Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Republican Hypocrasy

Originally published as a Letter To The Editor on November 24, 2010, in the Grant County Herald, Elbow Lake, Minnesota.

Please, please do not let the Republicans plunge us ever deeper into debt. Their idea is to "extend the tax cuts for the rich; let's pretend that supply-side economics will work even though it didn't for Reagan and both Bushes." The Republicans are calling the return to fiscal sanity a "massive tax hike." They are refusing to extend unemployment benefits (just in time for the holidays) because it is unfunded, yet they are not proposing that the continuation of the massive tax cuts for the rich be somehow paid for.

If the Republicans manage to continue the tax cuts for the rich, it will cost $670 billion per year. [Note: This is the wrong figure; it should be $67 billion per year for a total of $134 billion for two years.] That would be $1.34 trillion if they con people into extending them for two years! How much have those wealthy tax cuts cost us for the last 10 years? Is that why the National Debt is so high? Where was the outrage during the Bush years? Will the Republicans also manage to extend the Bush capital gains tax cuts?

At the start of Reagan's Presidency, the percentage of the National Debt to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was 32.5%. By the end of George H. W. Bush's term, it had increased to 66.1%. Under George W. Bush, it went from 56.4% to 86.4%. Republicans want to continue this trend. How much is it costing us in interest on this debt?

Remind people why the debt is so high, that nothing Obama has done is responsible for the almost 13 trillion dollars of supply-side generated debt.

Remind them that it is "Bush's two wars", not "Obama's War."

It is "Bush's Recession," not Obama's policies, which is partly responsible for the state of the economy.

It is the gutting of the regulatory agencies, the lack of oversight by the SEC, and the refusal of congress to deal with for-profit rating agencies which have created enormous problems.

Credit is tight because big banks prefer to invest in bonds (including foreign bonds) with the Treasury's low-interest loans so that they can make money off of the difference in interest rates. That is also why so many people are still unemployed.

The Congressional Budget Office says that the Health Care Reform legislation will reduce the deficit, yet Republicans keep claiming it is a budget buster. Republicans are also claiming that "ObamaCare" is a take-over of the health care industry in America. Were any hospitals, clinics, testing labs, drug companies or medical device companies nationalized? Are doctors and nurses and orderlies being paid by the Federal government? Where are the death panels? There is not even a public option!

Democrats in the 2010 elections mistakenly attacked Republicans personally, instead of exposing the Republican Party's big lies. The party of Hope and Change should have made the election about why they are better for the country than the party of Despair and Stagnation.

The PR war is being won by Republicans. It is long past time for Democrats to stop ducking and to start hitting back. The rise in the national debt under George W. Bush should have been pointed out over and over at every opportunity. Instead, the Republicans have led people to believe that it is Obama's policies, most of which have not had time to take effect, that is the problem. Too many people believe that the recession started during the Obama administration instead of in the previous administration. Too many people believe that the stimulus bill was a failure. Too many people believe the Democrats lost the last election, even though they have control of both the Senate and the Presidency.

The GOP position has become pathological, led by the belief that "Every piece of anything you get is one I don't." Incivility calls for a different response by the Democrats, including Obama. Hostile people do not respect generosity of spirit in conversation. Responses to them should be made without equivocation or apology. Bipartisanship would be nice, but by definition it calls for an effort by both sides.

Will Sen. Michele Bachmann, as the self-proclaimed head of the Tea Party, try to gut Social Security and Medicare, and vote against an unemployment extension, while fighting to extend the enormously expensive and unfunded Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? Why is she still repeating the lie that so many small businesses will be impacted by the expiration of the tax cut? By her definition, if a wealthy person invests in a small business and is affected, then that small business is affected, too. In reality, only 2.5% of small businesses would see a return to the prior tax rates.

The House of Representatives, in this current session of Congress, has already passed 420 bills since January of 2009 which are just sitting on the Senate leader's desk because of fear of a Republican filibuster. Democrats in the Senate have the power to change the filibuster rules. Let the Republicans foam at the mouth. Let them try to derail bills which most Americans would want to see passed. Let them fight against The "National Bombing Prevention Act" and the "Paycheck Fairness Act" and the "Eliminating Disparities in Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act of 2009" (also becoming known as the "Don't Amputate Our Feet Act"). Which Republican will stand to speak out in favor of diabetes?

The Democrats in the Senate still hold power. They could pass all of these bills and turn them into law right now today, by simply calling for a majority vote of 50 Senators (plus Vice President/President of the Senate Joe Biden).

As for the situation in Minnesota, the Republicans have vowed to drag the Governor's election through the courts, even though they don't have a prayer of overturning the Democratic lead of 8,000 plus votes. This will extend Pawlenty's term in office, and insure that even more cuts to services in Minnesota, including Aid to Local Governments, will be made. This will result in even more city services being cut (where that is still a possibility) and property taxes being raised yet again.

Let us now sit back and listen for the next two years as the Republicans continuously blame the other party for all of the country's woes. Let us see if they can keep people from realizing that they have been conned.

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