MAD AS HELL 

MAD AS HELL

FREAKS - 1, CLUB FOR PHONIES - 0 After the market ticker had scrolled all day, CNBC ran the prime time Kudlow and Cramer. The show offered stories and interviews impacting economic and business news. Jim Cramer and Larry Kudlow, hosted the program by holding discussions with business world leaders and government officials. The bespeckled, button-downer, Larry Kudlow displayed the smugness of a bemused business professor who found a personal satisfaction in flunking his students. Having served as associate director for economics and planning in the Reagan administration, Kudlow now owns an investment consulting firm, and is contributing editor to the conservative National Review. Like most right wingers, he is a fervent disciple of the trickle-down philosophies and exploding budget deficit theories of St. Ronnie and the Supplysiders. He recently helped establish a new Republican campaign organization called The Club for Growth Ð a sardonic name with an amusing twist. As good compassionate conservatives, Larry and his Club cronies have been fondly sponsoring that pithy ad most Iowans, by now, can probably recite by heart. It was featured prominently last week by news networks reporting on the Democratic caucus. It shows a couple of creepy, white haired seniors who look like they were just cast in a version of Alien: Resurrection of Periodonitis. They rip with gusto into the government expanding, latte -drinking, sushi-eating, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving " freaks" from the Dean campaign and urge them to take it back home to Vermont. No one should be surprised, really. This is faith, hope, and charity - Republican style Can't you feel the love? I'll confess, I received a Starbucks' gift card for Christmas, so I have enjoyed my tall cafŽ mochas, without the latte, thank you. Occasionally, I have downed a crunchy shrimp roll with my fill-up at the Asian-owned Gas For Less/Deli Sushi Bar around the corner. Paul Krugman is one brilliant economist who writes the best column in the New York Times. It's reprinted in the local daily, so naturally, I read it. Although I drive a Mazda, I have taken a ride with my sister and her three year old daughter in the family's Volvo. America - behold thy freakdom. Government expanding? After living with a Bush economy for three years - now there's a subject a freak can understand. The Bush White House and the Republican Congress are spending at twice the rate as under Bill Clinton. So far, Bush has yet to issue a single veto on spending, and the passage of this year's omnibus bill would mark the third consecutive year of massive discretionary spending growth following increases of 13 percent and 12 percent in the previous two years. The $400 billion pharmaceutical corporation giveaway, known as payback - excuse me Ð the prescription-drug benefit, signed by Bush last year, will provide the largest expansion of government in a generation. The 2003 budget called for $396 billion in military spending, representing a one-year increase of $48 billion - more than the increase Bush had promised over nine years during his election campaign; more than the total increase he promised for health, education, and defense; and more than any other nation's entire military budget. Like they say, "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon we're talking real money." So perhaps if Larry Kudlow and his friends at the Club For Growth could get out of the Democratic candidate bashing business long enough, they could figure out what actually is growing in America: Poverty is growing , job losses are growing, health insurance costs are growing, and bankruptcies are growing. They are growing like there is no tomorrow. Of course, something else that is growing like an athlete on steroids is the $7 trillion national debt. All that spending like "drunken sailors" will saddle the nation's future generations with decades, perhaps centuries, of tax increases, low wages, and inflation. Members of the Club claim to be economic conservatives who are frustrated with politicians who have veered away from fiscally sound policies that promote prosperity and limited government. They advocate for controlling federal spending and minimizing government's role in our daily lives. Maybe it is time for this organization to change its name to The Club for Phonies because anyone who wants limited government couldn't possibly want more of the spending and borrowing antics of George W. Bush. Better yet, maybe it is time for those who are concerned about the sham economic policies of this administration and the nasty name calling by its hypocritical supporters to say "Get yur Freak on."

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