As ultra conservatives from one of the reddest states in the nation, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and the editorial writers at The Oklahoman are opponents of supposed big government and the spending policies of President Barack Obama.
Their mantra is the typical right-wing harangue about how government should live within its means just like families and how trickle-down economics favoring tax cuts for the extremely wealthy create economic growth.
So it should be surprising that a recent editorial (“Cuts in highway funds would really hurt Oklahoma,” July 15, 2011) in The Oklahoman lamented the possibility that federal highway funding for the new Crosstown Expressway in Oklahoma City and other state road projects could be in jeopardy. It also notes how Inhofe has asked Gary Ridley, who heads the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, to tell members of the U.S. Senate’s Environmental and Public Works Committee just “how important federal highway dollars are to the states.”
Inhofe, according to the editorial, believes transportation funding will be cut. The editorial notes, “… given the push to cut federal spending, exacerbated by the nation’s debt crisis, it may be wishful thinking to believe this threat will be averted.”
Threat? What about Inhofe’s push for a Balanced Budget Amendment? After all, when it comes to the federal deficit, Inhofe argues, . . . “we all know there’s a problem, and there is no shortage of scary statistics that illustrate its seriousness.” What about the newspaper’s relentless criticism of so-called Obamacare and support for tax cuts for the wealthy and spending cuts for entitlement programs?
If we’re going to have to live within our means like families and save the country for those grandchildren, then, well, don’t we need cuts in all federal programs, at all federal agencies? The Oklahoman, in particular, has argued this position consistently when it comes to state budget cuts.
Of course, the hypocrisy of Inhofe and The Oklahoman editorial page is nothing new, but the senator and the newspaper have really forfeited the right to be taken seriously when they argue for more, not less, federal dollars for the state.
As someone who drives the dilapidated and downright frightening Crosstown Expressway on regular basis, I assure you the project should be funded. I hope, along with Inhofe and the newspaper, the federal money can be found to complete the new project as soon as possible. The project is crucially important to Oklahoma City and the state.
But let’s not ever forget that it’s the ideology of Inhofe, the newspaper’s editorial writers and just about every Republican politician in Washington these days that’s going to lead to massive budget cuts, which could delay the work on the new Crosstown Expressway. Inhofe and The Oklahoman create the very problem that causes their discontent.