Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's Not About the Money!

"It's Not About the Money!" - It's time to make the point that the Republican agenda in Congress and many state legislatures, including the Texas legislature, has little or nothing to do with federal and state level budget deficits. Budget deficits that Republicans helped engineer by eliminating taxes for corporations and billionaires at both the federal and state levels. By eliminating taxes for corporations and billionaires Texas and many other states now face devastating cuts to their publicly funded K-12 and college education systems and other critical services like building and maintaining roads.

Much of the battle between Democrats and Republicans over government spending isn't about the deficit numbers, but about GOP efforts to grind various ideological axes, from defunding EPA and bank regulators and NPR, to crippling reproductive and contraceptive services, to repealing last year's health insurance reform legislation, to ending the rights of people to organize for job security, to privatizing every government service, including tax funded public education.

In effect, alarms about debts and deficits are being used as an excuse to eliminate taxes for business and the rich and to eliminate government services, like public education, that working families depend upon to build a better future for their children - regardless of budget deficits and surpluses.

Now on one level this isn't surprising, but these priorities need to be acknowledged and discussed openly and directly, and not in the disguise of making "painful but necessary cuts." The truth behind the Tea Party phase "We want to take our county back" is that most far-right Republicans would prefer to live in a country with:

  • little or no regulation of corporations (environmental or any other sort) or banks,
  • a fully regressive tax code where taxes on corporations and billionaires are eliminated while taxes on working families are greatly increased,
  • a privatized education system with no public schools supported by tax dollars,
  • workplaces that have no collective bargaining rights or even minimum wages,
  • a health care system in which private insurers are free to increase premiums and deny health care to anyone at will,
  • no social safety net provided through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and
  • all forms of reproductive contraception made unavailable and illegal.

Republicans also prefer to get rid of legal protections against discrimination generally, and government, both federal and state, limited to the kind of functions typical of the eighteenth century - the century when the U.S. Constitution was adopted.

It's the right of Republicans to favor this kind of society, but given the abundant evidence that a large majority of Texans and Americans in every state would be very unhappy with it, it's the responsibility of non-Republicans and of the news media to make this agenda as clear as possible, and not just mindlessly accept that conservatives are only worried about the debt burden on future generations.

No comments:

Post a Comment