Meet Human Needs? Nah, Let’s Play Tea Party Games


It took only a few days and 50 inches of rain.

President Trump, who was threatening to shut down the government just the other day, suddenly realizes that, maybe, government has some things to do other than deliver to him his shiny border-wall bauble.

Texas Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and other Texas anti-spending posers suddenly find meaning and merit in the words “emergency spending.”

Emergency spending was an olive they couldn’t swallow without extended tea party-style posturing after Superstorm Sandy decimated the Atlantic Northeast in 2012.

Now reality has hit them with a 1,000-year storm in the Lone Star State.

After Sandy, Cruz and Cornyn stalled and strutted over the money the Northeast needed.

Cruz said the Sandy aid package was “two-thirds pork.”

The Fact Checker at the Washington Post, citing a Congressional Budget Office report that said that “virtually all” of the bill was directly related to storm damage, awarded Cruz “three Pinocchios” for his claim.

Cruz and Cornyn have mastered the art of “Grammstanding” attributed to former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm — a constant and loud opponent of federal spending, but faster than a speeding bullet claiming credit for spending to come Texas’ way. He was a force of nature, and hypocrisy.

Post-Sandy, Cruz and Co., including tea party stalwart, then-South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney — now Trump’s budget director — said that the spending should be offset by budget cuts.

It’s always amazing to see people like Mulvaney advocate monstrous increases in military spending without a wisp of the “budget austerity” the “conservatives” preach about everything else, particularly spending that helps low-income Americans.

Heaven forbid, for instance, that the government should help the working poor with preventive health care

Well, a lot of Texans are in desperate need. And many have nothing now and will get nothing, no matter what emanates from Washington.

As Washington Post columnist Dave Von Drehle wrote in Harvey’s wake, “Paradoxical as it may seem, the less a person has the harder it is to replace it.” Poorer people don’t have the reserves and the insurance policies and the second homes or wealthy friends who can deliver them from that despair.

Oh, and while we’re talking about human needs: In February, Trump tweeted, “”The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on Dec. 31, 2018.”

It was idiotic then, and truly moronic now with the environmental disaster in the Houston area – floodwaters having inundated seven toxic waste sites. Yes, you might say it’s, “All hands on deck,” government-wise, making Trump’s idea of government a disaster unto itself.

To score cheap points with people who don’t see the big picture, he pretends that this weekend’s blue-sky forecast and means perfect weather to come.

An example of this is the Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama administration rule meant to make it easier for communities using federal emergency aid to rebuild based on future threats.

Governors had pointed out that current law requires rebuilding a site or structure as it was before, not reconfiguring it to adjust for such things as sea-level rise. In effect, under this requirement, structures inundated in Houston would be sitting ducks for the next major storm.

Smart. So smart.

Trump’s 2018 budget, by the way, would sock FEMA by $667 million. After Harvey, he talks about needing an additional $8 billion for the Texas gulf coast. Which is it, Mr. President?

Trump and the tea party purists like Cruz said we didn’t need all that government. A few days and 50 inches of rain later in Texas, they now say we do.

John Young is a longtime Texas newspaperman who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo. Email See

From The Progressive Populist, October 1, 2017

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