Senate Republicans Expose the GOP’s Inherent Cruelty Towards Americans

According to Albert Einstein, doing  the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Most people would claim it isn’t so much insanity as sheer stupidity. Only a fool repeats failed “experiments.” It is safe to say both conclusions are valid, but neither one applies to Republicans who continue pushing policies with a record of failure. When Republicans do something over again, they aren’t stupid or insane; they are pure evil because they expect the same results no matter their record of horrific failures.

When Republicans in the Senate passed a budget resolution late Thursday, they were so giddy it’s fairly certain a couple of them either soiled themselves or had a waking wet dream. Not only did they assure themselves that a trillion dollars would be cut  from Medicaid, and a half-a-trillion from Medicare,  they ravaged domestic spending to “shrink the government” paving the way for seriously monumental tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-rich.

To say the Republican budget portends  a “grotesque future with trillions of dollars in tax giveaways to the ultra wealthy, funded by cutting trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, and other vital programs for the poor and middle class”, is understating the cruelty endemic in the Republican Party. Beside ravaging Medicaid and Medicare, the GOP-Heritage Foundation budget cuts more than $5 trillion from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and every other program that working families depend on.

Although the details of the “budget resolution” aren’t entirely clear, and it is not a done deal, it virtually guarantees that the GOP’s tax “reform” will pass right along with the budget without any debate, committees or Democratic involvement whatsoever. All Republicans need to implement a “horrific budget” and “tax cuts for the rich” for the House to pass  and Trump to sign it. Never mind it will explode the deficit and decimate all domestic programs, it will make the wealthiest Americans and their corporations incredibly richer.

The damage Republicans are about to wreak on America is something Republicans have been planning for over a decade, especially after witnessing the devastating results on a smaller scale in the Republican state of Kansas. For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the time he finally keeps a pledge he made a coupe of years ago has arrived. Even as Kansas’ economy, job creation, social programs, and its government were dying from unwarranted tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and credit ratings agencies could not downgrade the state any lower, McConnell pledged to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback that “it’s exactly what we want to do in Washington.”

Republicans know that slashing domestic spending and drastically slashing taxes on the rich and corporations is a recipe for disaster, and yet they keep promising that the way to bring in more government revenue to pay down the deficit is cutting taxes for the rich; even though they know it will reduce revenue. They also claim that transferring wealth to the rich will “eventually” pay dividends and make every American a millionaire due to an explosion in economic growth. The so-called “trickle down” (supply side) economic policy has failed miserable every time it’s been implemented, but it has been a wealth creator for the already super-rich.

Over thirty years ago Reagan tried the “trickle down” scam and despite having to raise taxes several times after cutting them drastically, the economy floundered and the “trickle down” never happened. It took Bill Clinton nominally raising taxes on the rich to right the economy, create jobs, and provide the next administration with a tidy little budget surplus. One would assume that only a cruel fool would revert to “trickle down” again after Reagan’s monumental cock-up, and sure enough, George W. Bush’s Republicans played the fools and cut taxes for the rich dooming the economy. Most Americans remember the abominable economic mess Bush-Republicans left in 2008 that President Barack Obama had to contend with.

Like his Democratic predecessor, President Obama and Democrats eventually enacted a minute tax hike for the very richest Americans, and combined with restoring funding to domestic programs and enacting healthcare insurance reform, the country began paying down the debt, creating jobs at an astonishing rate, and grew the economy significantly.

During the Obama Administration’s economic successes, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback got together with “trickle down” creator Arthur Laffer and implemented huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations  and slashed government spending to the bone. Brownback promised that cutting the source of government revenue would increase the state’s revenue because giving the wealthy more money would create an economic bonanza and create jobs unlike never before. Instead, the state was starved of revenue leading to more cuts to social programs. Subsequently, Trump installed Brownback as his “most trusted economic advisor” to guide him on repeating the disaster in Kansas on a national scale.

Of course Brownback’s repeat of two previous failures resulted in a truly economic disaster in Kansas that the Trump administration, like Mitch McConnell, is anxious and on the verge of repeating. Although they don’t expect different results, they are promoting the same bovine excrement lies that cutting revenue sources will increase revenue, and that “eventually” the economy will surge, there will be more high-paying jobs than available applicants, the government will be flush with revenue and everybody gets rich. It’s all bullshit, but it is not all on Trump.

Of course Trump campaigned on ravaging the tax code for his class of “earner’s” benefit, but the tax “reform,” like the draconian budget disaster, are all longstanding Republican goals.  And it is noteworthy to mention that opposed to the Reagan and Bush “trickle down” disasters, this time Republicans are pairing it with a budget taking America a step closer to Grover Norquist’s dream of reducing government to the size he can drown it in a bathtub. In conservative parlance, “reducing government” begins by slashing spending on “education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and every other program that working families depend on;” precisely what congressional Republicans are on pace to do and exactly what decimated Kansas’ economy, jobs, and social programs.

