By James J. Devine
The oddest thing about the reactionary support for Republicans is that — as the tea baggers proved in dozens of primary elections around the country — to be deemed worthy of membership in the modern G.O.P. one must be a narrow-minded, Bible-thumping, war-mongering supporter of incompetence, greed, lawlessness, cronyism and mismanagement.
After less than 22 month away from the eight years of George Bush and Dick Cheney, Americans are not just going back to a bad marriage but entering a new union with an abusive sadist.
Tea party Republicans want to eliminate or abolish the minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Education Department and the US Postal Service. They want to overrule 14th Amendment’s grant of citizenship to virtually all persons born within the United States and take away the right to vote for U.S. Senators granted by the 17th Amendment.
In a frivolous lawsuit claiming that health reform is unconstitutional, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says that Congress is allowed to regulate “commerce” but not “manufacturing or agriculture.” Cuccinelli’s discredited vision of the Constitution would strike down everything from child labor laws to the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters.
It would be funny except that these extremists are not a bunch of crackpots. They are a band of far right wing, self righteous zealots who are well-funded by corporate money now made legal under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which reversed a century of federal protection for people and gave our rights to monolithic, undying, inhumane corporations.
Republicans are making such spectacular gains in the Nov. 2 election that they may be able to effectuate their plan to eliminate Medicare and Social Security.
Republican Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan wants to eliminate Medicare altogether and replace it with some vouchers seniors can use to buy health insurance with a new Republican sponsored plan (H.R. 4529) called a Roadmap for America’s Future.
The Republican Roadmap would privatize the programs so big insurance companies and Wall Street can make more money from America’s senior citizens.
Ryan’s Republican plan would privatize Social Security by placing funds in Wall Street stocks in the same way George W. Bush had proposed in the time leading up to the massive market crash that followed the mortgage crisis.
In the wake of a Wall Street meltdown that evaporated the retirement savings for millions of Americans, the Republicans are calling for an encore by fighting tooth-and-nail against regulating the securities industry and trying to divert trillions of dollars into the greed mill.
The reason Medicare was established in the first place, rather than just hiking Social Security benefits, is because the individual insurance market does not work and it is especially ineffective for senior citizens.
The Republican health plan would provide a refundable tax credit of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families so senior citizens could purchase coverage that now costs an average American family $14,000 a year.
Unlike the federal Medicare program, for-profit insurance companies would “cherry pick” among the healthiest seniors and deny coverage to everyone else. This Republican plan limits seniors’ choices and allows insurers to exclude seniors who need the most help.
Republicans have shrouded their agenda of opposition by wrapping it in the flag and the Constitution, but they clearly want to tear up the nation’s operating manual.
Many Tea Party Republicans are calling for a repeal of the 14th Amendment (citizenship & equal protection), the 16th Amendment (which enables the income tax), and the 17th Amendment (requires direct election of senators). They want to unravel basic constitutional freedoms and fundamental aspects of our government that have evolved over 234 years.
Republicans want to rewrite the Constitution they claim to hold sacred and create a homespun America that is picture perfect for everyone except those who end up living like slaves.
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