as President he would be responsible for laying off such vital public sector workers, since “teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that is completely absurd.”
Absurd is it? It just so happens that Federal funds are crucial to maintaining firefighters at a local level: “In 2009 and 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded some $630 million under Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, hiring about 3,400 firefighters. Grants are still being awarded in the 2011-2012 period, for which Congress has set aside about $640 million”.
What do those SAFER grants do? They allow desperately poor communities — such as Flint, Michigan – to maintain a fire department, among other things. So if Mitt Romney wins in 2012, and is able to put his anti-public service agenda in play with a nice rubberstamp from a GOP congress, poorer communities are going to have to watch their stuff burn because there will be no one to help them.
Once again, the modern incarnation of the Republican party shows their utter distain for those who are less fortunate. Eisenhower and Goldwater would spit on the current crop of yahoos polluting the GOP’s political field. Mammon, however, is pleased as punch with his far-right followers, and their persistent devotion of accruing benefits for themselves at the expense of their fellow humans.
Meanwhile, firefighters are cast as the enemy, who are lazy unionized alien ticks sucking the fiscal blood out of the hardworking “American people”, as opposed to citizens who do a dangerous job in the service of their fellow Americans and thus deserve health benefits and a pension and enough salary to live on.
Fokk you, Mitt Romney. I’m on team firefighter.