As a brief aside, Republicans had the temerity this week to claim they don’t know how to do tax reform without giving everything away to the wealthy and corporations. Of course they know how to do it. But if they a little reminder how easy it is, they can summon Bill Clinton or Barack Obama because they were able to do it with no difficulty whatsoever and the economy flourished. Republicans don’t even pretend that the harsh budget will pay for the tax cuts for the rich; they claim, like past trickle down catastrophes, that the tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves when the economy explodes sometime down the road. Something that never happens.

There is no other way to assess the Republican budget or tax reform other than sheer evil and deliberately cruel. Of course Trump is on board and will rubber stamp the most vicious attack on Americans in recent memory, but he does not get all the blame. That goes to Republicans who are as excited as they’ve been in a decade because they finally get to raid the treasury and hand it directly to the rich and do serious damage to the majority of Americans in the process.

From an economic standpoint, what Republicans are close to enacting is insane and stupid, but they know it will adversely affect the great majority of Americans like Reagan and Bush and Brownback before them. That doesn’t make them stupid or insane, it reveals the cruelty endemic to the conservative movement.

Republicans’ Focus Is Tax Cuts for the Rich, Not Gun Violence

In a scene right out of Groundhog Day, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan did exactly the same thing Republicans always do after mass shootings and domestic terror attacks committed by white guys; ignore the issue and change the subject.

Apparently, since Ryan offered up the typical Republican “thoughts and prayers” solution to a horrific terror attack that claimed 59 lives and injured 500-plus other Americans enjoying an outdoor concert on Monday, he had enough “gun talk” by Tuesday morning. If there is any question as to why nothing will be done to put a stop to these annual “pray for the dead” events, Ryan blowing off reporters’ queries about addressing gun violence should clarify why Americans will see more of guns involved in domestic terror attacks.

During a news conference Tuesday, when asked about Republican plans to forge ahead on an NRA bill to make killing Americans easier for the shooters to escape undetected, Ryan said he was focusing on tax cuts for corporations and the richest Americans. Ryan is more focused on helping the 400 richest families in America get richer, than the nearly 600 Americans impacted by the terrorist organization Republicans are closely aligned with and indebted to; the NRA.

Specifically, Ryan was asked if House Republicans were intent on passing a piece of NRA legislation making silencers legal in light of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Ryan wouldn’t respond to the question because he can’t be bothered talking about gun violence when he had an opportunity to boast that Republicans are focusing on the need for corporate tax cuts; the only issue worthy of his time.

Ryan said he doesn’t know when the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (SHARE Act), the NRA’s bill to legalize silencers, will be next scheduled for a vote, because “right now we’re focused on passing our budget.

Ryan is lying. This week’s House Republican focus was interfering with women’s reproductive rights and voting to legalize silencers; at least until their handiwork allowed a madman to rain down death on innocent Americans in Las Vegas. Republicans did pass an extremist evangelical bill because next to tax cuts for corporations and the rich, nothing consumes Republicans more than controlling women.

After Ryan changed the subject from guns to the budget, he told the gathered reporters, with a “chuckle” no less;

“By the way, we’re bringing up our budget this week – I don’t know if you knew that. The reason we’re bring up our budget this week is because we want to pass tax reform, because we think that’s one of the most important things we can do to improve people’s lives. That is our present focus and the Sportsmen’s Bill is not scheduled.

For once, the reporters were not so easily put-off and they pressed Ryan asking if he “regrets passing legislation that President Trump signed” making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns. Ryan “guffawed” and ignored the question by calling on a different reporter who asked a related gun safety related question. Defeated, Ryan answered by framing Republicans rolling back restrictions on “people with mental illness buying guns as about protecting people’s rights.”

Ryan couldn’t leave it at that and had to lie some more by feigning concern for mental health reform; something he said “is a critical ingredient to making sure we can try to prevent mass shootings.” He’s as big a liar as his standard bearer in the White House.

Ryan and his Republican cohort have perpetually supported healthcare and budget proposals that gut the “largest payer of mental health services in the country – Medicaid.” It is also noteworthy that Ryan has been a staunch proponent of eliminating the requirement that Medicaid covers mental health services. All of these “cuts” Ryan supports are for the sole purpose of funding greater tax cuts for the rich and corporations; the only thing, besides attacking women’s rights, that Republicans, as a movement, care about.

It’s painfully obvious that Republicans don’t want to talk about gun violence, or their part in advancing the National Rifle Association’s crusade to eliminate all gun safety regulations no matter what the people want or how many innocent lives are lost. Caring for Americans has not been a priority for Republicans for a couple of decades, at least, because all of their focus is on making a few hundred wealthy families richer except when they take time to attack women and help their NRA co-conspirators put more guns on the streets and in the hands of lunatics.

