Republicans Make Pledge to the Wealthy
The “Pledge to America” signed by Republican House members is a pledge of allegiance to wealthy people and big corporations. The Republican strategy for the last several elections has not changed. No matter what problem America faces their answer lies in lower taxes, less government, deregulation, military spending, a so-called restoration of traditional values. Running a surplus as we did in the Clinton years? Don’t pay down the debt, lower taxes instead. Running a deficit? Cut taxes. Out of a job? No health insurance? You’re on your own.
Cutting taxes is very popular among voters, and when lower and middle income earners get tax relief they spend the money, putting more money into the economy, helping everyone. But Republicans want to reward the wealthy, saying they are job creators. There’s evidence that tax cuts for upper income people get invested, go into second or third homes in far off places, or as has been revealed lately, support political campaigns and lobbyists. Obama wants to continue the Bush era tax cuts for everyone’s earnings up to $200,000 ($250,000 for families). The Republicans pledge to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy, adding trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next ten years.
Republicans pledge smaller government. Here’s what they mean: less help for schools, less regulation of industry, cutting spending on bridges and roads, medical research, and ending seeding innovation in alternative energy. However, they pledge more military spending, more missiles and weapons systems. And they don’t say how they’ll pay for them.
Republicans pledge deregulation. This means letting businesses operate without regard to safety, workers rights, environmental damage, and fraud. Think oil spills, toxic waste dumps, pollution, Enron, toxic assets, coal mine disasters, Bernie Madoff, AIG. We need effective government to protect us from unscrupulous corporations and financial hijinks, and why shouldn’t the wealthy help pay for that?
Republicans want to turn back the clock on cultural shifts of the modern world. Some of their more extreme members and Tea Party favorites claim our founding documents are based on Biblical teachings and did not intend to separate church and state. Amazingly, they haven’t suggested reinstituting slavery or taking back the vote from women or non-property owners despite their pledge to make sure every law has a “constitutional basis”. They want to “defend marriage,” from all the gay people who are so immoral that they no longer seek multiple partners but want to settle down and get married. They want to force women who face difficult choices about ending pregnancy for a variety of reasons from health to rape and incest to economic hardship to fulfill their Biblical role as child bearers.
And they want to repeal health care reform which has just begun to take effect by stopping insurance companies from dropping the insured, from denying coverage for preexisting conditions, and from having annual and lifetime coverage limits. Republican lawmakers want to stop people from being required to carry health insurance, which is required to spread the risk and cost. Instead Republicans want to give tax breaks for health savings accounts. That might work for their wealthy friends who have money to save. What happens when the savings account is emptied? Republican lawmakers fought hard to keep Americans from having access to affordable health care. They fought hard to try to stop reforms of Wall Street that will prevent future bailouts and crises such as caused this Great Recession, threw millions out of work, and caused them to lose their homes. They even fought against tax cuts and loans to small business! They are more interested in gaining seats in Congress than in solving America’s problems.
For many election cycles voters have been urged to ask themselves, “Are you better off today than you were in the last election?” In 2006 and 2008 Americans answered with a resounding, “NO!” giving Democrats the presidency and a comfortable majority in both houses of Congress. But eight years of fiscal irresponsibility, growing deficits due to irresponsible tax cuts and unfunded wars, and deregulation that brought the entire banking, investment, and insurance industries to the verge of total collapse left us in too deep a hole to climb out of in two years.
This year, as you go into the voting booth, ask yourself, “Can we afford to return to the same policies that got us into this mess?” It may not show in employment numbers, but the economy is on the road to recovery and has been slowly growing for over a year. Give Obama two more years with majorities in Congress to keep us on the right track. Elect Democrats to the U.S. House and Senate. If in 2012 you are not better off than you are today, then seek an alternative.