The Republicans Party has been sabotaging our economy.
They’ve been doing it since wining the house in 2010 but also in the Senate by filibustering hundreds of bills appointees and heads of agencies. This is not hyperbole or an exaggeration of any kind and sabotage is not too strong of a word for what they’ve been doing. It’s observable, and demonstrably provable.
Now, if you’re shrugging your shoulders and saying “Well, no duh!”, read on and get in touch with your inner outrage. Ambivalence or resignation won’t turn a severely gerrymandered House of Representatives from red to blue. If you’re incredulous about the claim, read on! The call to action is not just for those who vote D, but to any and all Americans who value the greatness of our country present and future over their commitment to any political party.
#1 GOP filibuster of the The American Jobs Act:
The American Jobs Act was a second stimulus bill that would have created or saved somewhere between 1.2 and 2 million jobs. In it were a number of initiatives that have typically had bi-partisan support. Later on that one all-inclusive bill was split into smaller bills after it was filibustered to increase the likelihood that some elements of it would get debate and passage. These bills were to be paid for by limiting itemized reductions on luxury items and by removing subsidies to gas and oil companies that have been making billions of dollars in profit quarterly (not revenue, profit!). That’s right, companies making billions of dollars in quarterly profits were and still are adding our tax dollars to their coffers! There is no current rationale for these subsidies to remain in place.
The effect of funding the American Jobs Act with the gas and oil subsidies (and some other “luxury taxes”, for example tax refunds for the purchase of private jets) meant the bills were revenue neutral. They wouldn’t add a dime to our deficit while putting on the low end it’s estimated a million Americans back to work making us more competitive(via infrastructure projects, research and development, jobs in education, etc…). The GOP filibustered these bills(meaning that they wouldn’t let them come up for debate on the senate floor). They KNEW it was a bad idea to be seen arguing against the merits of bills that created jobs while not adding to the deficit at a time when our recovery was so fragile. So they aborted all but one of those bills and the veterans jobs bill passed easily. We moved on. The oil and gas subsidies continue to be extracted from our tax dollars and given to our most profitable companies and our recovery limps on. Of course there was controversy about the bills, but those were not an excuse to not debate, that’s where the debate begins. When millions of jobs hang in the balance YOU DEBATE THE BILL!
#2 Add to this the uncertainty created by the shutdowns/debt limit brinksmanship of the House of Representatives
Studies by independent analysts indicate that the GOP’s continuing threats to default on the debt limit twice, the resulting sequester deal and the government shutdown have resulted in a loss of about 900 K jobs. The Govt shutdown is estimated to have cost us 24 billion dollars over the two weeks and as much as 0.6% of our growth in GDP this quarter(from 3.0 to 2.4 percent).
The “moderate” republicans declined to allow a debate about a paid for jobs bill and the Tea Party republicans have created massive uncertainty to disrupt our economy to the tune of millions of missing jobs. This IS the difference between the vibrant and strong economic recovery we should be having and the sluggish one we have right now. Economists across the spectrum might not agree on the numbers on the American Jobs Act, conservative ones would probably peg us at minus 1 million jobs and perhaps the Krugmans of the world might estimate the numbers closer to 2 million. Similarly for the associated costs of the GOP crisis machine(the 900k figure came from a conservative group: the Peter G. Peterson Foundation) but that we’re down literally millions of jobs FOR these reasons is by no means a controversial conclusion. The rogue actions of the GOP are clearly understood to have hurt/not helped our economic recovery. There’s not a scenario where doing the opposite actions (not shutting down the government and passing vs killing the American Jobs Act(as one act or in pieces) isn’t better for America in every conceivable way.
QUESTION: So why did they do these things? What did they hope to achieve for the good of the country?
Repeal of Obamacare?
Elections pretty clearly decided this issue and the People of United States rejected the GOP’s vision across the board including the repeal of Obamacare. After it’s constitutionality was ratified by the supreme court and the elections happened what real chance did the GOP think they had of accomplishing this goal? The repeal of the Affordable Care Act was not an achievable goal and they knew that before they shut the government down. Besides seriously what sitting President would be willing to scuttle his signature achievement especially one that fixes real problems in our healthcare system. Killing American jobs for this goal actually ensures that more not less people will need the program.
This argument coming from GOP leadership about controlling our deficit is laughable. The way one goes about fixing big deficits is enshrined in our very recent history. It was barely a decade ago that we had annual surpluses of 2 and then 87 billion dollars in successive years.(while that’s not all that impressive many more were project BEFORE Bush) That can easily be done again with the correct people leading our country. the Formula is simple: we need sensible cuts in waste and abuse, we need to create the conditions for full gainful employment and we need tax revenue. The GOP have actively worked to prevent these things(new revenue, employment and even Federal Govt. consolidation). The cuts that have been put in place aren’t sensible in that they allow vulnerable people to be hurt and don’t encourage infrastructure investments that increase our competitiveness and encourage job creation.
