Last updated on 2015.01.19
From what alternative-universe dystopia is Rep. Isaac Latterell blogging? The Tea (party and town) Republican prefaces his Monday commentary on proposals to raise taxes to fix South Dakota roads with two servings of red herring:
But as the Federal Reserve continuously prints money, and Obama’s draconian policies prohibit more U.S. oil production, costs to build and repair roads have been going up [Rep. Isaac Latterell, "South Dakota's 90th Legislative Session Begins," blog post, 2015.01.19].
Let's get literal: yes, the government prints money. 85% of the Fiscal Year 2015 order for 7.2 billion notes valued at $188.7 billion is ordered to replace destroyed currency. That's just Uncle Sam doing the proper business of government. Isaac, if you're worried about folks printing bogus money, tell your conservative friends to stop playing with Bitcoins (oh, never mind: market already solving).
The second serving about oil production sounds like the GOP fabrication of some "war on energy." Maybe Rep. Latterell thinks "draconian" means "fantastical, not real, like dragons": as I must tediously remind the Representative from Tea, under the Obama Adminstration, U.S. monthly oil production rebounded from a 23-year decline and grew by October 2014 to 53% higher than the highest it ever was under President George W. Bush (May 2002).
But Rep. Latterell appears to dislike discussions of reality at the national or local level. Rather than focusing his commentary on the realities of the conditions of roads and other public services that shape South Dakota's Legislative priorities, Rep. Latterell wants to frame everything in terms of whatever right-wing podcast-rot he's listening to on the earbuds he shares with Senator Haggar:
...[T]he reason we have these discussions at all is because the Federal Government and Federal Reserve are out of control, far beyond their intended authority. With the Fed printing money (which devalues your dollar and causes inflation), and burdensome taxes and regulation increasing the costs of everything, now is the time to pass amendments to the Constitution using Article V which will return the power to you locally [Latterell, 2015.01.19].
Rep. Latterell amplifies his indigestion about printing money by citing the ever-present bogeyman of inflation. I understand that when folks like Latterell yell about printing money, they're really yelling about economic stimulus and deficit spending. Under the last six years of stimulus and deficit spending, inflation has averaged 1.6%. That's the lowest six-year average we've seen since 1966. Right now, the Fed's "printing money" (with or without quote marks) is not causing inflation, or at worst, it's causing darned little.
(As for this Article V tangent—that's the right-wing plot to get just enough conservatives in just enough state legislatures to convene a Constitutional Convention. It won't pave a single road or pay a single teacher in South Dakota, but it will likely scrap the Constitution as we know it. But that's a tangent about Isaac's preference for fantasy-football politics over representing the practical interests of his South Dakota constituents, a whole blog post, if not an entire blog, of its own.)
But no, really, Rep. Latterell insists in an earlier post, inflation and disaster are coming!
The Governor announced in his budget address that sales tax revenues came in below estimates, signs that the Fed’s money printing and phony stimulus bubble is showing signs of bursting. This would be the largest tax increase in South Dakota history, at a time when our national debt, inflation, and economic situation have gotten even more dangerous and I am predicting will see another severe correction in 2015 [Rep. Isaac Latterell, "Representative Latterell Joins Craig Dewey on The Facts Sunday," blog post, 2015.01.04].
Rep. Latterell, you've been reading Rep. Rev. Hickey's secret online fanfic novel, The Long Economic Winter, haven't you?
I get what's happening here. Reality is kicking the crap out of conservatives' worldview. The President's approval rating is rising (not as much as il production was, but hey, you don't get miracles). When the hyperinflation monster fails to jump out at us from around the corner, conservative abstractionists like Rep. Latterell must stoke out fears that the monster is still just around the next corner. When the world doesn't blow up, they have to keep telling us the world is going to blow up.
And when national talk radio and blogs don't tell him what to think about real South Dakota issues like fixing roads and bridges, Rep. Latterell has to contort a real pressing local problem into karaoke speeches about right-wing fantasies. District 6, is Rep. Latterell's detachment from reality really what you voted for?
p.s.: Then again, maybe gasoline prices will bounce back, to $5 a gallon. I'll bet an Article V Convention will help us invent fusion cars!