With all that we read and hear, it should be abundantly clear that the right wing-nuts aren’t just satisfied by being anti-government. They simply want to eliminate government. Unfortunately, not enough people see the danger in what these ultra conservatives are pushing.
They cut funding and the bureaucracy runs into difficulty, short-handed and budget-restricted. Then the wing-nuts cry and whine how the government is so dysfunctional. No revenue, they say. Doh! Look at the tax benefits for the rich. Too much spending. Yeah, like fighting two wars without paying for them. What a plan — squeeze government and then cry how inept it is.
Each time I watch an old western movie with the cattle barons cutting off water rights and tromping over the little rancher, I think of what is happening today. The barons of Wall Street, oil and gas and real estate fight like despots to abolish all oversight. They want to roam the financial range with impunity and forcefulness.
The congressional and legislative weenies follow like boot-licking lemmings.
Then you add the Christian-right dingbats and it’s a wonder our country stands at all. Just listen for a little bit to the misinformation spewed by representatives Steve King of Iowa and Louie Gohmert of Texas and you should shake your head in disgust. Then close your eyes and listen to the oratorical wizardry of Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas. If you truly believe what they say, well, Lord have mercy.
An extreme contingent leads the House Republicans. Bolstered by Tea Party and radical freshman members, the leadership rolls back progressive reforms and opposes President Obama at every turn.
Speaker John Boehner won’t even bring bi-partisan bills to the floor. Do you pay any attention to Majority Leader Eric Cantor? You should. A lot of attention. Listen to what he says. Really. Okay, it’s difficult concentrating to what he throws out because he has such a discordant speaking style. A grating voice and an encumbering agenda.
What these two wrangle, however, is working because too many folks poll in their favor. Why do so many vote against their own best interests? I cringe at what seniors and the disenfranchised are facing. Yet look, for example, at the many seniors who vote Republican.
Check out again the Ryan budget, the one that favors the wealthy and trickles down on the poor. Ryan, the Ayn Rand devotee for laissez-faire and squeezing the “takers,” has certainly developed an austere budget.
Democrats may rejoice in listing what Ryan proposes because they can run against the points of view, but they better get off their duffs and fight to defeat this senseless path in Congress. Democrats view the document as a potent weapon in the November congressional elections and are betting that its emphasis on austerity and cuts to popular programs such as Medicare will provoke a backlash against Republicans.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called it a “moral imperative” to make sure the public was aware of the budget cuts that Republicans are proposing.
“It’s like a Dracula in sheep’s clothing coming in to suck the blood out of the middle class,” said Representative Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat.
Robert L. Borosage, president of the Institute for America’s Future, wrote for the Huffington Post and said the budget identified who these wing-nuts were, what they valued and what their priorities were.
“These are unsurprising but remarkably unconscionable,” he said.
His look at the budget:
• Cut taxes on the rich. The Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that even if Republicans eliminated every loophole claimed by the wealthy, lowering the top rates to 25 percent would still hand millionaires an average tax cut of $200,000 a year.
• Cut taxes on multinationals. It would lower the top rate of corporate taxes. But most important it calls for moving toward a territorial system for taxing multinationals which in essence turns the entire world outside the US into a tax haven where corporations could move jobs and report profits without having to pay U.S. taxes.
• Hike spending on the Pentagon. The Pentagon is slated to spend $6 trillion over the next decade, with annual spending at the end of the current five-year plan up 27 percent over 2001 in constant dollars. Republicans argue that is not enough, adding nearly $500 billion over the 10 years over sequestration levels (about $273 billion higher than President Obama’s budget).
• Eliminate health insurance for an estimated 40 million Americans. The budget repeals Obamacare without replacing it. It would turn Medicare into a voucher of declining value — known as a “premium” — for today’s 55-year-olds and younger. It would gut Medicaid, repealing the Obamacare expansion, turning it into a bloc grant and cutting it by a quarter by 2024. Private insurance companies will ration health care by the ability to pay.
• Inflict savage cuts in domestic investments. The budget cuts domestic programs by one-third compared to inflation adjusted levels over the next decade. This includes aid for schools, Head Start, child nutrition, roads and bridges, water systems, border security, the FBI, environmental protection and more. Republicans will not specify where they will make the cuts.
• Slash programs for the most vulnerable. Even while cutting taxes on the rich and the multinationals, the Republican budget would slash support for the most vulnerable — Pell grants, Supplemental Nutrition, housing, home heating, child care, and more would be rolled back. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that fully 69 percent of the Republican budget cuts are taken from the poorest and most vulnerable Americans. But of course, poor people don’t contribute to campaigns or hire lobbyists.
This is who they are, Borosage, said. House Republicans lined up to pass the budget. At the same time, they would not even allow a vote on raising the minimum wage or extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed.
The austerity of the Ryan Budget would cost jobs and cripple the economy. Its tax cuts would add to Gilded Age inequality. Its Big Oil agenda continues to ignore catastrophic climate change. Its numbers don’t add up. Its claim to balance the budget in a decade depends on funny money — assuming faster growth, keeping Obamacare’s tax revenue while repealing its benefits, etc.
But put the disagreements aside. Simply accept Republicans at their word: This is who they are. These are their values. These are the priorities that they choose to endorse.
Borosage concluded, “And then pray for the future of this country.”