Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Illinois residents received a constituent email from newly minted Illinois Senator Mark Kirk establishing the “Silver Fleece” award to highlight eliminating government waste in reducing our 14 trillion dollar deficit.

I was puzzled however, by the three nominees used to kick off his “Wastebook on Facebook” campaign. They refer to totally obscure programs amounting to a tad over 2 million dollars. If that is the type of waste (assuming those programs are actually wasteful) he is focusing on, it would take a millennium or more to make even a dent in that 14 trillion dollar shortfall.

This contest of sorts could be over in a heartbeat if Kirk would simply focus on the three most obvious wastes of our precious treasure, that are evident to anyone really interested in deficit reduction:

1. The trillion dollars in borrowed money we’re spending on our senseless Iraq war

2. The trillion dollars in borrowed money we’re spending on our senseless Afghan war

3. The trillion dollars in borrowed money we’re spending to fund tax cuts to the super duper rich

That three trillion dollars, give or take a couple of hundred million either way, represents over a fifth of the deficit, a mega-mountain compared to Kirk's microscopic molehill.

Interestingly, his campaign focuses solely on domestic spending, without a word on the most egregious wastes of money any country or any legislator could ever sanction – borrowed treasure to get a lot of innocent civilians and duped soldiers killed or maimed for nothing, and borrowed treasure to pad the already bloated wealth of the upper 2%.

Could it be Kirk's campaign donors and supporters in the Military-Industrial Complex and the wealthiest 2% have made it quite clear that ending trillions for senseless wars and further tax cuts for the rich are “off the table” of deficit reduction?

Mark Kirk was not elected to the high office of Senator to use the phony issue of piddly domestic spending cuts to distract the electorate from the urgent task of ending these bankrupting wars and bankrupting upper class tax cuts. Nor do we need him to rise and speak on the Senate floor, as he has promised, to waste everyone’s time railing against the digitizing of Greatful Dead photographs, signs with poetry at zoos, and why candidates make vague statements (his initial nominees).

We need Kirk to get to work on the urgent task of preventing America’s collapse from a the most virulent form of empire building and funneling of middle class wealth to the upper class I’ve seen in sixty years of following the American Experiment.

Failure of Kirk and the 534 other legislators to address the real deficit reduction problem is not an option.