“America’s Death Panel: Republicans”

Republicans in the House of Representatives are poised to shut down the country!

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is prepared to hold up Social Security payments to seniors, compensation payments for disabled veterans, and retirement payments to retired service members.

The short-term continuing resolution, passed by the House to extend appropriations into 2011 on December 17th, is due to expire on March 4th—less than two weeks away. Not a single Republican voted to extend the appropriations in December!

If the House does not pass the Budget for 2011, or extend the resolution to continue short-term appropriations, the government of the United States will default on its debt and obligations. It will shut down!

What will happen if Republicans choose to shut down the government?

Government agencies from food safety to airport security, affecting the safety and security of all Americans, to Veterans Hospitals and the FBI would seize to function. Social Security and veteran’s disability checks would be in jeopardy.

Of course, Representatives and Senators will posture to pass emergency resolutions to keep some important operations functioning, and fund the most critical voting blocks—resolving to provide checks for seniors and veterans. Republicans will give the appearance that they’re the ones that care.

The Speaker has said that unless Republicans get their proposed spending cuts there will be no passage of either the budget or another continuing resolution. A government shutdown last happened in 1995 when the Republicans were in control of Congress.

Democrats, are willing to negotiate spending cuts, but believe Congress should make smart cuts; cuts that target waste and excess and not jeopardize growth in the economy.

Republicans in the House introduced a bill on Friday proposing $61 billion in spending cuts, nearly all hit the most vulnerable of America’s citizens. Many of them vindictive attempts to get rid of programs Republicans hate. The bill passed by a margin of 235 to 189 in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday.

Proposed cuts include reductions in education, Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, energy subsidies for the elderly and infirm, rent assistance for low-income families, and assistance to community health centers. A million here, a few million there.

But the Republicans had no problem increasing funding for the Department of Defense by over $8.4 billion including $312 million more for nuclear weapons infrastructure. Hypocrisy!

There are easier and less painful ways to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

Extending the Bush Tax Cuts for the top two brackets was costly. Letting them expire would have added an estimated $48 billion to the 2011 tax receipts and up to $70 billion next year. The change in the Estate Tax has also reduced tax receipts by approximately $15 billion this year and $20 billion in the 2012 budget.

Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could save, conservatively, $75 billion in the 2011 budget and as much as $140 billion from next year’s budget. This would also have a long range affect of reducing the hidden costs of the war—the cost of dead and severely disabled war veterans—which is already going to cost our children and grandchildren billions of dollars over the next four decades.

Simple math. Hard-working Americans wouldn’t endure hardships by these changes which, over the next two years, would add $153 billion in tax receipts and reduce the deficit by as much as $215 billion. A net gain of $368 billion—more than three times what the Republicans accomplish with their cuts, which inflict a lot of pain and could impact the macroeconomics of this country in a negative way.

Republicans, if they are students of history, must think twice about closing down the government. The country is in far worse shape than it was in 1995 and the mood is tenuous at best. As a result of their hard stand 15 years ago—shutting down the government—President Clinton’s approval rating rose by nearly 15%. A shutdown in this economic climate could raise Obama’s by more than 20%.

Social Security recipients and veterans who are struggling after two years of stagnant benefits are in no mood or position to miss even one monthly check. Democrats believe they will take it out on the Republicans. The Tea Partiers seem willing to take that risk.

With the burgeoning deficit government spending must be reduced, but irresponsible and vindictive cuts are not the answer; cuts that risk greater unemployment, reduce much needed assistance, jeopardizes our safety or security, or plunges us back into recession are not acceptable.

There’s little chance that the House Bill will get past the Senate and even less chance that it will be signed by the President. But what is evident in the House version of the cuts is their willingness to do damage to the country in order to gain power.

Republicans, bought and sold by corporations, are reluctant to tackle the hard solutions—the wars, defense, the wealthy, the corporations, estate taxes—things that would truly lower the deficit, choosing instead to become America’s death panel; killing the poor and enriching the wealthy.

Their ideology goes against everything that is logical, compassionate, benevolent, and Christian.

Republican ideology is a threat to the promise of democracy and must be defeated!

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4 Responses to ““America’s Death Panel: Republicans””

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