Republicans Aren’t Even Trying Justify Their Contempt For Americans

 

Any American would be hard pressed to cite one instance of a Republican, any Republican, doing anything for the common good of the American people since before Reagan started raping and pillaging. The Republican Party’s raison d’être has been taking from the masses to enrich a few hundred extremely wealthy families and the current iteration of the movement is certainly maintaining that agenda in grand fashion. However, there is a major change in the GOP’s modus operandi this time that is at once stunning in its audacity and revealing in its evil contemptible purpose.

When Reagan sold Americans on the need to give the rich more tax cuts, he promised their excess would trickle down to the masses and make every American rich and prosperous. From Reagan’s administration up until this year, Republicans clung to that story like their lives depended on it and far too many Americans fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

When Republicans went austerity crazy in 2011, they claimed it was to save the nation from drowning in debt while clinging to Bush’s unfunded tax cuts for the rich that were driving the deficit. Republicans also claimed that killing millions of jobs in the name of  “austerity” was worth it to save jobs and future generations from being debt-ridden. No matter how atrocious and damaging their policies giving everything to the rich and corporations was to the people, Republicans at least attempted to justify their evil machinations.

In fact, prior to the current Republican healthcare abomination, Republicans claimed for seven years that repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was crucial to help more Americans buy inexpensive health insurance on the private market; they pledged it was the only means of helping more Americans stay healthy. Despite that their reasoning was absurd on its face, at least Republicans attempted to justify their evil machinations.

Today, Republicans are on a tear to take more from the poor and working class with an atrocious healthcare bill and tax cut proposals that even Reagan and George W.  Bush would oppose. But this time one thing is missing; “at least some pretense of working for the common good.” That was what Nobel Laureate in Economics, Paul Krugman, noticed and he is, as usual, spot on in his assessment of Republicans’ naked contempt for Americans.

Republicans in the House and Senate are not promising to make all Americans richer, or health insurance more affordable, or create more jobs with tax cuts for the rich, a draconian healthcare bill, or deregulation efforts across the government. They are just doing it because they can and because no-one can or will stop them. They can finally work their evil in the open to transfer the nation’s wealth to the rich without the necessity of even “attempting to justify their evil machinations.”

Krugman pointed out that there is nothing in the current iteration of a Republican replacement for the ACA that will make healthcare insurance more affordable for anyone. In fact with fewer people buying healthcare insurance, Krugman said what no small number of experts warned; the “health insurance markets will be sent into death spirals because of eliminating the individual mandate and reducing, if not eliminating, subsidies to help the working poor.” By now, only someone in a coma doesn’t know that the attack on Medicaid will wipe out healthcare access to tens-of-millions of Americans, a hefty percentage of whom work at jobs without healthcare benefits. And like Medicare,  Medicaid medical services are administered by and help sustain health insurance industry profits.

Republicans aren’t even pretending that their version of health care will be a deficit slashing endeavor because it barely exceeds the amount of deficit reduction in the Affordable Care Act. And it is noteworthy that the ACA was reducing the deficit without throwing 22 million people off healthcare, imposing lifetime limits on coverage, or allowing insurers to use pre-existing conditions as a means of imposing exorbitant fees or denying coverage to a very substantial number of Americans.

Some might say that Republicans were working in secret to avoid the outrage from Democrats and Americans who are going to be adversely affected by their draconian healthcare bill, but that is a joke. At this juncture, if any American thinks Republicans care one iota what Democrats think or what the majority of Americans expect they are just as stupid as the Republican base. Republican leaders don’t care what anyone thinks because they are comfortable knowing that no-one can stop them or their  attack on the people for the sake of enriching corporations and the uber-wealthy.

Republicans know, like the preponderance of conscious Americans, that everyone and their brother understands that their healthcare replacement is for the sole purpose of funding tax cuts for the rich. They also know that their healthcare bill will eventually hurt every American whether they have healthcare coverage or not; they just don’t care. Look, if Republicans are shrugging off killing hundreds-of-thousands of Americans without healthcare coverage and the certainty that 22-plus million citizens will lose access to healthcare altogether, it is apparent that it isn’t just Donald Trump who is evil; it is the entire Republican Party. If that wasn’t the case Republicans would be lying through their teeth to “justify their evil machinations;” something Republicans know they don’t have to do because no-one can stop them.

As Paul Krugman noted, the number of Americans who are not going to be devastated by the GOP’s healthcare bill “is not a winning political coalition.” Although that may be true, he is underestimating the rank stupidity endemic in the Republicans’ base. Krugman does acknowledge that Republican leaders are comfortable knowing that their “voters are tribal enough and sufficiently walled off from information” that they’ll ignore the attack on their lives and keep opposing Democrats. And even after they lose any access to medical care or face financial ruin from crushing out-of-pocket medical bills or watch their friends and families suffer and die, Republicans are still safe because they will blame it on Democrats and rally the base to another  electoral victory.

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