Thursday, May 26, 2011

GOP in trouble

I think the GOP is in big trouble. They apparently overestimated their mandate in 2010. That victory was more a result of Dems lack of motivation to get out and vote and a backlash from Obamacare. Many senior citizens were enraged at the loss of 500B from Medicare Advantage, which was really just a bonus to HMOs, and didn't directly contribute to health care.

The GOP hammered Obama on death panels, the stimulus plan, jobs and the economy, while smirkingly giving credence to the birthers. The stimulus was vilified by many GOP pols, even though they were seen smiling during groundbreaking activities, and didn't think saving public employees (like teachers and firemen's) jobs was worth while. Many also blamed him for Bush's TARP bailout. They also assailed him for failure to carry out campaign promises (like closing Gitmo) and goals while overlooking constant Senate filibusters and procedural maneuvering.

The GOP now controls the House of Representatives. They unanimously passed a bill to overturn Obamacare, with no attempt to improve healthcare and reduce its cost. They voted (with a single exception), along with 40 GOP Senators, to destroy medicare, replacing it with a shaky voucher system. Trying to get favor from those over 55, they said they could keep medicare. This would entail those under 55 continue underwriting it, but not being able to participate, even though they may have contributed to medicare and planned to utilize it, for decades. There is no assurance that when reaching 65 the voucher would come close to paying the premium for private insurance, much less a possibility they could afford it at 75 and 85. The over 65 that would retain Medicare will quickly learn that far fewer doctors are available to them. Smaller, private companies my have to pay a premium to have doctors accept their patients. This will escalate fees for all. Due to the economy of scale, medicare covers so many people currently, that most doctors need to see medicare patients and accept the lower fees demanded by the government. Remember also that the administrative costs of Medicare is about 3% compared to 30% for the private sector and private sector must also include costs to insure profit. The government gets more medical treatment for their dollar that giving it to a private company to dispense. More bang for the buck.

The GOP had completely forgotten the wailing that went on about medicare in Obamacare. Another thing the GOP completely forgot about when they ascended into power, was Jobs. This is no surprise, because Obama would be given credit for any uptick in jobs or the economy, and the GOP leadership repeatedly stated their number one goal was to defeat Obama. (Country be damned).

Their lone ploy to act like they were concerned about employment, was to insist on not only keeping the Bush tax cut for the rich, (which obviously didn't create jobs) but to increase tax cuts for the wealthy. Initially they claimed small businesses were the source of our economy and jobs. There might be some validity in claiming a small portion of the 250K category might include some small businesses, but not so for those making millions.

Many say we shouldn't punish those “who have made it”, but that isn't the case at all. America has always asked and even sometimes demanded that those most capable serve their country. Our military sacrifices for us all the time, sometimes it's voluntary and sometimes there are drafts. The young, strong and healthy are chosen to serve. Those not able to serve (ie 4F) were excused. Whatever, is required.

Many of the wealthy agree to be taxed more, because their wealth will disappear or be worthless, if the economy totally tanks. Despite 2/3rds of polled Reps approving of increased taxes on the wealthy, the GOP pols would rather shut down the government and bankrupt the country, than follow the wishes of their constituents.

Our country is indeed in financial trouble, but consider if you were/are in debt and you have an overwhelming credit card debt. What would you do? Well, you would cut back or stop spending as much. If that's all you do your debt will continue to grow as the interest charges add up. That's the current GOP solution. To solve your problem and to solve our government problem, increased revenue, or payments are required in addition to decreased spending. Unfortunately, nearly all the GOP pols, have signed a pact, to never vote to increase taxes (or fees) EVER.

Giving more tax cuts to the wealthy (or even extending the existing ones) doesn't help the economy or produce jobs. The wealthy already buy what they want and they're not going to create more jobs just because they have more money. They didn't become wealthy, or retain their wealth by being dumb. They will only create more jobs, if there is a demand for their products or services, or they think they can create a demand. When there is a demand, they will borrow the money, not use their own. Sorry to pop the imaginary balloon, but the stimulus created a demand by putting money in the hand of people who would spend it (demand). (George W's first tax cut of $250 to all provided a just such a stimulus.) Perhaps the stimulus was simply not enough, and its effects were diminished by the criticism by Republicans who desired for the stimulus to fail.

Nobody was a bigger fan of Reagan, than I was and when he took over, we had some good times. He spent money like it was going out of style, and the National Debt was tripled. His “voodoo economics” was a complete failure and it began the massive transfer of wealth from middle class to rich.

Our current GOP pols are insisting their demands be met entirely, or they will not raise the current debt ceiling—ergo the country goes into default of its debts---ergo bankruptcy, with a world wide effect. This would torpedo our slow recovery and could have worse results than the Great Depression. They wouldn't agree to increasing the debt????, even though they voted for the Ryan bill that would increase the debt in 2012 by one trillion. Go figger!!

