Politicians use a variety of techniques to garner support for legislation or compromise with the opposition party to get important legislation through Congress. There are often back-room deals between leaders of both parties to hammer out parts of a bill before the members of Congress vote, and frequently, leaders meet with the president to find common ground on a particular issue prior to presenting the particulars to their respective members. For the past two-and-a-half years, Republicans have used a relatively new process to take advantage of the American people’s suffering in order to benefit the GOP’s wealthy donors, and although it is legal, it is as despicable as any criminal activity imaginable.
When Republicans see that President Obama and Democrats seek to alleviate suffering or correct some GOP injustice, they have held the anguished American people hostage to cause more pain and suffering in another segment of society. In December 2010, they held unemployment extensions hostage to get Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy extended for two years, and during the debt ceiling debate they held the nation’s ability to borrow money hostage for more Draconian spending cuts to important social programs. In each case, the American people ended up paying dearly so Republicans could cause more damage to the economy. Recently, Republicans have opposed helping victims of natural disasters unless Democrats acquiesced to more cuts to social programs because they claim disaster relief has to be offset with cuts to programs Republicans hate. After holding the debt ceiling hostage during negotiations that cost America its perfect credit rating, Mitch McConnell said “he could imagine doing this again,” and indeed, he promised Republicans would do it again. McConnell is a clinical liar, but this time he is keeping his word.
As a deadline looms for keeping the government running past September 30th, Republicans are threatening to hold up funding for disaster relief (FEMA) unless Democrats support a bill cutting $1.5 billion from the advanced manufacturing technology initiative. The cuts will hurt the Department of Energy’s loan program for manufacturers of fuel-efficient cars, and if the cuts are passed, it could cost 10,000 jobs and prevent further development of vehicles to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
If Republicans are successful keeping fuel-efficient vehicles off the roads, they maintain their record of supporting the oil industry as well as pollution that accompanies more fuel consumption. Republicans have continued their position that any disaster relief must be paid for with budget cuts because the country can ill-afford to help Americans devastated by tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding caused by global climate change that is a result of increased pollution from burning fossil fuels. If Republicans insist on holding government funding and disaster relief hostage so they can kill 10,000 more jobs, maybe they could end oil industry subsidies if it really is a matter of funding. After all, burning fossil fuels contributes to global climate change whether science-denying Republicans believe it or not. However, they are beholden to the oil industry and the Koch brothers who oppose any energy efficiency legislation. But that is not the real issue.
The Republicans are punishing Americans with every round of budget and spending cuts, and in this particular case, whatever the final result, Americans will pay the price so the oil industry can sell more gasoline. If Democrats are forced to cut funding for the advanced technology initiative, disaster victims get relief but 10,000 Americans will lose their jobs as well as more fuel efficient automobiles. If Democrats resist cutting funds for the initiative, disaster victims end up suffering. Either way, Republicans demonstrate their abject contempt for all Americans except the wealthy, corporations, and the oil industry. They oppose increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, refuse to eliminate oil industry subsidies, and block funding to improve America’s crumbling infrastructure and in the process, they are enriching their wealthy supporters at Americans’ expense. Holding disaster relief hostage to prevent fuel efficiency and kill 10,000 more jobs should be criminal, and Americans should be incensed at the callous disregard their Republican representatives continue displaying but they are not.
Republicans have accomplished nothing in the past two-and-a-half years that benefits 98% of Americans. They revel in Americans’ suffering so they can use them to hurt another segment of the population and they have been successful because Democrats are unwilling to stand idly by and do nothing. It is impossible to predict how long the American people will tolerate Republican damage before they rise up and say enough, but one would think losing jobs, social programs, and disaster relief would be enough, but it seems many Americans are masochists who enjoy being decimated so the wealthy can prosper and the oil industry can continue making record profits.
America is becoming intolerable and very few groups have been spared from Republican malfeasance. Elected representatives are supposed to look out for and protect the people, but Republicans have shown they could not care less about people unless they are millionaires and billionaires. The Republicans’ hostage-taking is criminal and yet they continue with impunity because Democrats care about disaster victims, the poor, unemployed Americans, and the economy and will not abandon the people they were elected to protect. Republicans protect the rich, corporations, and the oil industry, and as McConnell has promised, they are going to continue holding Americans hostage to protect their masters.
Republicans are proud of their hostage-taking achievements, but they have made decent Americans ashamed of a country where 98% of the population suffers to please a few wealthy families. America is a despicable place if hostage-taking is the official method of governance, but unfortunately, there is little anyone can do. Who wants to live in a country where criminal Republicans make everyone suffer so their wealthy donors can prosper? Stupid masochists who eventually will lose their jobs, fall into poverty, and struggle to survive the next disaster without relief. They can be reassured that Republicans will take them hostage when the next disaster strikes and it should make every citizen ashamed to be an American. We have become a nation of hostages with no hope of ransom.