The GOP stand on soapboxes regarding the debt these days but most of them were front and center voting to tear massive holes in our budget in the days when “deficits didn’t matter.” Bush still “owns” the lion’s share of the debt that has accumulated with Obama as president. All those programs operating at massive deficits (wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush Tax Cuts, Medicare Part D, etc…) didn’t just stop accumulating debt the minute President Obama became the President. They just became his problem to deal with. Their strategy of killing American jobs would only add to the deficit because folk who aren’t working go from being revenue providers to the consumers of government assistance programs. Each one of them that isn’t working and then in need of assistance is a double whammy to the system.
The GOP have blocked Obama from consolidating a number of ancillary programs/departments within the federal government. So no, they’re not being sincere about this either and the massive military industrial complex is as untouchable as it has every been despite being a pit for dumping tax dollars that are never seen again. Once again a strategy of killing jobs is bad for shrinking govt. The more folk who aren’t working the more govt is needed by those folk.
This leaves only the deeply cynical politics of obstruction which has no value for the country. Clearly they have taken their cues from Rush Limbaugh to heart and to work towards his failure. They’ve pursued the strategy they codified the day of his inauguration in a closed door meeting to make President Obama a one termer by literally voting against anything he and the democrats propose regardless of what it’s actual value in making our country better.
The BIG Question:
Is their quest for political power more important to them than:
your family’s economic health or
your ability to get affordable healthcare or
your children’s education/future prospects
our nation’s infrastructure and our ability to compete in the future?
The maddening and then saddening answer to this question again and again in the 21st century is: Yes, their power is more important to them than any of the above concerns.
Clearly, the republican leadership value their political power above anything they could possible do for an average American. For the GOP historically(at least since Reagan) doing for the little guy has been a concession to having the opportunity to have political power. But in the past they were still able to put that aside when compromise was needed.
Compare as Rachel Maddow has done in this piece Reagan the demagogue and Reagan the President.
The deal on social security with Tip O’Neil, was a concession to getting his agenda, but in so doing he fixed a real problem established good will with the democrats (and they gave him virtually all that he wanted, all his Congresses were heavily democratic). Reagan also raised taxes when he saw that tax cuts had gone too far and that it was hurting the nation. He was not willing to let his ideology get in the way of governing. Bush decisively failed this test when he refused to pay for anything even two wars by pulling back on the tax cuts he’d championed when we needed the revenue. The Republican leadership post Bush are failing that same test spectacularly by balking at raising revenues while expecting to get everything they want with no mandate in site and by any means available.
The quality of life for the average American is a casualty to all their elephant in the china shop antics. Our personal economic pain, our unemployment, our lack of quality schools, our overpriced health care, our decaying infrastructure, any of our needs even if (and especially if) we’re poor and need assistance, etc…, not one bit of any of that seems to matter to them. They don’t even pretend to care anymore. The House recently voted to cut food stamp programs while simultaneously providing ample assistance to big business farmers. Their priorities aren’t the priorities of the average folk in this country and we average folk simply should not be voting for them regardless of whether or how we worship or the color of our skin. We should be removing them from office everywhere until they show that they actually have their constituents and this country in their hearts and not only their personal ideology and political power.
For Further Consideration: THE BIG PICTURE
What if the babysitter you hired to look after your kids decided to take them hostage and starve them until he or she was given a ransom? You wrangle and eventually pay to get your children back. Now, what should happen to such a person after the situation has been “resolved”? Lets say for some crazy reason you decide not to press charges, CERTAINLY you wouldn’t re-hire them would you? Any trust that they’d have the best interests of you and your children at heart would be irrevocably shattered.
The GOP as hostage taker meme does not just characterize them after this, the latest episode of manufactured malevolence. It could be applied to them being in power in any capacity in the 21st century thus far. The waring factions of the GOP “moderates” and the tea party are equally culpable. We’ve been held hostage by both groups: one ran up the irresponsible bill that the other has repeatedly threatened to default on.
How was the Iraq war of choice not a hostage situation? It came out of nowhere, the GOP leadership rushed into it, executed it ineptly while choosing to put it on a credit card. It affects us every day as the debt from that war adds to our deficit and crowds out the priorities we have for our communities and the future of the country.
Now add in Afghanistan a war we also didn’t pay for but that was needed after 9/11, deep tax cuts that have never been paid for and that account for the largest share of our deficit, Medicare Part D (aka the privatization of medicare, a financial windfall for pharmaceutical companies and a waste of tax payer dollars(not a total waste, but a good program that could have been done much less expensively and that should have been paid for)). The trillions of accumulated debt from these GOP misadventures is the ransom we’ll be paying for some time for putting them in charge of our country.
Keeping all the above in mind, we need to FIRE THE GOP!! We get our next chance in 2014 by removing their majority in the House of Representatives. They’ve lost it and we need to get them out of our politics until they remember that they’re supposed to be helping and not hurting the citizens and families of this country to whom they’re given the privilege of serving.