The PJ Tatler

Concern Troll of the Year

I know better than to feed the concern trolls, I really do. But when the editors of the New York Times deem it incumbent upon themselves to give advice to the GOP, well… what’s a blogger to do but to pick up the feed bag?

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the editors of that fabulously money-losing and shrinking organization, the New York Times:

Ted Cruz, the newly elected Tea Party senator from Texas, embodies the rigidity the public grew to loathe in Congress’s last term. He is bursting with fervor to fight compromise and consensus-building in Washington wherever it is found. Unlike 85 percent of the Republicans in the Senate, he would have voted against the fiscal cliff deal. He says gun control is unconstitutional. Breaking even with conservative business leaders, he would have no qualms about using the debt ceiling as a hostage because he believes (falsely) that it would produce only a partial government shutdown and not default.

There’s an awful lot of red meat in that first paragraph. That is, if they believed in red meat. So let’s just say it’s some really hearty tofu. But what is it that makes Ted Cruz so fervent and rigid and uncompromising and other bad things? For starters, he wouldn’t have given in right away on the debt ceiling — which even John Boehner now said was a mistake. Cruz even has the audacity to agree with the Supreme Court that right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. And the kicker? Cruz has the ability to do simple arithmetic. Here’s how it goes.

The federal government is expected to collect about $2,900,000,000,002 this year. And it has debt obligations (“the vig,” in Chicago-speak) of about $246,000,000,000. Now, I’m no math whiz like Senator Cruz, but if I use my calculator to subtract the second great big number from the first great big number, I’m still $2,654,000,000,002 in the black. That leaves $2.654 trillion dollars for necessities like Obamaphones and shovel-ready green jobs.

But what would the Editors have the Republicans do? Let’s see:

The upcoming session will give Republican leaders a chance to ignore pressure from the right and begin working with Democrats. The tests are coming quickly: Will they block all gun-control proposals and a reasonable immigration plan? Will they force a government shutdown to resist new revenues and demand cuts to safety-net programs?

All I can say is: We can certainly hope so.

And now that I’m done feeding the concern troll for your enjoyment, all I ask in return is that somebody help shovel up the mess.