By Scott Cavanagh
With the new year upon us and only two days remaining before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican presidential candidates are spending a great deal of time and money regaling interested Hawkeyes and the national media with their plans for the future. Let me save them a lot of energy and cash.
They want to cut taxes on the rich and corporations, gut regulations that protect you, me and our environment from those corporations, and pay for it by slashing programs that make life better for average Americans. Okay, they may also want to bomb some country filled with brown people after they've won the War on Christmas, but that’s it. That’s all they’ve got—and that’s all they’ve had for 20 years.
Tax cuts, fear mongering and manufactured wedge issues make up their entire plank. They fear and scapegoat virtually everyone -- gay people, union workers, public school teachers, black people, brown people, government workers, atheists, immigrants, east coasters, west coasters, the French, Muslims, intellectuals, the media, scientists, environmentalists--the list goes on and on.
They remain devoted to labeling Obama as some kind of scary Socialist--another great old standard. The Republicans have been calling every Democratic president and presidential hopeful either a Communist or a Socialist since Woodrow Wilson. Any politician that wants to do anything for anybody that doesn't reside in the highest tax bracket is immediately branded a damn commie. How can anyone with a third-grade education buy this nonsense?
It’s the same thing with guns--another totally bogus non-issue wedge issue. No one on the left has ever proposed any legislation hindering the ownership of hunting weapons or the rights of legal gun ownership, yet the right continues to frighten people into believing that an army of liberals is ready to strike at any moment and do away with the second amendment. It’s total B.S. What have they now spent the last three years yammering away about? Death panels and the president's birth certificate. It’s almost as ridiculous as believing that a 21-year-old John Kerry somehow conned the Navy into giving him three bogus Purple Hearts. How in the world can they continue to get away with spouting this garbage? Who in the hell is still voting for these people?
These days they spend the majority of their time hammering Obama over the economy. How convenient is that memory loss? This entire financial meltdown was engineered by Republican greed. Bill Clinton left them with a massive budget surplus which they immediately squandered on two unfunded wars, obscene tax cuts in that time of war and a huge prescription drug program that handed most of the benefits to pharmaceutical companies.
Now they want to balance the books by picking the pockets of the weakest members of our society--the elderly, the working poor, students--while at the same time pushing for even more tax breaks for those that need it the least and huge corporations that will waste no time investing that money overseas, slashing jobs here and paying no taxes whatsoever.
The Republicans like to promote themselves as the party of good Christian values that stands up for Americans that work hard and play by the rules. When examining those claims, consider these facts: Over the past 30 years, 85% of all new income in this country has went to the richest 1% of our citizens, while the nation's richest 400 families now control more wealth than the bottom 50% of our entire population. The average American pays roughly 30% in taxes, while billionaire hedge fund managers—who provide nothing to society—pay 15%. Billionaire Warren Buffet pays a lower income tax rate than his secretary. Exxon-Mobil—the most profitable company in the history of mankind--paid no taxes last year.
Republicans like this system. They like it so much they want to lower marginal tax rates on the rich and corporations even more. They want to pay for it by cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits for your parents and grandparents, raising taxes on the working poor and gutting protections for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. How can anyone—particularly anyone that calls them self Christian—support such policies?
It shouldn’t be surprising though. The GOP has been against every policy or initiative to protect or lift up regular people for nearly 100 years. Child labor laws, The GI Bill, The Marshall Plan, student loans, the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, seat belts, pollution control, civil rights, consumer protection, women’s rights, worker’s rights, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security—Republicans opposed all of them, and each one was supposed to turn us all into a bunch of socialists. All the while they’ve never seen a corporate tax dodge they didn’t love.
2012 might be a new year, but in the immortal words of Steven Tyler: “It’s the same old story, same old song and dance.”
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