In military vernacular, collateral damage is damage to people or property that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. In politics there is collateral damage and the difference is that when Republicans are involved, it is highly questionable whether or not damage to people and America’s economy is really unintended or incidental to their desired outcome. Since Barack Obama has been president, the GOP has worked for two specific outcomes and along the way have caused collateral damage that appears to be unintended, but with myriad data available to the public and Republicans, it becomes obvious that the damage they cause is intended and essential to their intended outcome.
Republicans make no secret that one of their primary goals is to deny President Obama a second term as president, and it is painfully obvious that they intend to give all the wealth in America to the wealthy and their corporations. They have given preferential treatment to the wealthy for years and justify their largesse, using taxpayer dollars, with the insane and failed theory that, as the wealthy prosper, wealth will “trickle down” to the peasant class. The resulting loss of revenue for the government has engendered cuts and services to social programs and nearly every sector of the economy. Despite the country coming precariously close to defaulting on its debt, Republicans still refused to follow a balanced approach of spending cuts and increased revenue and the result was America’s stellar credit rating being downgraded and social safety nets being slashed to the detriment of nearly every American who was not the wealthy elite class. The GOP’s stubborn adherence to conservative ideology of never raising taxes on the wealthy caused intended damage to the poor, middle class, and America’s credit rating.
The fact that Republican hatred for President Obama has caused untold damage to the country’s economy is fairly well known at this point in time, but the devastation to tens-of-millions of Americans who are living in poverty or near-poverty is often ignored by the media and the public in general. Officially, there are 49.1 million Americans living in poverty in the richest country in the history of the world, but a recent Census Bureau report that measures poverty by counting disposable income found that there are 51 million Americans with incomes less than 50% over the federal poverty level. That means there are 100 million Americans living at or barely above the poverty line. The number of Americans living in poverty should be sufficient to encourage even the most contemptible Republican to work with Democrats to pass President Obama’s jobs plan to put Americans back to work and raise millions out of poverty, but their abject hatred for anything the President proposes supersedes the most basic level of humanity and prevents them from helping the American people.
Republicans are fully aware of the poverty levels in America, but they have no intention of making any effort to help the poor or nearly poor because working with the president will defeat their goal of keeping unemployment near 10%. Back in February when told that Republican spending cuts would kill 1.1 million jobs, House Speaker John Boehner nonchalantly said, so be it. Since February, Republicans have sought out new ways to kill jobs and obstruct job creation plans with the guise that the country cannot afford to help lift millions of Americans out of poverty, but their arguments fall short when they propose more tax cuts for the wealthy, oil subsidies, and tax holidays for American corporations in foreign countries. The GOP may say they care about the American people, but their hatred of this president tells a different story.
One would think that 100 million Americans living in or close to poverty would be a national shame and warrant extreme measures to address the problem immediately, but Republicans have no shame and no regard for the American people whether poor, middle class, or nearly poor. The Heritage Foundation refutes the notion that extremely poor Americans live in poverty, and Robert Rector, a Heritage analyst rejects the phrase near poverty because it purports dire need like hunger and homelessness that he claims are experience by a minority even among the “actual poor.” He commented on the Census Bureau’s new measure of poverty saying, “I don’t have any objection to this measure if you use the term ‘low-income.’ But the emotionally charged terms ‘poor’ or ‘near poor’ clearly suggest to most people a level of material hardship that doesn’t exist. It is deliberately used to mislead people.”
If that level of material hardship does not exist, Heritage Foundation con-men should have watched “60 Minutes” and witnessed entire families, lots of them, living in their cars and never knowing where their next meal comes from. The report focused on Florida, but there are millions of Americans who depend on school lunch programs and handouts for basic survival and the sad truth is that most are destitute because of job losses or Republican spending cuts. John Boehner said, “No one here in this Congress, Democrat or Republican, wants to do anything about putting holes in the safety net for Americans. There are Americans who are poor, and I think it’s the responsibility of the rest of us to ensure that they have food in their stomachs and they have a roof over their head.” The GOP’s top dog in Congress then went and voted against low-income benefits like food stamps, housing subsidies, heating assistance, and Medicaid. The reason? Because President Obama supported those programs and asked for a tax increase on the wealthy to address the deficit; to fulfill both of their primary goals of denying the president a second term and helping the wealthy, Republicans chose to inflict collateral damage on the poor out of sheer hatred and spite.
It is possible that there are Republicans who want to help the poor and those nearly poor, but they would have to work with the President and Democrats. Instead, their abject hatred for one man overrides any semblance of humanity and if obstructing, blocking, and subverting legislation that would help the poor might portray the president as succeeding, Republicans choose to cause more harm to American citizens in hopes it denies President Obama a second term. The level of hate Republicans have shown for the President and, by extension, the American people living in dire poverty goes beyond collateral damage and is outright slaughter for political expediency. If Republicans are willing to allow one out of three Americans to live in abject or near poverty and live in their cars just to deny the president a second term, there are only a couple of reasons that make sense. Either they hate the American people as much as they hate the president, or they want automobiles to be the new homes to enrich big oil. Both are plausible and both show the Republicans’ contempt for the people they were elected to serve.
For nearly three years Republicans have blocked unemployment benefit extensions, job creation, social safety nets, and any legislation that would certainly reduce the number of Americans barely surviving just to deny the president a second term. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the president’s policies because he has compromised and given ground on every issue in an effort to help the American people and business. The only plausible reason is that President Obama is an African-American. That one fact alone makes the Republican’s actions all the more despicable, and when considering that minorities predominate the ranks of the poor, it is obvious that besides any pretense of collateral damage, Republicans are deliberately damaging Americans on the basis of their race.
If political ideology were the only reason for intentionally damaging a large segment of the population, it would be bad enough to throw Republicans out of government for life, but deliberately causing harm to American citizens because of hatred for one man goes beyond the pale and borders on crimes against humanity. It appears that there is no end to the intentional damage Republicans are willing to impose to prevent President Obama from winning a second term, and now that they have caused nearly a third of all Americans to live at or near the poverty line, their contempt is irrefutable. It is just unbelievable that a political party has so much hate and contempt for one African-American president that they are willing to intentionally cause damage to the entire population for political supremacy. It is worse that the damage they are causing is not collateral and seemingly part of their plan all along. If the people living in poverty still can vote, we hope they remember to repay Republicans in kind with contempt, hatred, and absolute rejection of every candidate affiliated with the GOP.