A reputation is a ubiquitous, unprompted and a fairly efficient contrivance of social control in society, and there is little a group or person can do
to change society’s perception of them unless they alter their behavior drastically over a period of time. Republicans have earned a reputation as inhumane oligarchs who have contempt for the poor, the unemployed, seniors, and especially President Obama. On Thursday, House Republicans did what they do best and secured their well-earned reputation as contemptible sycophants of Randian philosophy and enemies of the American people.
In order to override steep cuts to the Pentagon mandated in last summer’s debt reduction deal, they decided that instead of bringing in new revenue coupled with defense spending cuts, it would be better to eliminate crucial programs that provide aid for the poor and consumer protections that affect all Americans. The cuts are tantamount to taking food out of the mouths of children, eliminating healthcare assistance for women, and eliminating food delivery for sick seniors. Courageous Republican, and Willard Romney’s hero, Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the cuts aimed at punishing the poor are crucial to reduce the deficit, but the reality is Republicans are balking on the deal they reached last summer when the Super Committee failed to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction of increased revenue and spending cuts.
The legislation will never pass the Senate or President Obama’s veto pen, but it informs the Republicans’ allegiance to the wealthy and level of disregard for the American people Republicans are becoming notorious for. The cuts include food stamps, eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund from the Affordable Care Act, reduced matching state aid to Medicaid, stricter food stamp eligibility, and eliminating the Social Services Block Grant that funds Meals on Wheels. The Republican legislation also cuts all funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, cuts federal worker’s pay, and requires federal workers to contribute more to their retirement. In fact, the drastic spending cuts affect all Americans except the 1% wealthiest income earners and Department of Defense. It is truly a Draconian look at the America Republicans envision and it portends more pain and suffering for most Americans so the wealthy can continue accumulating all the wealth in America.
It is important to revisit why Republicans are doing everything in their power to protect the Pentagon spending cuts. The debt deal last summer included a trigger of automatic cuts to defense and other mandatory social programs because Republicans refused to eliminate Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. The trigger was incentive to agree to President Obama’s $4 trillion in spending cuts, while Republicans proposed $2 trillion in cuts and maintain Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The deal would not have been an issue if Republicans had just passed a clean debt ceiling increase, but they suddenly became fiscal fanatics and demanded cuts to offset the increase that was contrary to their practice during the Bush administration when they raised the debt ceiling 19 times adding $4 trillion without one penny of spending cuts. It is not that Republicans became fiscally responsible, they just needed to send President Obama and the American people a message that either they controlled economic policy that protects the 1%, or the people and the economy would suffer. Republicans considered increasing the debt ceiling vital to keep America’s economy running during the Bush administration, but it became a political pawn with an African American sitting in the Oval Office.
Democrats decried the Republicans’ drastic cuts because they only impact social programs, and Representative Jim McGovern said the Republican legislation “actually makes sequestration look good,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the bill part of the “Republican, Ryan, Tea Party budget that would assault women’s health and hurt families by literally taking food out of the mouths of babies.” Democrats offered their own version of the bill, but Paul Ryan criticized it because it included tax increases on big oil and the wealthy and likely because the poor, elderly, and working-class were not shouldering the entire burden. The economic experts in the Republican ranks are still of the opinion that using a balanced approach of spending cuts and revenue increases to reduce the deficit does not fit their Ayn Rand philosophy of punishing the poor to enrich the wealthy, and it dooms the economy to more sluggish growth.
The Republican’s flawed austerity agenda adversely affects business, economic growth and job creation by taking money out of the economy, and yet they foolishly continue attempting to crush the economic growth President Obama’s policies are responsible for. Just slashing federal employees’ wages reduces the amount of money that goes back into the economy, and subsequently will force businesses to lay off more of the workforce to make up for lost revenue. Cutting food stamps isn’t just punishing the poor and taking food out of Americans’ mouths, it directly impacts the food industry that stands to lose millions of dollars in income. At some point, large and small businesses will lose enough customers that they will have no choice but to close their doors and it will have nothing to do with regulations or taxes; it will be solely for lack of consumer spending.
The Republicans are pushing America toward oligarchy and they are unapologetic about giving everything to the wealthy. It is their fault the Super Committee failed to reach President Obama’s target of $4 trillion to reduce the deficit and that the trigger cutting defense spending is due to take effect in 2013. It also reinforces the notion that the GOP will not honor their agreements or support legislation passed by Democrats, and because they lack sufficient votes to repeal the health law or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, they are attempting to cut all funding to those programs. All the while, 99% of the population will suffer because the GOP is more concerned with protecting banks and financial institutions from consumer protection laws, and low-income women lose their access to life-saving cancer screenings and family planning assistance.
It is glaringly obvious Republicans are intent on cementing their reputation as enemies of the American people, but especially the poor, women, minorities, and the elderly who stand to lose the most under a Republican oligarchy. However, their reputation is catching up to them as more lifelong Republican voters question their motives in giving more to the rich while taking from ninety-nine percent of the population. There comes a point when party loyalty is supplanted with concerns of feeding and housing a family, and Republicans are making survival nearly impossible for more Americans so the wealthy avoid sharing the sacrifice like every other American. It is little consolation now, but if they continue their slow slaughter of half the population, the Republican Party is doomed to a non-existent future. Regardless if they are successful in November, their incessant assault on the American people will change their reputation from Draconian social adversaries to losers because Americans will not take much more abuse. Americans are patient, but once their breaking point reaches its limit, short of armed insurrection a la the French Revolution, they will do what Americans have always done in times of crisis; rise up, fight back, and condemn Republicans to the fate they deserve; out of power and out of the American people’s misery.