‘Starving the Beast’ will destroy us in process | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Starving the Beast’ will destroy us in process

Dr. Eugene T. Paslov

“Starving the Beast” is a metaphor anti-government critics use to describe how they will decimate state and national government to the point it fails completely. “No new taxes” and incessant rants against government, its employees and its institutions are part of the pathology. Those who subscribe to such a strategy appear to look forward to “eating their young” ” and ours as well ” while they attempt to “starve the beast.”

Recently the House Republicans decided to play big time obstructionists. They voted to a person not to support the stimulus package. They did not vote to debate, just to oppose. Our own Dean Heller developed a “herd mentality” just as he has done in the past. His push for more tax breaks, presumably for the wealthiest 2 percent, does not bode well for Nevadans.

Our citizens are suffering from the highest unemployment rates in the country; Nevadans are experiencing the greatest loss in the nation of homes through foreclosures and a massive decline (proposed) in the most vital of state human services, education, public health, mental health and others. If the House Republicans are attempting to “starve the beast” they may well succeed, but they also will destroy the rest of us in the process. We need thoughtful, creative problem solvers as policy makers, not mindless “just say no” political hacks.

The stimulus package was developed with internationally recognized economists, both conservatives and liberals. House Republicans were invited to participate but their leadership said “no.” The economists participated but did not come to agreement; they did offer “a plan to beat,” understanding that compromises would have to be enacted. The president went out of his way to gather bipartisan support in the House. “No” was heard loud and clear, nevertheless.

President Obama did not talk about big government, but rather he stressed smart government, government that works for the people and is accountable. The president talked about investment. He talked about government being part of the solution, not the problem. There are millions in our country waiting for government to help. There are thousands of Nevadans who are hurting and want their government to mitigate the pain. Working to disable government, to “starve the beast,” as the House Republican action did is a sad commentary on the American political character. Where’s the civil discourse, the debate, the compromise?

Some in our community believe that if we just cut taxes, pass no new ones, and reduce spending everything will be fine. I don’t think so. We have some who claim to possess a “magical economic truth.” They suggest this “economic truth” results in every dollar taken in taxes will somehow destroy human happiness. No one wants to pay taxes, but the last I heard it was a civic responsibility. Paying taxes has nothing to do with human happiness; unemployment, hunger and living in dignity are related to human happiness. Ideological babbling is designed to “starve the beast,” make government ineffective and save a buck or two in taxes in the process. Not very community minded.

I heard Ann Coulter ” the quintessential liberal hater ” recently say that if we just wait until the end of the year and do nothing, the economy will be fine.

That sounds like the Hoover plan to me; and the cost of government doing nothing will far exceed the cost of the current or an amended stimulus plan.

– Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada superintendent of schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter High School in Carson City.