Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Take Republicans To The Woodshed

Some guys at work were talking the other day when I came up and it became clear the one that was doing most of the talking was a Faux news fan. I smiled and called him a wingnut. He looked down at me (figuratively and literally; he's quite a bit bigger than me, but when it comes to pugilistic endeavors, well, I'll just say I'm into that sort of thing) and said I couldn't be a liberal because I had a job. Amazing. I told him the two were not mutually exclusive and I am a liberal but I appreciated the flowers anyhow (that's CB radio talk for thanks for the compliment).

My brother and me were raised by a single mother who worked everyday. My sister came along later and all of us grew up outside the penitentiary and off the pipe. And we all work everyday. It's unfortunate that my coworker has been blinded by the right. The belief that somebody took all the wacky liberals and threw a tent over the circus and called it the Democratic party. Do I have problems with the dem's? Sure I do. However my problems with the Republicans are long, deep and wide.

I see it primarily as a value issue. Or the conflict between the value placed on people instead of things. It should be obvious to the reasonable person, which of these two choices is the right one. Human rights should be a centerpiece issue in all of our foreign policy decisions. The women of Islam are treated atrociously and have no rights whatsoever. However, the policies of this leadership shows they have made a disturbing value choice in nearly all areas including Tax policy, Environment, Health Care, Jobs, wages and immigration. And it's not just this administration. The republicans have convinced me that they truly don't care. Not by what they say, (since I'm not a member I don't have a decoder ring) but what they do.

Tax Policy

We call this redistribution of wealth. And yes, we'll be using the same words, but with dramatically different meanings. One of the greatest things in this country is our infrastructure. Hot and cold running water, lights you don't have to use a match on, highways and bridges, even our system of economy. All these things took a large investment in time effort and money. And this infrastructure allowed some people to become quite wealthy, which is the American way. Republicans believe the people who became wealthy by taking full advantage of the opportunities this system has provided, should not be required to contribute their share of the upkeep of it. Bush just submitted a budget of 2.77 trillion dollars to congress replete with cuts to farms, medical research, health for our seniors, student education and more. But he wants the tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans to be made permanent. Corporations are required by tax code to pay 35%. With tax shelter schemes many have reduced their tax load down to 15%. The cost to America has been conservatively estimated at $75 billion per year. Some estimates run as high as $250 billion.

Meanwhile a disastrous war rages in Iraq where our soldiers are protected with second rate body armor. Where is the shared sacrifice in this budget in the face of staggering debt? Certainly not with those who have benefited the most. This tax policy does not value people. It is simply a version of the failed "Trickle On" policies of Ronald Reagan. We clearly have a record in modern times of sound policies that demonstrates the triumph of people v. things. Twelve years of Republican leadership (Reagan and GW) Eight years of Democrat (Clinton) and now five years of W. In case you were asleep it went: massive deficit spending, surplus and paying down the debt, and back to massive deficit spending.

Now certainly, the republicans can point to 9/11 and inherited the "Clinton Recession" and Iraqistan and the Australian tse tse fly. This is not leadership. Step up. I have little patients for lack of responsibility.

Environment

I think we're in serious trouble with this one. Fortunately this Administration has passed the Clean Air Act and the Healthy Forest Initiative. Oh, wait, I don't have my decoder ring so I don't really know what that means. (snark) Well, yes I do. The default interpretation is usually the opposite. Allow industry free reign to rape, pillage and plunder our environment. And many of these Corporations use fancy offshore tax dodge schemes. In the 50s the tax load was split about fifty fifty between corporations and individuals. Now corporations pay less than 14% of tax revenues collected. Are they good Americans?

Jobs

The old saying is if you think high wages are the answer, vote Democrat. If you think high wages are a problem, vote Republican. I understand a business owner feeling the government has no business in his business. Deregulate everything and rely on "Social Darwinism." To adopt this policy is to ignore our history of tenement housing for the working class with wealth and power consolidated into the hands of the few. A business owner can operate because these regulations are in place. It is a well founded policy in civil society to regulate businesses. To avoid these burdensome regulations many companies have moved operations overseas where they pay Chinese laborers (who have no protections) 30 cents an hour, incorporate in the Grand Cayman Islands to evade taxes, and reduce America to consumers. Those jobs that cannot be exported, such as the harvesting of our natural resources, like oil and gas, agricultural, road construction, etc. are being taken over by illegal immigrant at the tacit endorsement of this Administration. Abu Gonzales sent a letter out to judges reprimanding them for being to hard on illegals. Fascinating. Wholesale outsourcing of our jobs and flood the market with cheap labor.

Health Care

Seems we've been paying everyone else's bill. We have been informed that Americans are paying for R & D for the whole world because our government won't come up with a sane Health Care Policy. Pharmaceutical companies have the most active of all lobbies in DC. If they hear of a bill being considered they twist arms, grease palms wallpaper congressional districts with flyers--ie a full court press. And the American people pay out the nose for health care. This is untenable. When Clinton was in office and he handed this project off to Hillary she was roundly criticized. This administration fixed it so the government couldn't get price breaks and Americans couldn't order cheaper drugs from Canada.

We need to reevaluate where we place our values. This Administration places the highest value on profits from the wealthiest of citizens, rampant cronyism and maintaining power. The midterms are coming up and we will see if the influence of lobby dollars in campaign can purchase enough smoke to cloud the vision of the electorate. Or is it already entirely too late.

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