More for Me, Less For You
"This upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country."
-Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Andrea Orcel is one of the guys who Republicans are fighting for. He's a millionaire banker who worked for Merrill Lynch for a few days before it was bought out by Bank of America. To reward his few days of work, Orcel was given a $25M golden parachute. He's used that to buy a $37M apartment on Park Avenue in New York City. He made $558M in 2008 alone. Republicans in the House and Senate want to extend Bush's tax cuts, which only really cut taxes for guys like him. And it costs the rest of us hundreds of billions in tax dollars per year to give a cushy tax break for the wealthiest two percent.
Know who the Republicans aren't fighting for? You.
House Republicans unanimously voted down the compromise jobs bill, which included $282B in tax cuts for middle-class and upper middle-class families. Working people with jobs, homes, kids, 401Ks and car payments. It was the largest middle-class tax cut in history, and the money folks like us could have saved from taxes would have gone to local businesses and restaurants, instead of offshore tax havens in Switzerland. Every single roll call vote on the measure was rejected by Republicans in the House. Senate Republicans will likely follow suit after the recess.
Essentially, the party that talks about wanting to cut taxes and the importance of tax cuts will only cut them for the richest 2%, not for you.
Know who the Republicans fight for? Rich tax evaders.
Who aren't they fighting for? 9/11 heroes.
Citing the budget deficit and the potential for a tax increase on the pharmaceutical industries who stash away their holdings in Switzerland, House Republicans also voted down a bill that would provide $7B for health care to 9/11 responders. Despite a wide majority vote, Dems failed to get the 2/3rds needed to pass the bill using the procedure they opted for. While Anthony Weiner (D-NY) gave the GOP a good tongue-lashing over their preference for saving rich tax evaders over heroic firemen and police officers, those folks will be on their own when it comes to injuries they sustained while putting their lives at risk to save others.
Who are the Republicans fighting for? Oil companies and the military-industrial complex.
Who are they not fighting for? Senior citizens, teachers, firefighters, policemen and public employees all over the country.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refuses to let Congress go home until they vote on $26B in state aid that was rejected in the compromise jobs bill that Republicans struck down. The bill would help save hundreds of thousands of jobs that would otherwise be cut due to strained state budgets. Most states are reeling from recession, and drastic budget cuts that put public employees like teachers and police out of work not only endanger our kids and our streets, but also strain local economies with nobody spending any of their money. This state aid bill will help regular working folks continue to do jobs they have been trained for, so they can clothe their children, put food on the table, and prop up local businesses.
House Republicans like minority leader John Boehner (R-OH), in the meantime, don't support that kind of spending, calling it a "special interest bailout." There are lots of teachers who would disagree with Rep. Boehner that they are "special interests" looking for "bailouts."
However, some special interests that Republicans are quite fond of include oil companies like BP. They've kept mum about the $35B in subsidies we collectively throw at Big Oil every year. And a study group representing 116 House Republicans criticized Obama for making BP pay for the disaster it helped create.
Republicans are NOT for helping seniors in retirement; in fact, Rep. Boehner has proposed raising the retirement age by 5 years and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a budget that would effectively gut Medicare and privatize social security, despite the latter having a $2T surplus and in no need of any reduction in benefits. Boehner has said that the rationing of health care for seniors and killing social security is necessary for fueling wars on two countries that didn't attack us and for giving tax cuts to millionaire bankers.
Oh, but Republicans just don't want to add to the deficit! Right?
More Republican Hypocrisy
"There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy."
-Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Mitch McConnell apparently feels he is entitled to his own facts, as well as his own misguided opinions. The CBO established five years ago that tax cuts have a much more adverse effect on the economy than any kind of domestic spending. The bi-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that tax cuts are even more costly than waging wars overseas. While Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us over a trillion dollars so far, the Joint Tax Committee estimated that tax cuts for the wealthy will have twice that much impact. To add to the absolute falsehood of Sen. McConnell's statement about the Bush tax cuts, the Brookings Institute has concluded that those tax cuts have deprived us of much-needed revenue and vastly increased the federal deficit.
Republicans like Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have refused to say how they'll keep paying for the Bush tax cuts, especially when confronted with the fact that they refuse to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits for victims of the recession. And they staunchly agree that they will block any attempt to let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011. Tax cuts and wars are exponentially more costly and add much more to the deficit than any domestic stimulus programs that actually help working folks here in the states. Yet all manufactured concern over the deficit dissipates if it means Republicans can pander to Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and multinational corporations.
Republicans have made it very clear- they are NOT fighting for you, unless you're a multimillionaire banker or corporation. They are NOT fighting for the working poor, the unemployed, the middle class, working families, 9/11 heroes, or senior citizens. Republicans are only interested in carrying on the failed policies of George W. Bush, which voters overwhelmingly rejected in 2006 and 2008.
So in November of 2010, if you'd like to throw the bums out who promise only to fight for the richest and give a middle finger to everyone else, then pull the lever in the vote box for Drive, not Reverse.
Friday Thoughts and Links
8 years ago