Republicans on the Hill have been focused on two fights this fall: shutting down the government and refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Most of their legislative efforts have been geared at destroying government… or at least threatening to, unless their demands are made. Normal people call this “extortion,” and think that it is both immoral and illegal. But hey, all’s fair in politics, right?
Wrong. The GOP plan is absolutely fucking crazy. Their entire strategy consists of playing chicken with the total collapse of the American economy in order to extort the government into not only revoking the signature legislative pieces of Obama’s presidency, but into implementing the entire Teapublican agenda while they do so. The concerns about economic collapse aren’t just speculation; no matter how much Republican legislators may want to doubt experts: “Economists, what have they been doing? They make all sorts of predictions. Many times they’re wrong, so I don’t think we should run government based on economists’ predictions.” – Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
The experts consulted on the situation says that defaulting on its debt is the worst move that the United States could make, and it is incredibly likely that the entire economy would plummet into a deep, deep depression.
So why have Republicans set out on this incredibly dangerous course of action? To please their donors: the Koch brothers, the oil and gas industry, and Wall Street. All of this talk of “cutting government spending” is a smokescreen for the real agenda, the implementation of a drastic overhaul of the social safety net, environmental protections, and loosing the financial sector upon the American people once again in a binge of unregulated profit-seeking while the 0.01% get richer, and richer, and richer. Here’s what the Republican “plan” to allow the government to pay its debts really plays out:
Hook: they want to restrict government spending, always appealing when people are worried about debt and the economy is going through a kind of shaky maybe recovery for most people (except, of course, Wall Street and the rest of the super rich).
Line: Obamacare is bad for the American economy and the American people! You see, the truth doesn’t matter here, this is ideology, and it doesn’t care about voters, elections, the rule of law… nada.
And …. The Sinker. They are going to destroy American environmental standards, as in the air and water that support us, to benefit the Koch brothers while they remove all the new oversight of Wall Street and allow rapacious bankers to start whipping up another economic bubble. When it bursts, there will be another bailout, and the 0.01% will succeed at sucking even more money out of the people of the United States and into their own pockets… and their portfolios, their bank accounts, and their ownership of tangible assets like the very world we live in.
Their agenda is so totally in favour of the interests of the corporate and financial elites that they have to do a whole run-around trying to make it look like the Democrats are being uncooperative to try to get people on side (scary Obamacare! Nooooo!), while really it is the Republicans are threatening to destroy the entire economy (and, potentially, a vast portion of the world’s economy) unless their demands are met. The worst part of this whole mess is that the Republican Party is acting as if this kind of behaviour is totally normal in politics. One Republican even had this to say: “People have to recognize there’s never any compromise until the stakes are high. In our society, that’s the nature of democratic government.” – Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA)
Totally, totally, totally wrong…. and the reason why this government has done absolutely nothing except listen to the Republicans demand over and over that Obamacare must be removed, because they don’t like it. Republicans are dead-set on their agenda, and their agenda is to please their wealthy donors and make sure their sponsors make even MORE obscene profits over the destruction of the American middle class. Forget the voters. Forget the fact that the law has put the Affordable Care Act into place with a 10 year prefunded period, so there is really nothing the Republicans can do to stop it.
Except, of course, that the Republicans aren’t willing to do anything until it is gone, and preferably until they get a whole other laundry list of demands, too. It makes a teensy portion of the American people happy, and when the 0.01% and their rabid grassroots supporters are happy, the GOP is happy (and gets their bone while the “Tea Party,” or Koch brothers, keep wagging the dog).
The Huffington Post reported the list of demands Republicans have made in order to agree to pay the government’s bills for one more year, until the end of 2014 (you can also check out other sources HERE and HERE and HERE).They basically break down into four sections in the Republican agenda: cut the social safety net, including Obamacare; scrap environmental protections and let oil and gas roam free in the “new frontiers” of our air and water supplies; and go back to the “good old days” of Wall Street… you know, 2007, before all of this pesky new regulation designed to protect people from the immense economic and political power of the financial sector. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s cut taxes on the rich.
Cutting the social safety net:
- A one year delay in the implementation of Obamacare.
- Cut the pensions of federal employees: the plan would “reform” the Federal Employee Retirement System by cutting $84 billion from the program.
- Raise taxes on immigrant families with parents who do not have a Social Security number.
- Restrict the child tax credit to immigrants who have a Social Security number (the Republican plan claims that this will save $7 billion).
- Increase Medicare means testing.
- Eliminate social service block grants given to states to help fund services such as daycare, transportation, and home-delivered meals.
- Eliminate the fund for preventative healthcare in the Affordable Care Act (the conservatives who have characterized this as a “slush fund” have never heard that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”). The Prevention and Public Health Fund also includes funds to train primary care doctors and support healthy corner stores…. but who wants healthcare and good food for local communities?
- Limit medical malpractice lawsuits.
Scrapping the environment:
- Expand offshore oil and gas production… in the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps?
- Permit more oil and gas exploration on federal lands.
- Block the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and coal ash.
- Give Congress the power to veto any “major” regulation issued by a federal agency; new rules would have to be affirmatively voted in by Congress, so Republicans could simply sit back and defeat rules by ignoring them. Doing nothing seems to be their legislative strategy.
- Construct Keystone XL. Nevermind that it won’t create more than a few handfuls of jobs and will drive the prices of oil and gas in the US up. It’s good for the oil and gas industry, it’s good for the Koch brothers, and that’s good enough for the GOP.
Remove regulation from Wall Street:
- Eliminate the Dodd-Frank Bailout Fund… which was established to allow regulators to pay some creditors of large banks if they fail, NOT to give money to the banks themselves. Without this fund, there would be no way for the government to prevent a domino of failures from wreaking economic havoc without another massive bailout using taxpayer money.
- Give Congress the authority to slash funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the signature achievement of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. While the Republican plan outlines $5 billion in “budget savings” from the overhaul, to achieve that figure the agency would have to be entirely defunded…. so no more help in legal cases for struggling homeowners, or prosecutions against the big banks.
As for taxes on the rich, the Republicans plan to increase tax collections by $800 billion while dropping the tax rate on the wealthiest from its current low of 35%
. They claim that more cash will be raised by plugging loopholes… but are we focusing on bankers, or restaurant servers?
Major benefits for the rich, destroy the environment and the economy for everyone else. The Republican plan for this country is pure evil, and directly conflicts with the national interest…. the interest of the American people. These are people who have admitted to deriving their strategy for disrupting the government on the Taliban and planning on being a “Taliban insurgency” if their demands were not met
. Can we just call them terrorists, already? They are holding the entire country hostage, and are willing to destroy the economy if their demands are not met. Enough said?