One of the greatest cons in modern political history is the Republican Party’s success at casting themselves as the responsible economic party. It’s true, I guess, as long as you assume that anyone making below the median income needs to die.
Donald Trump is not a typical Republican, but he is completely characteristic of the Republican Party in at least one thing: He wants to put a great deal of money back into the pockets of the rich at the expense of the non-rich. This is what “tax reform” means. More traditional Republicans may find Trump gauche, but they can set aside their qualms knowing that he will help them funnel hundreds of billions of dollars back to the sorts of wealthy people who contribute heavily to Republican re-election campaigns.
It remains to be seen where the budget and tax battles currently being waged will end up. But with a Republican president, House, and Senate, it is a fair bet that they will end up somewhere on the right-wing side of the spectrum. With that in mind, consider these three items, and contemplate what the image of rational financial probity that the Republican Party likes to cultivate really means.
ITEM: In the House of Representatives, Politico reports, Republicans are “considering slashing more than $400 billion in spending... among the programs most likely on the chopping block, the sources say, are food stamps, welfare, income assistance for the disabled and perhaps even veterans benefits.”
ITEM: In the Senate, a faction of Republicans are “weighing faster and steeper cuts to Medicaid” that could be even more drastic than the House’s plan, which would itself take away Medicaid coverage from an estimated 14 million people. On the state level, Republican governors are instituting “work requirements, drug testing and time limits on coverage” that would also serve to kick people off of Medicaid rolls, leaving them with no health care coverage.
ITEM: A new report on America’s pensions estimates that our country’s retirement plans are collectively around $4 trillion short of what they are expected to pay out to retirees, and that “no US city or state is running a balanced budget for their pension schemes.”
Donald Trump spent his campaign promising that he would not cut Medicare or Social Security. The Republican party’s response to this is to say, “Fine—we will not cut these programs, but we still want to enact an enormous tax cut for the wealthy, so instead we will cut programs that help the poor.” Think about that for a moment. “We can’t cut Medicare, which helps lots of middle class people, so we will instead cut Medicaid, which helps even needier people, in order to give large amounts of money to rich people.” This is an accurate summary of what Republicans are doing. They are, quite literally, taking from the poor to give to the rich. Meanwhile, our nation faces an enormous, looming pension crisis that we can all see coming from a mile away. It will steadily get worse. Ideally, our federal government would start planning now to strengthen Social Security for all so that it could adequately replace the trillions of dollars in pension benefits that risk disappearing. This would require investing in government benefits for retirees, including health care, particularly for the poor. Is this what the fiscally responsible Republican Party is doing? No. The fiscally responsible Republican Party is negotiating over whether they want a tax plan that will return 99.6% of its tax cuts to the top 1% of earners, or just 50% of its tax cuts to the top 1% of earners. The fiscally responsible Republican Party will find a happy medium there, and then it will pay for those tax cuts by adding trillions of dollars to the federal debt and mitigate it slightly by cutting a trillion or so from programs that help the poor. Of course you could save that same amount of money by targeting tax breaks that help people who are not poor, but that is not to the “preference” of the Republican Party.
You could rob the houses of rich people in Beverly Hills every day for a thousand years and not come close to evening out the score of the rich vs. poor class war that is being waged by the Republican Party right now. If you are not rich, you are losing.
Stop voting for these people!