The Senate tried to pass a bill that would stop giving Big Oil, exemptions and deductions amounting to billions of dollars, but the GOP Senators, along with 3 Dems (beholden to oil), used another filabuster to allow Big Oil to retain their benefits, even though they had earned record profits. The bill was not punitive, but intended to ease the financial crisis by cutting spending in the least harmful way. The kindest view is that some Senators were apparently more interested in having their pockets filled, than in serving their constituents, and helping to solve a national crisis. A more realistic view is they want to destroy Medicare as we know it, and later Social Security. It is more important to them to give money to big oil than to spend that money on our country's sick, infirm, and aged. That's neither humane or American. In contrast to the tax and spend Democrats, the borrow and spend Republicans want to continue spending by way of tax loopholes and other benefits to the wealthy, at the expense of medicare and SS.

Our national debt did not just pop up. It has been rapidly building since Reagan's reign. Only now is it so critical that draconian efforts are required to right the ship of state. Even with their masterful propaganda efforts that will be forthcoming, I think the American people will see through this ploy. If the situation is so bad we must cut medical care and social security to our most vulnerable citizens, shouldn't the most wealthy be required to contribute to the solution?

State leaders swept into office also have misread the country. Teachers, law enforcement officers and firemen, as well as any other government employees have been vilified. Tens of thousands are being laid of while ad valorem tax are being reduced along with massive tax cuts for businesses. There is an all out war on unions, which traditionally support Dems, but not all union members vote for Democrats. But they might now.

Many on the far right complain, that only about 50 % of the people pay income taxes, and imply those that don't pay income taxes are slackers, even though they may pay plenty of other taxes. Well! In Florida the teachers and other government employees haven't seen raises in years, even though their contributions to healthcare have increased, now are faced with a 3% reduction in pay in order to contribute to their own retirement. Now, unless they have been on the job a long time, they will become classified a “slackers” because they won't be making enough to pay income taxes. This has been the case in the demise of the great middle class that built this country to a world power. Since Reagan, the middle class has been gradually pushed down and split into two groups. One group no longer pays income taxes and the other which is still hanging in the middle class. Some of the latter are still driving Lexus, Beemers, Caddies, and Mercedes cars, are currently employed, feel secure and think others just haven't worked hard enough. They won't be there for long, if the current GOP has its way. As the wealth continues to flow upward, more and more of the middle class will descend, despite their efforts.

The State legislature has decided only they know what their constituents want. Instead of smaller government, they want to decide what local governmental bodies can do. They want to control the local schools hiring , firing, and curriculum. They have slashed budgets of the schools, while providing large tax cuts for business. They have limited what a doctor can inquire about the home safety of a child. They are pushing for the use of vouchers, so that the wealthy can recoup some of their tuition fee in their private schools. Our schools are at the bottom of the list for amount of money spent per child, so the legislature decided to cut it even more

The Republican Florida government now requires welfare recipients undergo drug testing, which isn't such a bad idea, but to make the welfare person come up with the money to pay for it is short-sighted. Why are they on welfare? Duh!! State pols also require those seeking abortions to run through a lot of traps, including paying for and watching ultrasound, yet many of the abortions are because the mother can't afford another dependent. Some other states have even more radical requirements. Their right to life program stretches from conception to birth. After birth many or most, fall into their most hated category of welfare. So let the children suffer the rest of their lives, for the mistakes, or poverty of their parents.

The Republican party has been taken over by the radical right. Their selection for the 2012 Presidential Election, will obviously be so far right, that even moderate Republicans as well as Independents, will have no choice but to vote with Democrats for Obama, warts and all.

It may be too late, since the current fascist GOP obviously intends to shut down the government, unless they get everything they want. This together with their plans to kill Medicare and Social Security, will insure the demise of the GOP in its present form, if the country survives.

Our president, has pretty much caved in to GOP demands several times already and let the Bush tax cuts remain. So I'm not optimistic he will “man up” and prevent the take-over by the fascists. However, if he does, I hope the first actions he takes after the debt limit is not extended, is to close down the airports and turn out the lights in the capital building and stop payment of payment of any money to congress, congressional aides or security personnel. He can give them 30 minutes to clean out their desks and lock their doors. If they want to meet they can make their own arrangements, perhaps at “C street”.

Unless, the GOP comes to their senses and raises the debt ceiling, for the present, and accepts the fact that Medicare and Social Security are now a part of the fabric of this country, just as our Interstate highways, and begins to look for ways to continue them in their current form, they will no longer play a significant political role. They could make modifications to tax payer withholding, in time and/or amount to keep these two programs viable, and then must turn to reducing “give aways” in the tax code as well as increasing taxation on those that can afford it, to reduce the national deficit. Otherwise, they are facing a donnybrook in 2012. The loss of the Republican house seat in New York, is just the beginning.

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