We’re in an election year. The economy is less than ideal. The best strategy the GOP can take to win big in 2012 is to say “You’ve had your chance and it didn’t work.” The slogan they’ve been lampooning–“Change we can believe in”–seems to have become their new battle cry. Okay. Fair enough. I’m willing to hear them out. What, pray tell, are the Republicans proposing to do that will make things better for America and its people?
Well, for starters, there’s the important issue of making sure that the wealthiest Americans stay that way. Now, I’m not talking about those people you know who are living quite comfortably. I’m talking about that select group of Americans who are so uber-wealthy that they could, if they felt like it, pay enough money to the right people and take advantage of the right legal loopholes to buy your neighborhood and kick you out of your house against your will. Okay, that might be a bit hyperbolic, but not by much.
The reason, we are told, that the super-rich must continue to receive such preferential tax treatment despite the fact that our nation’s deficit threatens the entire country’s economy, is because these are America’s job creators, and what Americans need more than anything right now are jobs. That, my friends, is called “trickle-down economics” and it hasn’t worked……well…..ever. Warren Buffett is pretty clear on the fact that he is incredibly rich, and that he isn’t in a position to put a dent in the unemployment problem, which is why he wants the wealthiest Americans to stop catching so many breaks and start giving back.
But I’m willing to accept the GOP’s premise here for the sake of argument. Let’s take the raising of increased tax revenue off the table. If we do that, there are only two options left: Cut spending, or fail to reduce the deficit. Republicans and Democrats both agree that we need to reduce the deficit, and we all know how rare bipartisan agreement on anything is these days, so I think it’s safe to say that Republicans should pursue a strategy to cut spending. And, indeed, that’s what they’ve been talking about–and in many ways trying to do. Take health care. Hey seniors, remember that Medicare program you love so much and don’t want government to get involved with? Republicans have proposed that the program be fully privatized and replaced with a voucher system. I hope they decide to write you a big enough check to pay for the care you need. There is little doubt that it will cut spending, but it will also cut your benefits.
Surely it’s better than “Obamacare” you say? That’s why the GOP has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act if–and this is the catch–you vote for them in November. That’s right, America. Vote for them first, and then keep your fingers crossed that they’ll follow through. After all, it’s not like politicians ever fail to fulfill their campaign promises. I mean, the GOP is doing its part to show how committed they are to the idea. They’ve voted to repeal the ACA 33 times since it was enacted. It hasn’t gone anywhere, but hey, they tried. But I digress. The point is that repealing the Affordable Care Act will be a step in the right direction. It will keep the Democrats’ hands off your Medicare, so that Republicans can destroy that program later, and it will cut costs. Deficit problem solved. Except for one thing. The Congressional Budget Office just wrote a nice letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner explaining that repealing the Affordable Care Act will actually increase the federal deficit by $109 billion over the next decade. As Rick Perry would say, “Oops.”
So, when you head to the polls this November, ask yourself why, if Republicans are so intent on reducing the deficit, they intend to repeal a law that would do just that? Why, in fact, would they insist on preserving tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans and passing a bill that will not only dismantle improvements to our health care system for the most vulnerable Americans, but actually raise the federal deficit in the process? I mean, it’s one thing for fat cat Republicans to cut benefits for the poor to save money. Now they’re actually talking about cutting benefits for the poor to spend money. It doesn’t make sense. But then again, if it gets you to vote for them, it doesn’t have to.